By Tony Daniel, Robert Venditti, Danny Miki, Tomeu Morey, and Tom Napolitano
Damage #1 is the first series to be released from DC Comics as part of the The New Age of DC Heroes. This new line is all tied into DC’s comic event Metal, the Batman crossover event. The new line features all new heroes, all new original characters. Well, let’s see. This effort from DC to attract new readers with this all new characters and stories feels a little off. The “all new” characters that they are introducing appear to have Marvel doppelgänger from first appearance. Hopefully DC proves that appearances are deceiving and these characters and stories deliver. Damage has too many similarities to Hulk to just label it a coincidence, but this could get people and readers buying and reading the comic. The book just has to keep the readers invested with providing a great story with great art.
Damage features Ethan Avery, a military man who gets changed into a monster to serve the military. For one hour Avery turns into the ultimate soldier, ultimate military weapon, but once that hour ends he has to wait another 24 hours to recharge to handle the transformation. The idea was to make Avery into this weapon to take all the damage during military operations, get it, so things go awry.
Damage #1 is co written by Tony S. Daniel and Robert Venditti, and this first issue keeps a high pace throughout the entire issue. This is part 1 of the arc titled ‘Out of Control’ and this first issue gives the impression that we are going to be following Avery trying to outrun the government while they try to bring him in. The first few pages deliver a great encounter between Damage is full-blown Damage and Major Liggett. From this, the writers find a clever way to show how in control Avery is, you see the hesitation to kill and destroy, and you see his cognizance. He knows he has the 24-hour clock ticking, and he is mindful to utilize every hour to his advantage.
The art we get throughout Damage is pretty great. It does feel like classic comic book fun. We get big, veiny, muscles on Damage much like the 90’s comic aesthetic, with some great action panels that are so full of details and action. However, the character design on Damage feels off. Yes, his oversized muscles and big limb proportions are fun, but his face reminds you of a certain Nazi bad guy from Marvel who also lacks a nose. This just reinforces that this character maybe was not well thought out. To make him more sympathetic, there needs to be some soft or endearing quality that usually is represented in his physical appearance. People without noses are off putting, like there are two people who come to mind, Lord Voldemort and Red Skull. That is not a group Damage should want o be a part of. It makes you wonder if DC even did a focus group on this new group of “original” characters from “The New Age of DC Heroes” line. Damages features inks from Danny Miki, colors from Tomeu Morey, and letters from Tom Napolitano.
The book has a fun throwback feel with the art, but there is not a lot of original ideas or thoughts going on throughout this book. The book is a fun read overall, the main problem with the book isn’t really the writing or art, but the purpose this book serves. There is a lot of promise when a new line with new original content is being delivered, especially from one of the big 2 of the comic publishing industry. It is almost a shame that DC had to do this; there really should not be a need to oversaturate their universe with more characters, when you should be using the ones you really have. You can write a crap book, and just because it features a super popular character does not mean it will sell. It is the story and art that drive the connection between that character and story, and yeah that has not been DC’s strong suit.