Damage Annual #1 – Robert Venditti, Writer; Aaron Lopresti, Penciller; Matt Ryan, Inker; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Ray: Since the New Age of DC Heroes line began, Damage has been one of the most frustrating titles. While it’s consistently a quality book in terms of art and Venditti’s a talented writer, the character’s written so vaguely that it’s been impossible to connect to anyone. This issue finally takes us back to the dawn of Ethan Avery’s time as Damage and gives us some legit backstory. Unfortunately, I don’t think the answers are all that compelling. The issue opens in Bialya, where Damage proceeds to wipe out a lab full of scientists and soldiers. It turns out that Bialya is working on their own Damage project with the help of an American defector. As Damage smashes his way through the lab, he eventually gets to the holding cells – and out come an army of shambling mutated atrocities. These are the failed soldiers that were created by Bialya in an attempt to duplicate Colonel Jonas’ success. And while they’re defective, they’re no less deadly than the genuine article.
Aaron Lopresti handles the art this issue with Matt Ryan, and there’s no surprise that his monsters are highly creepy and well-drawn. The issue also shows us some backstory to Ethan’s decision to join the Damage project finally, and I feel like we understand him a bit more – he’s essentially a humble young man determined to help, which explains that he’s a consistent voice of conscience in Damage’s head. The issue is, I’m still not sure we have much of a reason to care. This issue is like almost every other Damage issue – Damage deals out a massive amount of violence, Ethan tries to restrain him with mixed success, and the cycle continues. Colonel Jonas, if anything, remains the most interesting character in this series but doesn’t get enough attention. This is another issue that’s quality overall, but lacking much for us to connect with. It’s still an off-brand Hulk type character in the DCU, and it doesn’t match up with Venditti’s other DC work yet.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.