Vindication No. 2 review: There’s a Chip on everyone’s shoulder


Image Comics’ Vindication No. 2 introduces the complex connections that tie Turn Washington to Detective Chip Christopher.

Vindication No. 2

Writer: MD Marie

Pencils: Carlos Miko

Inks: Dema Jr.

Vindication No. 2 cover (Credit: Image Comics)

Turn Washington was released from prison after being wrongfully convicted of a crime in the first issue of Vindication. But Turn’s troubles have only just begun. The detective who put him in jail, Chip, is hell-bent on proving Turn’s guilt, and in Vindication No. 2 we find out why.

Other complications have also arisen since Turn’s release – a juror from his trial was murdered and Turn is Chip’s prime suspect. The truth is revealed in this installment; Turn knew the juror and she stole something that belonged to him. Now, he needs it back, but at every turn Chip is unexpectedly on his tail. It’s a race to find the stolen item which will either clear someone’s name, or destroy their life.

Following a patchy first issue, Vindication No. 2 is a solid entry in the series. It builds up multiple layers of tension between the characters while adding to the world of the story. This installment definitely benefits from the numerous characters and their perspectives.

We get to know more about Chip, and how he was perceived by the people around him. Chip’s transgressions have led to him being investigated by Internal Affairs for several years now, but the one person who has often tried to fight his corner is Tasha, now working for IA and desperately trying to get Chip in line so that her partner Connors doesn’t throw the book at him. Will her efforts continue to be in vain?

Tasha has a history with Chip, and this could be coloring her view of him, which could be a problem for her friendship with Lisa. Readers were briefly introduced to Lisa in the first issue of the series. Lisa and Turn were dating when Turn was sentenced. Now, Lisa has become a Private Investigator who Turn asks for help to get his stolen item back. Lisa and Tasha are both strong-willed women who have been fighting to protect their community, but their relationship heads into murky waters when Chip comes up in their conversations. All of these little interactions really fill out the world of Vindication and make each of the characters rounded and engaging to the reader.

The writing is far better in this issue as well, with only the occasional panel devolving into expositional language. We don’t have to suffer through any more spoken-out-loud thought bubbles this time around either. All of this combines to make Vindication No. 2 an arresting read for the most part.

Chip in Vindication No. 2 (Credit: Image Comics)

That being said, it’s obvious that writer MD Marie is desperate to get in as much detail as possible in this limited series, which means the story races head-long without giving the reader a moment to breathe. Panels are chock-a-block with dialogue, all of which adds to the flavor of the world, as well as the connections between the many characters, but it can be a disorientating read. Sometimes, taking it slow is the best way to tell a story.

The art is consistently bleak, but many of the characters are hard to distinguish from the other. Chip and his old partner Ray look exactly alike, and it took several panels to figure out which was which. Also, Chip’s new partner, Maggie Cruz, appeared to be Latina in the previous issue, but here she is drawn as almost pale. Thiago Goncalves’ colors were on point in the first issue, so it isn’t apparent why there was a change in Vindication No. 2.

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Despite one’s reservations following the first issue, this installment does justice to the central theme of tense race relations in America, while creating three-dimensional characters who all operate in gray areas. One hopes that MD Marie and co-creator Matt Hawkins intend to continue developing these characters as realistically as possible for the remaining installments in the series.