If you lived in the Marvel Comics universe and had to find an office internship, where would you apply? Find out why it shouldn’t be Damage Control in this week’s main review of Damage Control #1. And scroll down to the Rapid Rundown for blurbs of Amazing Spider-Man #8 and Fantastic Four #46.
What did you think of this week’s batch of fresh Marvel Comics? The Beat wants to hear from you! Let us know, here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat.
Damage Control #1
Writers: Adam F. Goldberg, Hans Rodionoff, Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie
Artists: Will Robson, Jay Fosgitt
Color Artist: Ruth Redmond
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Main Cover Artists: Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz, & Rachelle Rosenberg
In the first issue of the latest Damage Control miniseries, we get an intern’s eye view on the bureaucratic organization responsible for cleaning up all the messes left behind by the regularly scheduled super heroic antics of the Marvel Comics universe main characters.
The premise itself is (and always has been) fantastic. The internal logic of the Marvel Comics universe dictates that there must be someone behind the scenes who is very dedicated to cleaning up the destruction left in the wake of the various antics the headlining super heroes undertake in the panels of their eponymous books each week.
Enter Damage Control! After being teased in a story in Marvel Age Annual (1988) #4 and Marvel Comics Presents #7 (1989), the organization got its full debut in Damage Control (1989) #1 by Dwayne McDuffie, Ernie Colon, Bob Wiacek, John Wellington, and Ed King. The first issue of this inaugural four-issue run follows John Porter as he undertakes his first day as an account executive at the eponymous organization. By following the perspective of a new (and important) employee of Damage Control, the reader gets to see every level of the organization as they clean up a giant-size mess left behind by The Tinkerer.
By contrast, the first story of this new miniseries of Damage Control follows an employee at the bottom of the proverbial food chain: Gus the brand-new intern (who has to answer to Bart the head intern). Throughout this first story, I couldn’t help but imagine Gus was being portrayed by Ben Schwartz.
Plenty of comedy is mined from limiting the perspective of the story to the new intern. While all of the superheroes who appear on the main cover appear in the first story, they aren’t so much here to play supporting roles as they are to simply make cameo appearances, indifferent to Gus’s presence as they carry out the humdrum activities that make up their day-to-day lives. Moon Knight, for example, has to deal with the indignity of a misspelled name on his coffee cup.
The first story features distinctive and expressive art by Robson, whose style shifts well from the mostly conversation-based scenes that make up most of the story to the few interjections of more conventional superhero action (like Nightwing bamf-ing Gus around the office so he can complete his mail route). Robson’s presence also makes me hope that we’ll get to see an appearance by the Great Lakes Avengers before this five-issue run is complete.
Meanwhile, the backup story focuses on the wider Damage Control team, and tends towards more super heroic action – albeit super heroic action presented in the distinctive, cartoon-y style of Fosgitt.
While the first story is clearly meant to serve as a friendly introduction to readers who are new to the title, the backup story is likely to be much more enjoyable if the reader is already familiar with the Damage Control team. Fortunately, you can easily access the earlier issues of Damage Control on Marvel Unlimited, where they remain as clever and funny as they were when they were first published.
As a huge fan of stories that foreground otherwise overlooked perspectives, as well as a fan of Marvel Comics stories that eschew more conventional stakes and narratives, I am predisposed to enjoy Damage Control generally.
Damage Control (2022) #1 makes a good showing as a first outing, especially thanks to the fact that when taken together, the two stories presented in the issue offer two distinct perspectives on DC. And I enjoyed the details that paid homage to the earlier runs of the title, like the continued use of the DC bulldog logo, the reference in dialogue to Planet Hulk, and ensuring the headquarters remained in the Flatiron Building.
Final Verdict: BUY. And seriously, consider reading (or re-reading) those earlier issues on Marvel Unlimited, too!
- Amazing Spider-Man #8
- Writer Zeb Wells and artist John Romita Jr. have been beating the ever-living snot out of our favorite wallcrawler for the past several issues. I feel like I’m along for the ride to see what new hell they plan for Spidey. Ambushed by the Vulture in the last issue, this issue is an action-packed thrill ride as we find Spidey barely surviving this onslaught from above as he seeks help from his former enemy Norman Osborn. On a brighter note, they give Spider-Man a level up with a new costume. Part Spider-Man, part Green Goblin, it’s an interesting twist on his look, not a fan of the green highlights, but it sets the stage for the next arc of this run. — GC3
- Fantastic Four #46
- Dan Slott closes out his time with Marvel’s First Family in a nice, quiet issue, wrapping up most of the loose ends from his run and leaving a few open for future writers. We’re introduced to Reed Richards’ half-sister, Joanna, and while it’s always nice to see the Richards family expand, it feels like Joanna could’ve been fleshed out throughout the run, rather than thrown in at the last second. She’s a genuinely interesting character that I’m worried we’ll never see again because of how late she was added to the story. It’s nice to see the return of Elsewhen and Reed’s other half-siblings here… but none of them have been featured in a story since 1996. Regardless, the story itself is fun, if fairly straightforward. Cafu’s art is gorgeous here (especially with Jesus Aburtov on colors) and while it can feel stilted in a few spots, every character is wonderfully well defined and unique that it’s just a blast to look at. I’m not sure how we’ll look back on this run in a few years, but here’s hoping some of these ideas stick around for the next run! — CB