Comic Publishers

January 23, 2018

DC Comics Reviews: Damage #1

Damage #1
Publisher: DC
Story: Robert Venditti and Tony S. Daniel
Pencils: Tony S. Daniel
Inks: Danny Miki
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Tom Napolitano

Damage #1 is the first of DC’s “New Age of Heroes” line of comics, which includes eight new titles that all are spawned from the current “Dark Nights: Metal” event. As an origin issue, it’s pretty standard fare, and the character of Damage himself is, so far, nothing to get too excited about.

There is a somewhat cinematic quality to this issue, and that begins with the art. There is ample use of splash pages, especially in the first half of the book, which adds to the cinematic feel, and also helps to showcase Daniels pencil work. Damage isn’t an overly complicated look, and most of the characters aren’t overly emotive, but there is a good sense of action in many of the scenes, and Damage comes across as a very strong and powerful character. The main attraction to the art is the coloring job by Tomeu Morey, which focuses on a subdued palette of reds, dark blues and blacks, and tans and browns, with the occasional pop of green to highlight military characters. It’s a great choice to limit the colors and focus on these very dramatic colors against the tan backdrop to help highlight Damage and make him appear much more menacing.

The main problem with the book is that, so far, Damage as a character just isn’t very interesting. There is little so far to distinguish him from yet another Doomsday rip-off by way of Hulk. While the book indicates right on the cover “Dark Nights Metal,” there are no direct references to that storyline or indications about how exactly Damage fits into it. Damage’s alter-ego, a former soldier named Ethan (his last name hasn’t even been revealed yet), is not developed at all and only seen in one page of the issue, although he appears to be speaking to himself while he is “Damaged-out” to try to convince the Damage persona not to harm innocent lives. That is probably the most interesting aspect of the story to explore in the future, and what separates him from being just a would-be Hulk; Ethan seems to retain consciousness when he transforms into Damage and tries to exert some influence over whatever programming turns him into Damage. The other element that makes the character somewhat unique is a limited time span; Damage only retains his form for an hour per day before needing to regenerate, which calls to mind the DC Golden Age hero, Hourman, who coincidentally has not been seen in Rebirth.

The main antagonist, from what little has been revealed so far, seems to be Colonel Jonas, a character very briefly introduced in Batman: The Merciless Metal tie-in. Like Damage, she, too, is very under-developed, and seems almost to just be the General Ross character from Hulk, although with Nick Fury’s eyepatch.  She’s being set-up to be a military commander with no ethics who oversees a program to turn human soldiers into powerful weapons, and that’s a story that’s been told dozens of times in comics. There’s nothing here that seems to be taking that concept and making fresh and different, and there’s nothing so far to make her the least bit compelling as an antagonist.

The issue closes with a teaser for the second issue by showing a team of characters coming to haul Damage in and clean up whatever mess created him in the first place. The “big reveal” was telegraphed so much that it was no surprise when the team showed up on the last page.

Damage was the New Age of Heroes book I was least looking forward to out of the set of eight, so my hope is that the other issues are more engaging with more developed characters.


Martin Thomas



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