One day in New York, Damage Control’s Bart Rozum has a casual interview with would-be worker Gus.
Before informing Gus of the current status of Damage Control, Bart impresses him with his closeness to Moon Knight. Well, tries to..
Despite not being particularly excited about working for Damage Control, Gus gets the intern position. Soon he’s in the company’s Flatiron Building base, and, as is traditional in fictional US businesses, given a post in the postroom. His first assignment – delivering an ice cream cake to comptroller Albert Cleary
And from there the day just gets worse for Gus.
I loved this return engagement for Damage Control, a niche hit for Marvel via a run of mini-series for Marvel in the Eighties and Nineties. They’ve cameoed here and there since, and had a World War Hulk spin-off, but it’s years since they’ve have a nice spotlight. And this is a great spotlight.
Writers Adam F Goldberg and Hans Rodionoff employ the foolproof device of a new character to introduce concept and characters, via dialogue and action. And jokes… there are loads of jokes, jokes so good that I might try an episode or two of the writers’ Eighties-set sitcom the Goldbergs (I did look at the first show, years ago, but it has a narrator, something which always makes me cringe).
The cleverly title ‘Into the Mailstrom’ ends with Gus about to join a different Damage Control department and I look forward to seeing how he fouls up next. The only off note in this chapter is the presentation of Albert Cleary, who is a lot less chilled than previously.
Will Robson’s artwork is spot-on for the slightly OTT vibe of the script, being full of movement and character. The storytelling is clear, and I like the updates of the original Damage control cast designs, while new kid Gus oozes unearned cockiness. Colourist Ruth Redmond keeps things as close to naturalistic as is possible in the Marvel Universe, except on my favourite page, when classic X-Man Nightcrawler is called in to lend Gus a hand.
Extending Nightcrawler’s trademark sulphurous cloud of purple to the huge sound effect – perhaps the hand of excellent letterer Clayton Cowles working in the space indicated by Robson – is a sharp decision, it gives the relatively action-packed page its own identity alongside the rest of this office comedy.
There are 30pp of story and art in this issue, allowing for a second tale, one in which a visit to the office by Bart’s lovely little mother leads to all kinds of super shenanigans.
And wait until you see who Mom winds up fighting. ‘Zapped and the Mother of Invention’ is a delightful short featuring wonderfully animated art by Jay Fosgitt and a breezily amusing script by Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie, wife of the late Dwayne McDuffie, who co-created Damage Control with the also gone-too-soon Ernie Colon.
Original Damage Control characters Annie the receptionist, Lenny the gaffer, John the account executive, Robin the traffic controller and Anne Marie the boss all show up here, looking great. And Albert is back and much more himself.
I love the vibe of this short… if DC Comics ever want to bring back ‘Mazing Man from limbo they could do a lot worse than give McDuffie and Fosgitt, along with the returning Redmond and Cowles, a crack.
The cover by Carlos Pacheco, Rafael Fonteriz and Rachelle Rosenberg brings a more mainstream art style to the table, and it’s pretty darn good, though I’d rather the interior artists were represented. Still, Will Robson does get to supply a variant, partnered with Carlos Lopez.
Is that not perfect? Robson adds an ‘after Walter Simonson’ – anyone recognise the composition?
I’m so glad the original Damage Control logo has been kept, thank you production guru Nick Russell.
I don’t know how many issues this Damage Control mini is to run – Marvel like to pretend everything is ongoing these days – but I’m with it for the duration. It hits a sweet spot missing from the mainstream Marvel Universe, and I love it.