Publisher – DC Comics
Artists – Tony S. Daniel, Diogenes Neves, Cary Nord, Danny Miki, Trevor Scott, and Larry Hama
Writer – Robert Venditti
Colorists – Tomeu Morey, and Allen Passalaqua
Letterer – Tom Napolitano
Is he man, monster or something else? That is the case for Ethan Avery in Damage Vol. 1: Out of Control. On the run from the military, Ethan tries to maintain control of his destructive powers, and avoid getting captured by those seeking to use him for nefarious purposes. It all sounds pretty standard, I know. There are some cool things about this collection, but it is held back by some creative stumbles.
One thing that is apparent about the art in Damage Vol. 1: Out of Control is that it is at its best when Tony S. Daniel, Danny Miki, and Tomeu Morey are together on art duties. Their work carries an extra kick of energy that makes the action more appealing to behold. When things start to change up halfway through the collection, the quality of the art takes a hit. That is not to say that the work of those outside those three is bad. At its worst, the art is okay. What hurts the overall look of the collection is not just the fluctuations in artistic quality, but also the differences in styles. It saps some energy from a story that relies heavily on the action.
Speaking of the story, its main weakness is its lack of originality. While Damage is advertised as being a part of "The New Age of Heroes", the series' world feels too familiar. The title character feels like a DC version of The Hulk, but without enough to make a big distinction besides the name, powers, and popularity. Those that oppose Damage, outside of DC characters that appeared before this series, come off as villains that would fit at home in a Hulk comic. Still, there are bright spots in Robert Venditti's writing. The threats that Damage comes across provide some variety to the action, and there is enough in the execution side of things to maintain interest.
Tom Napolitano does a nice job with the lettering. Word balloons and caption boxes look crisp, while showing some personality when needed. Where Napolitano really shines is in the sound effects. Their usage in the context of the story meshes well with the art, especially in fight scenes.
Damage Vol. 1: Out of Control is not a bad read. The pacing keeps things from getting dull, and the artistic highs of the collection are fun to experience. However, shifts in artistic direction, and not enough originality on the story side keep this from being better. There is some hope that things could progress for the title character beyond this collection. That said, this is mainly worth looking at for those curious about "The New Age of Heroes" or those that are big fans of the creators involved.