Thursday, April 25, 2013

Damage Control (Volume 1, 1989) [COMICS]

After a successful debut in Marvel Comics Presents, Damage Control received a limited series each year for three straight years.  You don't often see characters popular enough for consecutive limited series but (presumably) not popular enough for an on-going series, so it's an interesting way of doing things.  I've always been a big fan of the Damage Control concept: they're a major construction/repair/architectural firm responsible for cleaning up and rebuilding all of the damage caused by the inevitable super-hero/super-villain fights in New York.   The series has a very light tone, but not to the point of treating the Marvel Universe badly or "unrealistically."

The 1989 Damage Control limited series takes full advantage of the "guest star bump" received from prominent cover placement of established popular characters:  issue # 1 features Spider-Man, issue # 2 features Dr. Doom, issue # 3 has Iron Man, and issue # 4 has the omnipresent Wolverine.  Unlike most limited series, the four issues don't tell one big story; instead, each is a standalone tale.

Issue # 1 tells the tale of Account Executive John Porter's first day in the office.  Following a new character's first day on the job is a classic way of introducing the reader to the concept of a series, as both the reader and the character are on the same footing.  The crew of Damage Control have to try to extricate a damaged robot (the Tinkerer's "Alternator Bug-Bot") from the World Trade Center after a fight involving Spider-Man.  It's a very funny story and sets the tone for the series well.

Issue # 2 sees an intern and Damage Control's comptroller, Albert Cleary, visiting Doctor Doom after his account goes into arrears.  The concept of debt collectors visiting the monarch of Latveria is hilarious to begin with, and the issue doesn't disappoint; I especially appreciated the intern asking Doom for photo ID before taking a cheque.

Issue # 3 isn't as good as the first couple are, but it has fun with the classic conflicts that can result when a business like Damage Control gets a marketing make-over.  The suits-and-ties are gone, and ill-fitting spandex is in, as the marketers try to make Damage Control into more of a brand.  Suffice it to say, it doesn't go well.

Wolverine gets a pie in the face on the cover of Issue # 4.  That's probably the highlight, as the issue itself is kind of a weird, dumb flashback to Damage Control rebuilding the X-Mansion after Inferno.

Not every issue is a winner, but all in all I remain a Damage Control fan 25 years later . . .

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