Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Damage #16 Review

The Finale

Storytellers: Robert Venditti, Aaron Lopresti
Art Team: Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan, Hi-Fi, Tom Napolitano
DC Comics
Release Date: April 17, 2019
Cover Price: $2.99

Last issue of Damage showed a bit of promise in dealing with Ethan's issues, before presenting a decent threat for Congo Bill and Ethan/Damage to deal with, which ultimately made sense for the title, beyond the usual guest star of the month big name grab bag, we were getting for so long in this book. The only real negative at that point was we were starring a penultimate issue right in the face not giving any of that fun a lot of time to develop.  So where does that leave us coming into the final issue of Damage? Let's discuss. 

I wish I could say something along the lines of "Damage goes out with a BANG" here or some other fun pun. that would emphasize the ending to this series and make me look forward to the future of the character.  Unfortunately what we get in actuality is more of the same we've had previously, which has made this series a predictable and monotonous slog, never really allowing the title character to do anything more than be the knockoff it always appeared to be from the onset.  

So what does happen then? Ethan/Damage and Congo Bill get free of the restraints placed on them by Echidna who leaves them to their own devices. Damage wiggles free then quickly starts beating the heck out of all her monster combinations for the majority of the twenty-five pages of the issue. In the end, Ethan learns his grand lesson and is shipped back off to the mainland on a boat by Bill, where the odds of him getting a cameo in the background of the next Crisis event are currently set at +400.  

All in all, is there anything wrong with this story as a whole? No, not really, but finally when it felt like we were entering the different territory for the character at the end of the last issue, it reverts back to the norm way too quickly to wrap up, all to end just as the character takes his first steps of growth in the series.  That's just disappointing to me as a reader and makes me realize there wasn't much thought put into the concept of Damage, beyond the base level stuff from the onset. 

Aaron Lopresti, Matt Ryan, and Hi-Fi do most of the heavy lifting here and seem to have a bit of fun doing so, creating some fun mash-up monsters to be hammered on by the heroes.  The art on this title was never the problem, and the team always did the best they could considering they essentially redrew the same conflict over and over again. All they can be asked is to make it look interesting enough and I feel that was at least accomplished over the life of this series. 

Bits and Pieces:

Overall, as a whole, the final issue of Damage was like most every other issue of Damage, where the problem is solved as soon as Damage is able to come too and save the day.  There's some small growth with Ethan here, but coming in literally the final issue of the series, we'll most likely never see it go beyond that.  In the words of the late great Dennis Green, Damage "is what we thought it was", a Hulk-like attempt at a book that just never expanded on that very basic concept. 


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