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Damage Control #2

Posted: Friday, February 29, 2008
By: Kevin Powers

Dwayne McDuffie
Salva Espin & Guru EFX
Marvel Comics
ďThe Little House I Used to Live InĒ

I really enjoyed the first issue of World War Hulk Aftersmash: Damage Control. Iíve always been a fan of the idea and I always love when creators of a certain property or idea get to write said creation. Dwayne McDuffie definitely delivered last issue with a rather light-hearted tale essentially featuring the reformation of the original Damage Control. For all intents and purposes, this series isnít meant to be canon-changing nor is it really meant to be relevant to something bigger like Secret Invasion, itís just good fun with a plethora of great characters and a surprise appearance from everyoneís favorite super-powered cops, the Thunderbolts. Iíll be honest; this issue and series is nothing Earth-shattering. This issue is fun fodder, a good read for anyone looking for something a little different than what we are used to every week.

I think that the major appeal of the series for me is great characterization, a simple plot and fantastic artwork. Not to mention that fact that you really donít have to read a billion storylines to know whatís going on. That fact is something that even Marvel acknowledges. I have to say one of the most creative things Marvel does comes in the beginning of this issue from editor Nate Cosby. Nate subtly takes a shot at the modern comic book reader and I have to say that I agree with him. This issue opens up with a splash page message featuring a collage of logos from Marvel big events from the original Secret Wars to Infinity Gauntlet to Secret Invasion. Basically, every big Marvel event over the last 30 years is named. Nate adds a clear message essentially saying, ďBefore enjoying this hilarious/poignant/purposeful comics you must read all these stories. Or you can just wing it.Ē

Well played, Mr. Cosby. As a comic book critic I throw you an impassioned middle finger. But I am a fan and aspiring creator before I am a critic, not to mention a guy who works in a comic store, so I must wholeheartedly salute you for making this page. Too often customers wonít pick up a book for fun or for a decent read because they are afraid they have to follow a bazillion other books. So thank you, Nate, finally someone besides the critics and fans like me has said it.

Now, on to the actual issue. I love the first quarter of this book. The interaction with the Thunderbolts is well-written and very entertaining. Thereís some great dialogue, a humorous situation and excellent yet subtle political themes behind the roles of Damage Control and the Thunderbolts. I was a little disappointed that there wasnít a bit of a physical confrontation with the Thunderbolts and the heroes helping Damage Control, but the reason behind the Thunderbolts leaving is very compelling. The thing that works very well with this issue is the way you can really get a sense of whatís going on. For example, I jumped on the Penance bandwagon a little bit late in the game but I didnít need a great deal of background information to understand why he tells the Thunderbolts they are leaving. McDuffie basically spells it out in a flashback scene featuring Penance and Bart Rozum, and does it very poignantly. Penance also used to be a member of Damage Control and Rozum knows his true identity.

The flashback scene is very compelling and quite moving; everything after this moment is more or less decent dialogue, some character development and just a well-paced and easy read. I think thatís really all this series needs to be. This ultimately works because these characters are McDuffieís creation, thus he is able to handle them in a way that makes them very interesting even if they may not be featured prominently following this issue. However, what I really liked was the scene between Ray Lippert and Gene Strasser. Gene is kind of the mad scientist of the group and heís studying pieces of Hulkís ship which he is calling ďHulkaniumĒ. I have a feeling that the material has something to do with the Hulkís son managing to survive the disaster on Sakaar. The dialogue here between Lippert and Strasser is well done and the interjections by a robot from Hulkís ship adds to some of the humor. I must say I really liked the idea of the adamantium razor blade and Strasserís massive stockpile of the metal.

I love the artwork on this series. Salva Espinís art mixed with Guru EFXís colors puts this issue on a higher level of quality. Every character is portrayed brilliantly, distinctly and realistically. Granted thereís a bit of cartoon flavor to the art, itís so well done that Iíve flipped through the book a couple of times just to look at the art.

So yes, this issue was great fun to read. It had a great opening, a compelling scene with Penance and Bart Rozum, and some great character development with the Damage Control members, including Goliath. However, the ending of this issue really threw me off. In fact, I really donít like the way this issue ended. It went from ďfun fodderĒ to dumb silliness in one panel. Yes, Iím talking about the Chrysler Building coming to life. I hope itís some kind of joke or something because if the Chrysler Building is really alive I donít know how seriously I can take this series in the end. Regardless, this issue is a good, fun read and I do recommend it to anyone looking for something entertaining to read.



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