This week DC’s “Age of Heroes” kicks off with Damage, and we find out what happens to a washed up superhero in The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson!
Damage #1 (DC Comics)
While Metal is still going strong for DC comics, the event is going to come to an end pretty soon, so the publisher is starting up the “New Age of Heroes”. Designed to introduce new and returning characters to the post-Metal DC landscape, the line has some of DC’s best writers and artist working together to create new characters for the DC universe. First up is Robert Venditti and Tony S. Daniel’s Damage, a book that is a pretty strong debut that unfortunately could’ve used a little more fleshing out.
Ethan Avery is the test subject for the Damage Program, which turns him into a giant, hulk-like creature for one hour every day. When he escapes from the army while on a routine mission, every trick in the book is brought out to bring him in. Giant tanks, mech suits, you name it. But Damage is able to get past all of it, leaving the last ditch effort that no one wanted to be brought in: the Suicide Squad.
Damage’s first issue is pretty light on plot, which is fine, but for an opening issue I was hoping for a little more meat on the bones than what Robert Venditti gives us. The writer has improved greatly in his time at DC comics, but Damage is all action, and it’s a detriment to the book so far. The only things we know about Ethan Avery is that he turns into this giant monster for one hour a day, and he’s on the run from the Army. That’s it. There’s no information on his history with the Army, why he was picked for this experiment, or the extent of his powers. Sure, many of these questions will be answered in future issues, but as it stands right now, he’s pretty much just a rip off of the Hulk.
One plus to Damage #1 being so action heavy is that we do get to have Tony S Daniel draw that action. One of the best (and underrated) artists in DC’s stable, Daniel’s over the top, bombastic style is in great form here, delivering some absolutely jaw-dropping battle sequences and great character design as well. If you’re looking to pick up Damage for the art, then you won’t be disappointed.
While Damage #1 didn’t exactly blow me away, I’m still intrigued to see what DC has planned for the rest of the “New Age of Heroes” line. It says a lot that I’m more willing to give DC’s new books a try than Marvel’s, but that just speaks to the strengths of the publisher. Even a book like Damage, which didn’t really move the needle for me, still hasn’t hampered my interest in the other titles in this new line. Hell, I’ll probably even try out the second issue just to see if Avery’s background is filled out any more than it is here. At the very least, DC is using their new found goodwill from Rebirth to try out new things.
Further Adventures of Nick Wilson #1 (of 5) (Image Comics)
What happens to a superhero after their powers have left them? That’s the premise behind The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson, a new Image series from Eddie Gorodetsky, Marc Andreyko, and Steve Sadowski. Barely scraping by as a kid’s birthday entertainer, Nick Wilson has seen the best days of his life go by. While that sucks for him, it’s made for a really great comic debut for us readers.
With no job prospects aside from being a Birthday entertainer, former superhero Nick Wilson is at his lowest. But amazingly, Eddie Gorodetsky and Marc Andreyko’s script doesn’t make Nick Wilson into a sad sack or a jerk. Instead he comes off like a loveable stoner who’s just trying to move on with his life, even though he’s the butt of every joke in the world. As the world’s first (and only) superhero, Wilson was on top of the world, but after losing his powers he’s become a nobody. The news brings him up whenever he commits something as small as a traffic violation, and even meeting up with his old high school girlfriend has the potential to turn into an ordeal. Gorodetsky and Andreyko’s script not only pokes a little fun at Wilson and his friends, it also makes you feel a little bad for him as well. The only thing he knows about the loss of his powers was that it happened while he was flying across the country. As a regular guy, he has no other leads or explanation, and while he doesn’t seem too desperate to get his powers back, you can tell that he wouldn’t mind getting another shot at being a hero, either.
The art for Nick Wilson is handled by Steve Sadowski, and I gotta say, it’s pretty killer. While Nick Wilson is a quieter book than most superhero tales, Sadowski is still able to impress with his amazing facial work. Every one of the characters in this series behaves like an actual human being, and even though they don’t look exactly photorealistic, Sadowski’s art gives them a lifelike fluidity that practically jumps off the page.
I wasn’t expecting much from The Further Adventures of Nick Wilson, but I’m really glad I checked it out. This is already one of the biggest surprises of the year, and I can’t wait to see what else unfolds in this series. While I do hope Nick Wilson gets his powers back, I’m hoping it doesn’t happen too soon, as it may ruin the charm of the series. What would be good for Nick would end up hurting the book.