[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Cary Nord and Robert Venditti
Artists: Tomeu Morey
Poison Ivy is making Damage suffer in Louisiana. His attempt to lay low earning cash by working on a farm is interrupted when Ivy decides to make the sugarcane workers change loyalties. Damage wants to protect the workers, but how will the human side of Ethan Avery, not his full name, have any control over what or who he destroys?
Strong opening on a Louisiana field and voice-over text explaining how history is a story of the powerful feeding on the powerless. Matching the image to the machines harvesting crops.
We meet the colonel in a flashback. Later she arrives with a freelance crew she hired to find Damage.
I like Misha. Her attitude is cold and dismissive. It lends credibility to the descriptions she gives hunting prey. She is a tracker who can tell how long ago Avery, Damage, sat at which booth in the diner where he last ate, then smell the exhaust and distinguish diesel exhaust enough to identify that the prey left in an eighteen-wheeler. Misha later claims to have caught a prey by tasting three-month-old flour tracked from a bakery.
You can find my thoughts on the rest of the team in the Negatives.
Damage is introduced as a young man deep in a flashback about the military experiment that changed him. He awakens afraid, bursts out from the semi-trailer where he was hiding, directly into a driver who believes his story about looking for work. He brings Damage to join with a farm labor crew that is mostly immigrant. It leads to a funny joke that the “güeritos” or white people are taking the laborers job.
It is on the farm that a wild forest has sprung up and Poison Ivy is introduced. She accuses the men of murdering the sugarcane they are harvesting for humans that consume.
The scene when she captures Damage and sends plant branches down his throat is a flashback to Aliens, tentacle-anime movies, and all things nefarious relating to parasitic organisms. It’s creepy, which makes it so effective.
I like the countdown clock when Ethan transforms into Damage.
On the lighter side, we learn that the military has his official name on file under Elvis Ethan Allen. I chuckle again while typing.
The colors from Tomeu Morey are bright and easy on the eyes. There is a great use of light and shadow when José is introduced on page 4 and the splash page uses this effect to make the forest pop against the horizon.
The events from Page 3 to 4 feel like a flashback that is not identified and without a transition clue, it is jarring. Later it is explained that this was the first attack by Ivy, but until then I had no idea and it felt very confusing, even after her one-line explanation.
The cybernetic eye, Handyman, leading the team hired by the colonel, and the one called Paparazzi feel generic upon introduction. Basic and mean and uninteresting.
It bothers me that Damage looks like the grey Hulk. Maybe that is wrong to say, but I can’t stop seeing it. Especially in the flashback when he gains his powers.
The role of Poison Ivy feels very one-note and two-dimensional. Unfortunately, that does not equal a 3-D fleshed out character with depth. It feels like her only role is to show up and make Damage angry.
This fourth issue in the series feels like it should be part of issue #1. The development of the backstory and the characters hunting Damage feel like they were developed in fits. Some parts feel very detailed, and others just rushed. This series will grow stronger when the balance is applied to both. Gorgeous art provides beautiful scenery.