Damage: Out of Control by Robert Venditti

details
Title: Damage.
Story-Arc: Out of Control.
Volume: 1.
Writer(s): Robert Venditti.
Illustrator(s): Tony S. Daniel, Diogenes Neves, Cary Nord, Danny Miki, Trevor Scott & Larry Hama.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: September 25th 2018.
Pages: 144.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401283339.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.

thoughts

If there’s one thing that Dark Nights: Metal has left us with, it’s the arrival of new forces and threats into the DC Universe. With the damage done to the Source Wall, it was only a matter of time before unimaginable things started to occur. In that regards, DC Comics launched eight new comic book series which introduces fans to brand new heroes to explore and love. This incredibly monumental move could be devastating if the results aren’t promising as it’ll take a lot of good story-telling to convince anyone to invest their time into something so close to the unknown. Then again, if this bold move leads to great things in the near future, this might turn out to be a historical moment in the history of DC Comics, similar to the birth of iconic heroes we love and cherish to this day. What’s left to see is if the new creative teams that are put on each of these series manages to conjure anything of great quality or end up only creating great disappointment.

Damage: Out of Control is the story of Ethan “Elvis” Avery, a soldier who volunteered for the Damage Project to become a hero and serve his country. What he didn’t know was what he would become and how much destruction he could cause. Ethan Avery’s new powers allow him to become an indestructible force of nature for exactly one hour with a period of recuperation of 23 hours. During that hour of absolute chaos, Ethan is able to speak to his alter ego known as Damage who unfortunately sees itself as a monster meant to wreak havoc. Focused heavily on hulking out—see what I did there?—Damage almost takes out the whole city of Atlanta and unfortunately draws unwanted attention as he runs loose from his superiors and seeks isolation. On a quest to figuring out what happened in his past and who he wants to become, will Ethan ever find the answers he wants or will he forever be prey and predator to the whole world?

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As much as I hoped this first story arc would establish an original, breath-taking and clever tone to this new character, you’ll find yourself in front of something much more simpler that favors action sequences to just about anything else. I did feel like the artwork also took over the narrative in this one, especially with Tony S. Daniel’s work in the first couple of issues. Establishing the raw power that Damage is capable of delivering clearly seemed to be the intention here, and at least that was done quite well. While there’s nothing wrong in giving fans a taste of Damage’s might rather than putting emphasis on the character development or world-building, it still left little reasons to want to follow Ethan Avery and his quest to establish a certain synergy with Damage, as well as his quest to finding answers to one of his past missions known as Operation Blue Mongoose, for which he’s unable to remember much about.

This story arc also felt like it was trying to shoehorn Damage within the DC Universe by having Damage run into a bunch of established characters. With the likes of Task Force XL, Wonder Woman or even Poison Ivy, Damage finds himself having to prove fans that he’s not to be taken lightly. While fun at times, it also made for some truly awkward dialogues too. In fact, it’s safe to say that there’s some truly cheesy lines (referring to the puns in particular) thrown in there that didn’t help me take this character too seriously. Don’t get me wrong. Damage still turns out to be a fun addition to the DC Universe, especially since it is DC’s real attempt to have a giant ugly monster playing hero, or at least trying to play hero.

Damage: Out of Control sets the table for its first new hero, but still has to find its groove regarding Ethan Avery’s character and story. Even if there’s lots of punching going around, there’s still an underlying plot teased in this volume that could potentially turns thing around for Damage.


EXHIBITA

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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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18 comments

  • Lol….hulking out…yeah…I saw what you did there 😂😂 Well, it’s always nice to see some new heroes enter the fray so to speak. But too bad this could have been a little bit better in that regard. Especially when it serves as an introduction, one would hope that it’s done in a little bit of a better way (especially if you want people to pick up and start following this). That said, it still looks pretty cool though, especially the artwork. As usual another wonderful and winning post from you! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. I think anyone’s first reaction upon hearing about this will be to see a rip-off of the Hulk. It’s going to take a lot for this particular hero to make a name for itself. At least anyone who’s looking to have some fun will find some here. They just shouldn’t expect to see Damage outshining any other heroes for now. 😛 Thanks for reading, Michel! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Interesting review! I’d have to read up quite a bit to even think about reading this one, but when I finally get to work through DC stuff, it will be in large parts thanks to your writing on these comics 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • DC’ing the Hulk doesn’t seem very fresh, new or original to me. If DC wants to start a new line of comics, they need some new heroes with brand new ideas, not just recycled stuff. Recycling might work in manga but I think that is because there isn’t a Superman/Batman/Wonderwoman trio like there is in comics. Those characters are the gold standard. I think DC should kill off those three, for real, not in a stunt like the Death of Superman, Knightfall super storylines back in the 90’s. Then they have the freedom to skip around with characters from year to year. That just isn’t going to happen though, as they are the backbone of the DC sales events 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Indeed. It’s impossible for anyone to not see the Hulk in Damage. This is one new hero who will struggle quite a bit if you ask me. The other heroes part of this New Age of Heroes however aren’t such “direct” copies. I do look forward to exploring their first arcs to see what the other writers/artists have been able to do though. As for your radical idea for any possibility for these new heroes to shine… I second that there’s no way they’ll do that. They can take these heroes and spin them in so many directions, and make completely new stories, non-canon (i.e. Elseworlds stories) with them too. Only good story-telling, art, events and time will give these new heroes a foundation to stand on. For now, Damage was clearly not the best of the bunch.

      Liked by 1 person

  • The artwork is incredible. I have to say we have such different reading tastes but I enjoy your reviews. I always learn something new and there is no hiding your enthusiasm for what you are reading and writing… even when there are some pitfalls to the work, as in this one. I will be interested to see if this is the dawn of a new group of DC heroes though….

    Liked by 1 person

    • It indeed is! A bit unfortunate that the artist changes in the last parts, but they try hard enough to make the style as similar as possible (not an easy task).

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I already know that most people out there have never cracked open a comic book or a graphic novel and that the reception for my reviews are probably never going to be as insane as a review for the latest YA novel, but hey, we read and share what we want, right? At the end of the day, I tell myself that one of my reviews will end up connecting with the reader and make them want to give a comic book a shot someday hahah

      Like

  • Awesome review sir! Whilst it would of course be great if DC could establish/re-establish a new set of characters spilling out of Metal, the previews I’ve read in the back of regular DC titles haven’t enticed me. The only one I felt I might potentially give a go is this one but as it’s predominantly focused on just the action and seemingly an inferior riff on the Hulk (I loved your little pun up there), I have second thoughts. I don’t think it helps that these titles launched with some of DC’s finest artists (Tony S. Daniel, Jim Lee) only for them to depart after a couple of issues doesn’t really give them staying power, in my opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks man. And yes, the previews at the end of some issues in the past haven’t at all made me want to discover these heroes. I can imagine that it’s not easy to try and establish new characters so that a new fanbase can grow for them, but man… So far, it isn’t the most impressive attempt yet. And I totally agree with you. I was saddened to see how Tony S. Daniel didn’t even stick around for the whole arc. I wish they could change that work methodology at DC Comics…

      Like

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