Damage #14 – Robert Venditti, Writer; Aaron Lopresti, Penciller; Matt Ryan, Inker; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
How good can a comic be when it barely has a plot? That seems to be the question Damage wants to answer, because we’re two issues away from the end and it still barely feels like we know Ethan Avery and his monster alter ego at all. Each issue has largely been Ethan/Damage ping-ponging from one threat to another, running away from it as Ethan and running towards it as the monster. But Damage #14 is marginally better than the average because the threat is at least entertaining. When we last left off, Damage had been dropped by Batman on Monster Island, a little-used DC location from the Silver Age filled with giant monsters and the occasional mad scientist. Naturally, he wastes zero time angering a giant purple dragon and winds up in a massive brawl with it. The first half of the issue is largely an elaborate, gorgeously-drawn brawl between these two monsters.
Then a giant golden ape shows up to battle the dragon, and Damage is able to get away. He wakes up again as Ethan by a fireside and is greeted by the only other human on the island – Congo Bill. The eccentric explorer has been a part of DC mythos for a while, even joining the Justice League for a while, but he’s most at home in oddball stories like this.
The fact that he can shift into King Kong is new, though – usually, his ape version is normal-sized. The issue has a lot of great visuals and the concept here is fun, but it once again sticks out that Ethan is far and away the least interesting part of the issue. I would read more about Congo Bill’s adventures fighting monsters on the island, but bootleg Hulk really adds nothing to the story. And with only two issues left before he fades into limbo, it seems unlikely we’re going to get any big reveals that make this character worth the solo run before the end.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.