Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Damage #4 Review

Tony Come Back!

Writer: Robert Venditti
Art Team: Cary Nord, Tomeu Morey
DC Comics
Release Date: April 18, 2018
Cover Price: $2.99

Damage has been the title from the New Age of DC Heroes lineup I look most forward to reading when it comes out each month.  The character of Ethan, and the premise of Damage, have intrigued me to the point I want to see where this title goes for awhile, but with an art change afoot, away from Tony Daniels, I'm slightly worried my enjoyment level might start to dip a bit.  So lets check out issue four of this series and see what Damage brings to the table this month.

Damage #4 begins with the introduction and setup for this issues villain who happens to be none other than Poison Ivy, with green skin to boot (Eric Shea is very upset right now).  Editors are also careful to note this story takes place pre-Batman #41, because they're currently setting up this 'Sanctuary' title coming in the future, and we cant have Poison Ivy running around doing normal Poison Ivy things while she's recuperating. Anyway, Poison Ivy unleashes a brutal attack on some people farming the land they own, because frankly she's sick and tired of people abusing plants and will soon use them to control the entire world (see Batman #41).

The story then moves onto a diner where we check-in on Ethan, who snuck into the back of an 18 wheeler last issue, headed for New Orleans. Ethan eventually runs into the truck driver stumbling out of the back of his truck, and when the driver notices nothing was stolen, that Ethan was simply looking for a ride, he offers Ethan a off the books job with his cousin farming crops ... at the very farm we saw attacked by Ivy in the beginning of the story, if I had to wager any sort of guess, while reading this the first time through.  This was all a little too convenient and predictable but fine overall.

These scenes were all intercut with a flashback scene of the initial test that leads to Ethan becoming Damage in the first place. Then we join Col. Jonas, in the present day, introducing us to her version of the Suicide Squad (in a way) hired to hunt down Damage. Unfortunately for these characters, much like Immortal Men, the only thing memorable about them is their awful names.

The book begins its conclusion as Ethan is taken to the 'farm'. After being introduced to the crew, then heading off to work, the truck everybody is on gets attacked by Poison Ivy. This causes Ethan to call upon Damage for help to save these people in trouble, with the caveat of Ethan asking Damage for control. Damage, of course, says "No Promises" as his countdown begins.   

The initial shock catches Ivy off guard, and the impact of Damage smashing the truck sends her flying backward, to which she quickly recovers.  Ivy responds with force, turning the stalks surrounding everyone into weapons against Damage, and wraps him up while shoving them down his throat for our issues cliffhanger, however seeing how Damage just in a way bested Wonder Woman last issue, I don't anticipate this holding him down too long so my suspense is minimal.

Overall this issue was a step back to me, for a series I enjoyed up to this point a lot thus far, on two fronts. First I just want a little more than Damage fighting whatever person he runs into next. To have to shoehorn Tom King's latest Batman centered nonsense into this book, because it features Ivy, only drags this book down further my enjoyment scale on a storytelling level.  More is being told to me about Ivy's current state (she's bad going well) in the DC Universe than Damage in this issue and that's not what I'm here for.  Second, the art, while serviceable and far from bad, is not on Tony Daniels quality level, which to be fair or not is what I've come to expect on this title. For books billing artists alongside writers, I need a more crisp, fine, polished product even if it is $2.99.

Bits and Pieces:

Damage #4 is a step backward in a series I was enjoying up until this point a whole lot.  Losing Tony Daniels on art duties is a huge blow to this title and the replacements just don't bring Damage to life or make him very menacing at all. This issue is also light on the story too and tries to compensate by giving you more to read about Ivy's current state in the DC Universe. I'd rather see storytelling efforts be more focused on Damage confronting Jonas for her misdeeds, or even the cliffhanger from the last issue, instead of this flavor of the month villain road trip, this is turning into.



  1. Come on , you really think DC is keeping an artist on longer than 3 issues on these titles ? Get with the program .

  2. I'm not reading this title, but I still feel the trademark "New series DC awesome artist bait and switch" burn I've felt on other titles. The last time I really felt the pain was on Mother Panic when Tommy Lee Edwards split after 3 issues.

  3. Yeah, the absence of Tony Daniels was REALLY felt this issue.