Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Damage #12 Review

Superman Shuns Damage

Writer: Robert Venditti
Art Team: Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan, Hi-Fi, Tom Napolitano
DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 13, 2018

Damage's previous issue featured a big clash with some version of the Justice League. This eventually forced the "B Team" to call in the big guns, despite Guy Gardner's best wishes of course, so as the issue concluded Superman arrived on the scene. For any other comic book that would most likely be an exciting thing to look forward to, however, this is customary for Damage at this point, making the book all too predictable at times.  Maybe this will be different though since Damage has finally come up against someone who's a match for his strength, let's find out.

The issue begins with a flashback to the past of Ethan as a little boy. He's seen admiring Superman on the television fighting off a villain, stating right there and then, how he wants to be "Superman when he grows up".  Its a nice setup behind some of Ethan's motivation into becoming Damage in the first place, while also setting up a possible conflict between Ethan and the thing he eventually always seems to become, but it doesn't get explored much at all ... at least not yet.

Flash forward back to the current day and time, where we very much get the Superman and Damage slugfest that was advertised, the problem is its a large majority of the issue in typical Damage fashion. The two powerhouses continue to go at it, no holds barred, as the rest of the Justice League, present from the previous issue, looks on in amazement. Superman comes off as a bit strange throughout the issue as well, even telling the others to stand aside at points, he'll do this on his own. This relegates the supporting cast not fighting, all but Superman here, to comic relief the remainder of the battle.

Eventually, Superman is able to win the day, as it's revealed he was biding his time until Batman and Deadman could arrive, and hold off Damage until Ethan appears again. This strange gaggle of heroes called the Justice League to take Ethan into custody at the Hall of Justice where Superman tells him he will stay until they can figure out what to do with him, showing almost no empathy for Ethan's plight despite his pleas for mercy.

There are a few glimpses this issue of things more interesting bubbling beneath the surface, which show promise, but don't get explored much here, at least not yet. Mainly, I wish more was put into the fact Ethan tries to hold off Damage from fighting his childhood hero Superman but to no avail. It's briefly mentioned in the flashback, and Ethan's inner dialogue while Damage, but isn't explored with much depth beyond that.

The main thing I really had an issue with was Superman and the Justice League though. By the end of the issue, Superman and the team offer Ethan no chance at redemption, despite multiple pleas for forgiveness, even as Ethan makes it clear he was trying to do the right thing this whole time.  There is no attempt to seek the truth by the Justice League, even though Batman seems to know some things, or they just don't care that Ethan was sort of done wrong by Col. Jonas, which is worse in my opinion.

Damage was again a bit of a mixed bag this month. While the story seemed to be headed into some interesting territory for Ethan as a character those facets just weren't touched on enough. Couple that with some strange characterization choices for various Justice League members, and the team as a whole itself, and this missed just a bit more than it hits. Overall, as a whole, this months issue was another in a long line that featured a bit too much fighting to really explore anything too interesting and with only a couple issues left in the future of the title I'm not sure that will ever change.

The art continues to remain a strong point of the title as all the characters, and fight scenes looked like a great fit for the story being told in the pages.  While I'm still trying to adjust to Superman in his shorts over the tights look again I can't knock this creative team for that change so I deal with it as an unhappy comic book fan who just wants his opinion known ... "its distracting" ... there I said it happy.

Bits and Pieces 

Damage gets close to being a complete book this month, exploring some interesting concepts, but in the end is still too action heavy, and reliant on guest stars, to really hone in on telling a compelling story.


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