Damage #10 – Robert Venditti, Writer; Aaron Lopresti, Penciller; Matt Ryan, Inker; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 5/10
Ray: Damage is a perfect example of a title that on the surface does everything right, and underneath the surface has nothing going for it. Robert Venditti is a good-to-great writer, with his work on other titles never being less than readable and often fascinating (as in Hawkman). Aaron Lopresti is one of the most underrated artists in the industry.
But they’re stuck together on a title that essentially boils down to “What if the Hulk was completely uninteresting?”. The title only really picks up when there are interesting guest stars, but this issue is almost all Damage, all the time. As the issue opens, Ethan Avery makes his way through the wilderness to the secret government base where Damage was born. The soldiers on duty try to arrest him, but he transforms into Damage and chaos ensues. A flashback shows him getting the information on the base’s location, accidentally destroying a computer at an internet cafe and being chased out by the manager. Dramatic.
As Damage tears through the base’s security and punches his way from wall to wall, the replacement for Colonel Jonas, Dr. Vess, is only interest in something called “the Asset”. This oily bureaucrat is determined to get it safely out of the base before Damage finds it, even if it destroys the rest of the operation. Damage eventually finds his way to a mysterious basement filled with other monsters just like him, but malformed. He destroys them to put them out of their misery and then gets back to smashing the base – until an odd Justice League of Flash, Guy Gardner, Vixen, and Green Arrow shows up. Not exactly the roster I’d send to take on the Hulk, but okay?
So next issue is a smash-up between Damage and the Justice League, but based on what we’ve seen of Damage’s powers, the fight should take two seconds. The bigger problem is that it’s ten issues in and we’ve been given zero reason to care about Damage or Ethan Avery. A title can’t survive without a strong lead, and this title doesn’t have one.
Corrina: This is the most insight we’ve ever gotten on Ethan and his struggle to control himself as Damage. It’s also the first time he has a goal, which is to destroy the “Damage” program. All well and good but it’s issue #10 and, so far, the plot has not risen above your average arc for the Hulk.
Whatever DC intended for this series, they’ve spent too long meandering to get there. And we still don’t have any true reason into why Ethan volunteered for the Damage program in the first place.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.