[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Storytellers: Aaron Lopresti and Robert Venditti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Stranded on an island of monsters! Following his run-in with the Justice League, Damage was dropped in a remote location in the middle of the ocean, a lost land of some of the most dangerous creatures to ever roam the Earth. And now Damage is one of them— but only for an hour a day. The rest of the time, Ethan Avery is an ordinary man, and he is going to have to survive by his wits if he ever wants to get back to the mainland alive. Ethan is learning that his incarceration is more about teaching him to control his own “monster”, but that’s not a lesson too easily learned when you are the only human on an island and ocean controlled by horrific creatures specifically placed there by the Justice League. This is the ultimate “time out” for one big “monster baby”. All this, and a trip to the Batcave for Atom Ant.
Big frames filled with imaginative monsters that are both named and classified by the JLA member who “bagged and tagged” them to inhabit the island. Monster Rock is a modern day “Phantom Zone” overseen by one Congo Bill. We do get a back story for Congo Bill, who reveals that he is better off overseeing this island due to the monster capabilities inside of him. And we do see the clock expire for Ethan where he does have a choice as to how he addresses Damage both coaxing and baiting him to let him out. This is reminiscent of a Bruce Banner/Hulk conversation comic lovers have grown accustomed too. “Ethan puny….Damage should be in control!” Right when we think Ethan is grown up a bit from his butt whooping by Congo Bill (who really looks like a Johnny Depp doppelganger) both physically and emotionally, we get the curve ball in the story! The mother of all monsters shows up to take care of Congo Bill, leaving Ethan wrestling with his Damage persona and Echidna…..choices, choices!
Damage has taken too long to tell his story. We are finding ourselves locked into a potential hero who has been ostracized to a proverbial corner to “learn his lesson”. While the JLA is trying to teach him a lesson in self revelation, the writers are simply portraying him as an independent cuss who is not going to be controlled by the military or the JLA. However, he’s been painted into a corner as the JLA doesn’t want him, the military wants him for the wrong reasons, and Damage just wants to do away with him now as Damage wants exclusive control! I’m holding on to see if there is any redeeming qualities here as DC copped out in using this island to deal with things that don’t below. It’s almost an island of misfit toys.
The art is solid, but the storyline doesn’t save the character. This is a story of a super soldier formula gone awry. And the story has been told so often, nothing is a surprise and everything is absurd. From what I understand, only one issue remains in this series, so a collector would be wise to gather up all issues. It may be possible that another crew of artists and writers can get a hold of this character and paint a better situation for Ethan/Damage. In the case of this series, too much Damage has already been done (pun intended)!