Characters Appearing: Albert Cleary, Bart Rozum, Eugene Strausser, John Porter, Lenny Ballinger, Robin Chapel
Damage Control #4
Issue(s): Damage Control #4
This is actually more of an epilogue to Inferno anyway, but it probably shouldn't take place too long after the end of the proper Inferno books. The story is that Damage Control is contracted to help investigate reports of construction sites and lumber yards getting raided for material, and eventually they discover that it's due to the self-repair capabilities of the X-Men's mansion (specifically the Danger Room).
And when the Damage Control guys get to the mansion, they realize that they've been affected by memory implants.
It turns out that Damage Control was once hired by Professor X to do some repair work at the mansion.
They were explicitly told to stay away from the Danger Room, but techie Gene Strausser went in and messed with its computer.
And then zany stuff happened.
And after all that, the mind wipe.
They shut off the power in the building to prevent the self-repair program from continuing, and go home without telling anyone else what was behind the thefts. Because, despite the shabby mind-wipe treatment, they are heroes that (supposedly!) died helping humanity, and "the customer is always right".
The idea that Professor Xavier's propensity for mind-wipes might cause people long term problems is a great target for satire and could have been hilarious. But i think the issue mostly misses its mark in that regard. The point really seems to have been to provide a flashback so that Damage Control could interact with the X-Men, since they're currently thought to be dead.
I like Damage Control, but i feel like the series never really meets its potential in terms of humor. One perspective comes from a letter in this issue:
...it seems that writer McDuffie forgot one of the most basic rules of absurdist comedy. Never, but never, let the absurdity take over completely.
I'm not sure if i agree that that's the problem, exactly. The idea that Damage Control can repair the damage from super-fights is the point of the joke, a riff on the immediate reversion to ordinary status quo that happens in ongoing universe comics. The problem, i think, is when McDuffie didn't stick to lampooning super-heroes comics conventions. Other examples where i think the series worked include the guy who "had an origin" in issue #1, the techie using Stilt-Man legs, and trying to bill Dr. Doom (maybe less so that last one). Where i think the series failed was when it tried to be zany beyond that core concept, like last issue where the company's out of control marketing department forced everyone to wear super-hero costumes as a gimmick, or the majority of the jokes in this issue, which are just about wacky things happening instead of any direct satirical commentary. Ernie Colon's art also goes for a comedic tone that reinforces the overall zaniness; a more straightforward tone might have actually helped make the humor stand out. It's still fun and it's nice to have a book like this pop up every so often as i'm going through my project, but i feel like it could have been a lot better.
Overall i think it worked more than it didn't and i'm glad it existed. Another limited series is announced for later this year.
P.S., there's a special note to a Vincent Powers in the lettercol awarding him a No Prize for being the only person to identify a "boo-boo" in issue #1, but they don't tell us what it was. Just putting that out there in case someone knows what it was.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: There's a lot of activity in the rubble of the X-Mansion at the end of Inferno, and this should take place after everyone else clears out, after Uncanny X-Men #243, X-Factor #39, New Mutants #74, Excalibur #8, and New Mutants #75. Since the Danger Room is acting of its own accord, i considered tagging Danger as a character appearing, but decided not to.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
I know that you don't track flashbacks fnord but there was a great debate at the MCP about when the flashback in this issue takes place. The problem is that Doug seems to know about the X-Men and Storm seems to have her powers but Kitty is present. Doug didn't learn about the X-Men until New Mutants 21, and by that time Kitty had left for the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine series. By the time she got back, Storm had lost her powers.
Posted by: Michael | September 9, 2014 10:45 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|