Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Damage #5 Review

Last night took an L, but tonight I bounce back

Written by: Robert Venditti
Art by: Diogenes Neves, Trevor Scott, Allen Passalaqua, Tom Napolitano
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: May 16, 2018

The New Age of DC Heroes, while an intriguing concept, has been flawed in its execution with the 'big name artists' dropping off all these titles after only a few issues, removing one of the main draws of the lineup when it was announced. Couple that with the books not exactly flying of comic book shelves either and its difficult to say how long these 'New Heroes' will stick around.  With that being said I've enjoyed the story of Damage so far and want to see Ethan get some closure to his story so let's check in on his progress this week. 

The issue picks up where our cliffhanger left us last issue with Poison Ivy choking out Damage, shoving some sugar cane down his throat, ultimately making him pass out.  While out cold Ethan flashes back to times he was still running through the testing phase as Damage, memories continue to surface Col. Jonas seemed to be able to previously suppress from Ethan, possibly leading Ethan to a lead he'll pursue in the future of this series.    

When Ethan awakes from his first loss he finds that he's a prisoner of Poison Ivy. Ethan is quickly freed from the vines holding him by Jose who he befriended the last issue before turning into Damage.  Jose hopes Ethan will change again, freeing everyone caught in Ivy's rage, but Ethan explains it's not that easy, that he cant control Damage, and how he needs to rest between turning into the monster, then back again. The two decide to head off to hide from their captor as Ivy enters the room. Some hints of why she may be green-skinned appear here, while we also get the feeling she's not entirely making her own decisions, before heading off again to other events. 

The time passing in this issue from here on out gets really wonky as we jump back to dealing with the 'Goon Squad' hired by Col. Jonas to track down Ethan. I'm not going to list them by name again, because they're all awful, just know the 'Squad' gather a few leads, before we jump back to Ethan again, who after just mentioning he couldn't turn back into Damage yet last time we saw him, now 'feels' 23 hours have passed, so works up the courage to call out the monster in an attempt to try and control it once again. 

The issue begins it's conclusion as Damage bursts out of the ground to confront Ivy, while Ethan shouts from inside the monster to "to be smarter" this time, to not just go straight to all-out attack mode again. As the fight is about to begin Ivy calls in her backup, and we see who has been influencing her decisions ... Grodd makes his appearance known as the issue comes to a close. 

Overall, while this issue was an improvement over the previous effort, both story, and art-wise, I'm more interested in seeing Ethan/Damage develop as a character at a faster pace than to continue just slugging it out with his villain of the month.  This issue did a better job of addressing that, but there are still so many guest appearances, that interrupt the flow of what I find truly interesting too much.  I like Ethan when he tries to gain control of the monster, that and his pursuit/discoveries of Col. Jonas are the best parts of this book to me, I just want more of it each week. The fact this part of the story is coming in dribs and drabs is mildly frustrating but is also the thing that keeps me coming back.  

Bits and Pieces:

Damage is holding my interest for now as the story continues to trickle out in between the slugfest of the month.  The Ethan/Damage dynamic is something I'll probably see through to its conclusion, but I'm not sure its unique enough for mass appeal, despite the obvious care put into its development thus far.  Art also recovers a bit but its still not up to the standards Tony Daniels set in the characters debut issues.  



  1. This issue is a very middle of the road issue. Didn't hate it but didn't love it. I hope they keep drop hints at Hourman and Miracalo. Art was good but I'm not a fan of pure green ivy look.
    I'm a little lower than branden 6/10
    To me of the new heroes I think damage is the easiest to sell, so they better not screw it up.

  2. This was the book I was looking forward to the most when they announced the line. First 3 issues were exactly what i wanted..... then Daniels left and the book suffered a ton. Issue 4 almost had me ready to drop it with how bad the art was compared to Daniels. This issues art was much better than 4. Poison ivy didn't look like she was of lil Gotham this time thankfully.

    Hopefully atfer this arc we'll finally get more of Ethan/damages story and get away from the guest start of the month and get back to setting up a new villain from damage like they were doing in the first issue.