Damage has been one of the only DC’s “New Age of Heroes” I’ve stuck with. No disrespect to the other characters, but the mystery hiding within Damage has kept my interest. The story has introduced an interesting secret government organization with a leader not dissimilar from Amanda Waller. The concept of a hero only being powered up for one hour adds an interesting wrinkle to crime fighting too.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“UNNATURAL DISASTER” part two! Ethan Avery’s journey to uncover the secrets of his power will have to wait–he’s got a brawl to survive first! If his alter ego, “Damage,” ever wants to make it out of Poison Ivy’s clutches alive, he’s going to have to fight an army of super-angry monkeys to do it. And Gorilla Grodd. That can’t be that hard, right? Remember, Damage–monkey see, monkey smash!
Why does this matter?
Diogenes Neves and Robert Venditti have quickly shifted Damage from fighting one incredibly powerful villain (and sometimes hero) to another. Poison Ivy showed off how powerful she is in the last issue, and this issue aims to reveal why she’s being the bad guy once again.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue reveals Damage’s biggest weakness: his powers running out when fighting in battle. This allows the creators to shift to a flashback and give us a bit of an explanation behind the powers. This flashback is key in creating interest and mystery around the origins of Damage’s powers. It’ll make you want more. Later we got to see Colonel Jonas’ super team of misfits which continues to be a fun covert ops team with well balanced powers.
Much of this issue is focused on Ethan coming to grips with the necessity to control Damage, or at the very least collaborate with him. Typically the monster controls everything, but that hasn’t worked out so great. The other half of the issue is Poison Ivy and her seemingly out of character actions of late. The creative team gives us enough to gather a guess and the cliffhanger certainly puts a pin in her real role in this arc.
The art keeps things moving along and makes Damage look larger than life. There’s good use of double page layouts to allow for in your face muscle glad heroics.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There’s a point in the issue where Ethan divulges himself to the man who saved him and who happened to hire Ethan for a job. It’s rather forced how he spills the beans to this guy who he just met. This scene also runs three pages and is heavy handed in telling rather than showing. I suppose this was meant to build up the moment Ethan changes, but his eyes filled with tears is mostly melodrama than a believable moment.
I’m holding out judgment on the big reveal in the last two pages, but it’s also ridiculously over the top and reduces the purpose of Poison Ivy in the story.
Is it good?
I like this series and the mystery of Damage’s powers, but this issue is clunky and leaves you wanting more.