Ethan Avery has beaten rival Major Liggett to be transformed into super-soldier Damage, a military monster ready to follow orders. But something’s gone wrong.
He’s on a murderous rampage and Liggett, wearing advanced armour, may be the only person on the scene who can take him down.
Ooh, tantrum! While he’s assumed to be utterly mindless, Damage does seem to have an angel on his shoulder.
And a devil.
The brute evades his handlers. Ethan can become Damage for one hour out of 24. Can Colonel Marie Jonas, the woman in charge of the super-soldier project, catch up to him before he transforms again?
It’s the New Age of Heroes and Damage is the first to arrive. And if he’s representative of what’s to come, this sub-line isn’t for me. The credits give top billing to artist Tony S Daniel, ahead of writer Robert Venditti, under the banner of ‘storytellers’ - presumably they’re co-plotting, with Daniel getting first pass. And it shows. More than half the book is a massive fight, comprising huge panels, the rest is Col Jonas and co - we don’t actually meet Ethan in any meaningful way. I can’t get invested in a rampaging Hulk-alike if I don’t know the person inside, and there’s nothing new here to drag me back for the second issue.
Sure, the art by Daniel, inker Danny Miki and colourist Tomeu Morey is eye catching. With the amount of massive splash panels we get, how could it not be? But it’s not serving very much at all. Of the characters we do meet, Liggett seems to be your typical comic book gung-ho military type, while Jonas, well, look at her - eye patch over scar = hardass. Maybe Venditti will transcend the visual cliche and make something of her, but at the moment she seems to be just an Amanda Waller wannabe.
Oh, and there’s a pilot reported dead, Captain John Nichol - same name as the British airman who was a high-profile hostage in Iraq during the Gulf War. It’s an unfortunate coincidence.
The triple-size digital foldout cover by the interior art team is something new, and a nice bonus given this book costs just $2.99. Better, though, would be a story that’s more than a big fight scene with the minimum of context.
Damage #1 review, DC Comics, Tony S Daniel, Robert Venditti, Tomeu Morey, Danny Miki