[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Storytellers: Aaron Lopresti and Robert Venditti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
The problem with Elvis Ethan Avery is that he wanted to be a hero and he thought that joining the army was the right way to do it. That same moral compass is now driving Damage. Together they are taking down — The Burrow — the place where they were born. And forcing the military to rely on the new man that Colonel Jonas left in charge. But, that man, Dr. Vess is busying sacrificing the facility to secure the asset that he deems far more valuable. This is Damage #10.
This issue does a nice job of putting Ethan’s moral compass front and center. The first scene is Ethan telling the two soldiers guarding the compound that he doesn’t want to hurt them. He says this more than once, and only after they open fire does he transform. The succeeding flashback reveals that he did not wait long before looking at the files on the flash drive that The Unknown Soldier gave him. But, reading it came at a price. Ethan — and through him Damage — saw raw details of every mission they were sent on and the consequences are measured in lives lost.
When Damage smashes his way far enough into The Burrow’s center to see what is really going on he finds rows and rows of canisters. Each containing a failed version of the experiment that created him. Each one a possibility that Damage escaped when others were not so lucky.
Faced with the pain and suffering required to create Damage and the horror they are have created since Damage was unleashed, Ethan and his alter ego decide to turn The Burrow into rubble.
The Justice League’s arrival is nothing short of arrogance. They look bored, and by comparison, Damage looks like another Monster of the Week. Maybe it’s just Green Arrow who looks bored. Guy Gardner looks ready to fight, Vixen looks ready for anything, and Flash looks like he’s already moving. Oh, and Damage has less than fifteen minutes before he reverts to Ethan. It’s going to be a hot one in the old town in issue #11.
This issue contains a lot of smashing. It was due. Ethan has been on the run and hunted. He finally has some intel that lets him fight back, but after a few pages and panels, without any specific targets, until he eventually finds the canisters, it felt redundant.
It’s a complaint that I recently heard from the owner of a comic book store in Hong Kong, and after reading this issue I would have to agree. The challenge with a monstrous character like Damage is that the perspective his power requires is based on his environment. Using things like a ticking clock creates tension that allows the reader to engage with his actions.
It was nice to see Ethan and Damage on the same side for a long stretch of time. After nine issues of hiding from each other until necessity forces their hand, it was a pleasure to see them choose to be on the same page and attack a target with a shared goal. What remains to be seen, is if they can stand together against a test like the Justice League or is that just too much to handle. I know I’ll be back in thirty days to find out.