As much as I love my cops shows, devouring a steady diet of CSI (insert place name here) and NCIS (you can practically do the same here), and yearning for the halcyon days of Hill Street Blues, The Bill and even if I may exhibit my nationality, Juliet Bravo; I’ve never really taken to cop comics.
Despite hearing good things, I sidestepped Gotham Central and the various other Gotham PD series. Stories with indepth plots and twists that involve organised crime and/or the various intelligence services of the world have always satisfied me…
….as long that there is the appropriate ration of spandex involved. John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad or even the late Eighties crossover the Janus Directive spring to mind. The recent Secret Warriors from Marvel is another example.
Damaged from Radical Publishing, or which the fourth issue ships today, has none of this. No people flying through the air (unless they’ve been propelled by a bullet or an explosion that would make Hollywood proud), and definitely no skintight primary colours. Surprisingly, such a lack does not bother me in the slightest.
From the first issue, Damaged has been driven by personalities that are strong, yet do not appear stereotypical or two-dimensional characters in the slightest. If I had to boil it down to a stereotype, think of a real-world Punisher and all of the situations that would entail. Now, I don’t really like the Punisher (except maybe all that angel stuff, oh, and of course when Mr Ostrander wrote it), but I adore the dramas being presented to us in Damaged. One lifetime cop, head of a special team dealing with organised crime is elbowed out to make room for a younger model, desperate to proove himself and fill the older man’s shoes, but chosen simply because he appears a little more voter-friendly as a Mayoral election looms.
Obviously that’s over-simplifying a story that is rife with corruption and the Russian Mafya, smothered in a sauce of City Hall politics, and a few dozen words from me do not do justice to the work of the writer David Lapham, of ‘Stray Bullets’ fame. However, you can consider this to be one of my recommendations of the week.
My other recommendation is the upcoming Defenders #1, a book that promises to be steeped in the weird of the Marvel Universe. Weird as opposed to thunder gods, wall-crawlers, space gods and sorcerer supremes? This I have to see.