I’ve reviewed every issue of Damage and have enjoyed the potential of this new hero. He may be somewhat similar to Marvel’s Hulk, but he’s got an intriguing enough backstory and a cast of super powered villains chasing him that mix things up. In this latest arc he faces off against Poison Ivy and Gorilla Grodd. Who ya got?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Poison Ivy has been transforming the countryside and turning humans into plant food, but not to create a perfect ecological system for her beloved greenery. Rather, it’s a brand-new home for Gorilla Grodd and his army of apes! Damage faces his toughest opponent yet. Will his fists be any match for the meaty paws of the gorilla king? And what exactly is Swamp Thing’s role in all of this?
Why does this matter?
The cover promises Swamp Thing entering the fray, which is good because Damage is so powerful he needs catastrophe-leveled characters to fight. This also wraps up the Poison Ivy arc so if you’ve been following along, buckle up.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I’m enjoying the internal monologue of the human inside Damage as he shouts at the monster to do the right thing. Or at the very least shouts at the monster to do something. There’s a struggle going on as far as this character steering himself into becoming a hero. We may not understand the wants of the monster, but it’s clear the battle is waging on and a resolution will eventually occur.
Swamp Thing enters this story late in the game and serves as a reminder of his status as the lord of the Green, but also helps explain why Poison Ivy was bad in this story. She’s changed her ways in the past and it appears she was just confused and thrown off here. Thanks, Swampy!
The art by Diogenes Neves keeps the action moving and has an old-school Kubert feel that suits the type of fighting going on.
It can’t be perfect can it?
What a mess this story has become. At the point in the story where Poison Ivy basically goes, “Oh duh, I’m a good guy what am I doing,” you’ll throw up your hands in disgust. It’s deus ex machina of the worst kind and basically negates Poison Ivy’s purpose in the story and makes her and Gorilla Grodd look like dolts. Everything that happens prior to this is basically filler action with a dash of good internal struggle from the human within the monster, but even this is more of the same. I imagine deadlines and last minute changes are a big reason why this issue–and the arc as a whole–doesn’t work. That said, this issue basically negates the entire purpose of this arc with little to no growth for the main character and a rather pointless interaction with two DC villains.
Swamp Thing enters the story late, making the cover quite misleading and his purpose in this issue more or less an exposition machine to wrap things up. The character seems to be here simply to calm Poison Ivy fans who may have been mad at her being used as a villain. Then you have the last two pages which hamfistedly set up the next issue in a clunky way.
Is it good?
This issue is a good example of a new character getting tossed into a half-baked story that doesn’t matter. There is no character growth or importance to a single thing that happens. The hero fights, they are saved, and they’re on to the next adventure. Give the promise of character work in previous issues this was a major disappointment.