Review: Damage #1

From the pages of Dark Nights Metal comes the first of DC’s “New Age of Heroes”, which ironically at first glance alone, resembles one of Marvel’s first ones, the Hulk!

Once you get into the book however, you find there are more differences than similarities.  First of all, Ethan Avery wanted to be a soldier, now his government has turned him into a monster. Secondly, there are timeframes to worry about;  Damage lasts for an hour, every 24 hours.  Finally, Ethan and Damage can hear each other’s voice when the other persona is active.  So, rather than have a new hero, we actually have a merging of three with Hourman and elements of Firestorm co-joining the aforementioned ol’ grey skin look, though some people will see Doomsday in the mix.

The book is written by Green Lantern (and Valiant mainstay) Robert Venditti.  His work on this issue may not be as complex as some of his other work, but bear in mind this is the first issue.  Venditti sets the rules up quickly, along with the supporting cast whilst leaving enough wiggle room for further development down the line.  Of course, this being a government thing, when it goes wrong (as it does), you can bet your bottom dollar that a certain “off the books” spook and her team will show up.  The interesting part of the book, is the “second voice” idea which I am hoping to see extended, hopefully with the voices impacting decision-making down the line, with this latter element already being hinted at in the story.

Tony S. Daniels is one of my favourite artists.  I loved his art on Batman and on Superman/Wonder Woman.  Since then he has been popping up doing the odd issue here and there including the Suicide Squad.  Daniels art, is like a streamlined version of Jim Lee in places.  Here, his lines are thickened to accommodate the bulking main character.  With the characters introduced by Venditti, there is enough of the usual pencil work on show to please long-term fans.  Daniel’s approach to the structure of the book is reminiscent to how the Death of Superman played out back in the 90’s.  As Doomsday got closer, became a bigger threat, the panels got bigger culminating on panel splash pages and even a number of two page spreads.  This technique is used here to show just how Damage lives up to his name.   Daniels attention to detail must have made it hard for inker Danny Miki, but based on the output, Miki was more than up to the job.  Colors are by Tomeu Morey with a main scheme that is set against a red sky, which somehow attunes the eye to the sense of death and destruction.

I am not sure how I feel about “The New Age of Heroes”.  Whilst I sit on the fence, pondering if having a range of new characters is financially feasible for comic book fans (I know I can’t afford to buy every book), retailers who may have to chop numbers in other areas such as indie books perhaps and DC; if I have a choice to buy a book with my favourite characters or a new book with a new character that I have no real relationship with, how do you think my knee will jerk? These are questions for another time.  In the meantime, the New Age is upon us with a pretty solid book straight out of the gate.

Writing – 3.5 Stars
Art – 4.5 Stars
Colors – 4 Stars

Co-Created & Written by; Robert Venditti
Co-Created & Art by; Tony S. Daniels with Danny Miki
Colors by: Tomeu Morey
Published by; DC Comics

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