Absolution is a superhero comic book for mature audiences by Christos Gage (Avengers Academy) and Roberto Viacava, and published by Avatar Press. The first six-issue volume was launched in the summer of 2009, with a follow-up five-issue series, Rubicon, that began in 2013. Gage has written that the book is a superheroic take on anecdotes he's heard from friends who are or were police officers. (Specifically, the idea came from the fact that there are still parts of the United States where someone who's accused of murder may be able to claim his victim "needed killin'" as a legally viable defense.)
John Dusk is one of several superhuman "enhanciles" who work for the police department as a sort of high-end SWAT team. Unlike his co-workers, however, John has no outlet away from the job and he begins to suffer from PTSD and insomnia. Soon he begins using his powers to commit nearly untraceable murders, targeting criminals who he knows he could never legally catch, or who will evade prosecution. This forces him to lie both to his superiors on the police force and to his girlfriend, Karen, a homicide detective who's trying to solve the murders he's committing.
Rubicon, set shortly after Dusk's dismissal from the force, follows the fallout from his campaign and Dusk's descent into the life of a vigilante.
- Adaptive Ability: Polymath has the ability to physically adapt to whatever harm he comes in contact with. This has the side effect of granting him numerous abilities thanks to the fights he's been in over the years with the sanctioned enhanciles in addition to various treatments of toxins, electricity, and fire that he put himself through. He no longer needed to breathe after being suffocated into a comatose state in his last battle with John.
- Anti-Hero: John Dusk begins the series as a decorated police officer in the "enhancile unit," but the things he's seen push him over the edge into vigilantism and his own brand of serial murder. By the end of the first series, it's made clear that everyone who is not actually paid to enforce local law is on his side; by the end of the second, he's basically a crime lord.
- By-the-Book Cop: The Servant and the SES metahumans are the only ones not seen to commit any crimes.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The Servant gains increased strength and power by drawing on the convictions of his faith. It even allows him to heal from having all his skin burned off by the Polymath.
- Camp Straight: Alpha's husband. She describes him as "the pussy-eatingest gay man I ever met."
- Expy: John's powers make him sort of a low-end Green Lantern.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Averted, as it's an Avatar comic. There are very, very few of these.
- Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted. John Dusk works as a projectile and support fighter when he partners with Alpha, a brawler with superhuman strength.
- Police are Useless: What first drives John to continue on his murder spree: there are many criminals who the police cannot touch due to procedure, so he kills them.
- Psychopathic Manchild: The first criminal we see John Dusk arrest is caught making a doll from the body parts of multiple little girls.
- Reality Ensues: The Urban Legend's been fighting crime as a vigilante for twenty years. As Rubicon starts, he's penniless and half-dead from accumulated injuries, but he keeps going out and tracking down criminals. It's implied John will meet the same fate.
- Required Secondary Powers: Averted with Flashburn. He can produce fire but is not immune to it, resulting in third degree burns on his body.
- Sailor Fuku: Happy Kitty, a psychotic teenage Japanese enhancile, wears this as part of her costume along with a Hello Kitty-esque helmet.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Alpha is this towards her husband, Lyle. She's a superhuman powerhouse with a penchant for violence and a barely-veiled Pay Evil unto Evil mentality towards reprobates and criminals who fell in love with an effeminate man, who in her own words, didn't have a mean bone in his body and liked cats, Rachel Ray, and antique clocks.
- The Sociopath: The Polymath lives off of this trope. Happy Kitty would be a more sociopathic heroic version due to her enjoyment of killing and lack of remorse for whoever she kills.
- Stock Superpowers: Most characters have standard powers, such as Alpha's super-strength. But John Dusk has an unusual 'halo' power similar to Green Lantern's, and Cluster has a bizarre power which allows him to telekinetically take apart his body and fire it as projectiles.
- Too Dumb to Live: The mayor of New York City wants John Dusk taken down. How does he proceed to do that? By agreeing to restore the Polymath's powers in exchange for the latter killing Dusk, after which Polymath would be deported abroad and become some other country's problem. Only Polymath is a mass-murdering maniac who is the most dangerous enhancile villain in the US, if not the whole world, and powerful enough to wipe out whole cities from the map. A very good example of the cure being deadlier than the disease.
- Vigilante Execution: Almost every character that isn't a supervillain or a enhancile officer engages in this trope.