By Dustin Cabeal
There is one unfortunate comparison that every comic reviewer is going to make when reviewing Damage. It would almost be criminal not to mention it, and that’s why I doubt you’ll read a single review that doesn’t mention the fact that Damage is a lot like Marvel’s Red Hulk from USAvengers. He has a time limit for his powers, he transformers and there’s a cooldown period. Now granted, that is just his power set, and the actual story is very different… mostly because it’s not complete and total ass (side note: should have put USAvengers on my worst of list).
Just because the story is different, that doesn’t make it good by default. It’s an easy opening; I’ll give it that. Anyone could pick this up and understand what’s going on and hopefully be interested in the mystery of how the story got to this point. What hurts it is the amount of time spent showing splash pages of Damage throwing down. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great and some of Tony Daniel’s best work at DC, but it sacrifices the story and character development. It’s good and bad… bood? Whatever.
There is one difference between Damage and the Red Hulk that I haven’t addressed, and that’s because it leads to a regular Hulk comparison. Damage is his own entity, but he’s attached to a man named Ethan. They can basically yell at each other when the other is in control of the body, but Damage isn’t completely mindless. It feels like DC wanted a Hulk character, but with limitations and you know what… it fucking works. I don’t hate it. If anything, superhero comics should barrow powersets from each other more often because it enriches the idea. I loved the idea of Red Hulk having a time limit and a cooldown period; I hated what Marvel did with it. It was clownish and cheeky. I’m curious to see what happens with Damage and moreover, I’m interested to see the future of DC Comics with Damage.
The writing is solid. Daniels and Robert Venditti writing a perfectly balanced first issue. It’s not spectacular. It didn’t rock my world and changed what I thought a first issue could be, but it was well-balanced for the most part. Again, the splash pages sacrifice further character and story development, but you can’t always have your comic and sell it too. At the end of the day, this is a comic that anyone can pick up, be it a long time comic reader or someone that’s interested and has the income.
There isn’t much else to say about Daniel’s artwork. I’m serious about it being the best he’s done at DC, mostly because he doesn’t rely on shadows as much like his Batman stuff. Danny Miki brings it all home with stable inks that add a considerable level of detail to Damage and the setting. I haven’t seen Tomeu Morey’s coloring anywhere else, but I would say that it’s a great addition to DC comics. There was a lot of mediocre to terrible coloring last year in comics and so good coloring, as is the case with Morey’s work, should be appreciated and praised.
Damage isn’t going to change your comic book world. The character is going to feel familiar for all the reasons I’ve already listed, but the character has a lot of potentials. Both creators are talented writers and so working together they may just create something that can make a mark on the DC Universe.