Damage #2 – Robert Venditti, Writer; Tony Daniel, Penciller; Danny Miki, Inker; Tomeu Morey, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: We Learn More of the Man Behind the Monster
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Damage #2 tries to flesh out its concept a bit more, so it’s time to see if it can differentiate itself from Hulk a bit more. Well, there are differences – Damage’s transformation only lasts for an hour and is triggered by the military as they drop him into hot zones. So that’s…more like the current Red Hulk in Marvel right now? And the alter ego, whether Damage or Ethan is in control, is always riding back up and talking to the one in control. So that has shades of Firestorm or Etrigan, depending. Clearly, this isn’t the most original comic, but I think the second issue improved on the first a bit, and that’s because we finally get to know Ethan Avery. After an initial rampage by Damage, he wakes up in a veteran’s shelter, scared out of his mind and trying to make sense of what he’s become.
Ironically, the segments where Damage is nowhere to be seen are the issue’s most compelling by a long shot. Venditti is a compelling writer when he’s able to get away from pure action, and Ethan’s fear is palpable in these scenes. The issue also has quite a bit to say about the way we treat veterans. Ethan is essentially viewed as a homeless derelict by everyone who sees him, and while the shelter is there to help, it’s still not a very welcoming place. So he strikes out on his own and promptly encounters the Suicide Squad in a segment that we saw a bit of in last week’s issue of that title. The story’s essentially the same either way – it’s a curb stomp, as Damage is so strong that he kills Parasite and blows a hole in Giganta’s hand. I do enjoy the snarky rivalry between Amanda Waller and Colonel Jonas, but two issues in, the title character is still the least interesting part. The art is great, but with Daniel leaving after one arc, this title’s future is iffy.
Corrina: Daniel’s art was the selling point for the Damage series and he delivers on that, not in just the action, but the smaller moments in the shelter, especially making Ethan come alive. Still, as Ray said, we’re not in original territory here.
That can be okay because a compelling lead character and a solid story can overcome a lack of originality.
Unfortunately, the story is isn’t there yet. So far, it’s the generic “human government experiment on the run” tale. If Ethan had a goal, perhaps something that might provide a cure, or if he was determined to use his Damage alter-ego to right some wrong in his life, that might draw me more toward the story. But, so far, Ethan/Damage is simply reacting in trying to run away. I’d have much preferred to see his relationship with Colonel Jonas play out initially than merely getting bits and pieces as we do in this second issue. (But, then, my tolerance for stories told through flashbacks has dropped significantly lately.)
There are interesting pieces in this series that don’t quite make a whole as yet.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.