Thursday, January 18, 2007

Damage: How to Destroy Teen Hero Conventions

Seeing as Damage is being reinvented in Justice Society of America, I thought I would take the time to show all of you how it all began. That, and when I was looking through the only longbox not in storage that was over a year old, Damage #1 was pretty much the only thing I could think of writing about. But it was good, so this will be one of those rare Positive Jon Hex Posts.
You should feel special.


Our story starts with a full page pinup of a rather buff Damage, hand energized and mean face engaged, with captions alluding to the fact that Grant Emerson's life somehow went off the rails.

Grant Emerson is a new kid at Nathan B. Forrest High School in Marietta, Georgia and takes us through all the teen movie basics: bully jealous of new kid's team position/female attention, blonde hot girl who may want to date, and the lowly nerd who befriends the new guy on the first day. The amazing thing is the setup only takes four pages to come to a head, with the bully confronting Grant in the parking lot before taking off in his extremely gay convertible Golf.

Of course, this is a superhero origin story so we get Grant's first demonstration of power, which, considering he absorbs kinetic energy and was barely touched, is quite impressive. Grant is surprised to say the least, and runs home to his parents to tell them what's what. But his tantrum at home only produces a hurt hand when he punches a wall. His parents are confused, seemingly, and Grant goes to his room to cool down. Meanwhile, his father gets on the phone to give a code and tell whomever's on the line that 'Subject Telemachus' has been activiated.

Which leads to gorilla Metallo busting up third period American History, which is pretty cool when it's not happening to you. While this seems to be the average 'rise to the occasion' super moment, most soon to be heroes aren't attacked by Superman villains calling you out by name. Snagging his target, Metallo beats Grant around like he forgot to arrange the bath towels and Grant finds out that he is (1) not dead and (2) developing "That Glow," which probably has nothing to do with The Last Dragon, but there are no coincidences.

Amazed to be trading blows with that guy from the front page on The Daily Planet, but realizing he needs to do something to bring Metallo down, Grant decides to focus everything he has into one punch. And, well, he takes out Metallo

And his school

And everyone sees him do it

No secret identity, no best friend in on the secret, no sneaking out to play superhero and yeah, he's pretty much a wanted man for destroying his school. What's worse is when he gets home and realizes everything is f#cked.
It was cool how quick the story turned over, from this cliched high school set up to everything being turned upside down. Grant gets everything pulled from under him (school, friends, family, home) and we get a truly original intro for a new hero. How it turned to shit from there, I don't know. I oly have a few issues of the series. But it started off with a bang.
And yes, that was a terrible pun.


Spencer Carnage said...

Did you just say that a 90s image rip off comic from DC was cool? I don't know how this is going to end, but I pray to god that it doesn't involve Force Works.

Jon Hex said...

Hey, Force Works sucks ass in name and delivery. Damage's first issue was great, and I can't comment on any issue thereafter.