[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Diogenes Neves and Robert Venditti
Artist: Clayton Henry
It’s Part 2 and “Unnatural Disasters” continue to plague Damage. Despite his promises at the end of the last issue, our hero is tied up in a “Hostile Takeover” and choked out by Poison Ivy, with 56 minutes of Damage potential unused. Talk about all dressed up and going nowhere. Ethan awakens bound by plant roots. He is rescued by Jose and nursed back to health in time for Round 2 with Ivy, only to find out that bigger problems have just arrived.
Damage looks different. Less Hulk. The arms look metallic or armored. His face reminds me more of Bloodshot now. I like the change. I wonder if it means he can change details depending on the opponent.
During a flashback, it is revealed that the Damage Program is an extension of the Hourman Program, which was created with the Miraclo Formula.
Miraclo created a host of complications and side effects for Hourman. What adverse complications await Damage?
Ethan requires 23 hours of rest to recover from 1 hour as Damage, and he cannot transform again until 23 hours have passed. Ethan’s biology tells him when the time has passed and it does not require an external clock. This could be an interesting device in future stories.
A soldier during the flashback whispers, “Remember the Unknown Soldier.” I like this thread for future stories by referencing a character from DC history who has played the role of the ultimate mystery man in titles like Superman and Swamp Thing. Unknown Soldier could provide Damage with the chance to be “in the right place…at the right time.”
Nice setup on page 9 when Ivy discovers Damage is free and begins ranting, for only one panel Ivy’s alter ego breaks through with a voice of rational, and then is gone. No doubt we will see this play a role at a pivotal point in the next chapters.
Paparazzi’s power allows him to display mental images from a metal plate on the back of his head. It’s a nice detail that separates this power from other telepathic examples and may become a vulnerability later.
Jose and Ethan have a great scene while they are hiding. Jose challenges Ethan to use his other half for good. Ethan is ashamed of the destruction he has caused and the parts he can remember. It sets Ethan up to negotiate a compromise with Damage on a plan to work together.
Gorilla Grodd and the Gorilla City Warriors attack which means Ethan and Damage need a new plan. I like that Ethan’s first attempt at teamwork is met with an overwhelming disadvantage. It creates the incentive for Damage and Ethan to withdraw and revert to their previous ways of managing threats. It also means that the only way to succeed will require trust, hopefully at a moment when it matters the most.
I get that Ivy is an eco-terrorist, and thus given to long speeches, but it feels unnecessary to spend so much time talking about the Green when it doesn’t have the same value I remember from Swamp Thing and Animal Man during the New 52 launch.
There is a scene with one of the guys who helped Ethan in the last issue. The colonel’s interrogation is awkward but informative. The immigration tension is hard to play out with authenticity when the intention is limited to the surface. I don’t know if time or space impacted this decision, but it showed.
The narration last issue was stellar, and I missed that voice this time around. I don’t expect it every issue. But this is the second part of Unnatural Disaster and I like continuity in the voices of my characters, storylines, and narrators.
Great development of Ethan’s character. He needed this moment to begin forging ahead with the conditions he is facing instead of avoiding them. It is a strong turning point that will prepare him for the next challenge. Unfortunately, the other aspects of the story suffered without the same level of attention and detail. This series can still find balance, and creating a consistent voice or tone will help. If they continue to bring in new writers, then that responsibility will fall on the editors.