BACK IN BUSINESS: McDuffie talks "WWH Aftersmash: Damage Control

"World War Hulk" is over and now the citizens of the Marvel Universe are wondering who's going to take care of the mess the combatants made of Manhattan. Fortunately for them, there's Damage Control, a company that's used to picking up after superheroes. On January 23, readers will see Damage Control in action in "WWH Aftersmash: Damage Control" begins, a three issue miniseries by writer Dwayne McDuffie and artist Salvador Espin. CBR News spoke with McDuffie about the miniseries.

When McDuffie received an email offering him the chance to write "Damage Control" again, a concept and series he co-created with artist Ernie Colon almost 20 years ago, the writer jumped at the opportunity. "I was really pleased when I got that email," Dayne McDuffie told CBR News. "I never expected I'd get the chance to write 'Damage Control' again and it's been a lot of fun."

One of Damage Control's last major appearances was during writer Marc Guggenheim's "Vendetta" arc in "Wolverine." In the story, Wolverine uncovered a trail of corruption and death that lead to Damage Control CEO Walter Declun, who Wolverine "fired" at the end of the story. When McDuffie's new "Damage Control" #1 begins, the problems caused by Declun are being quickly sorted out.  "Ann-Marie Hoag takes back control of the company," McDuffie explained. "But the big question is whether or not Robin Chapel will come back because she kind of got screwed in the last reorganization of the company."

Hoag and Chapel are just two members of the large "Damage Control" cast. "I went back and found out what happened to the characters I created who haven't been seen in quite some time," McDuffie said. "I also picked up on a couple of the recent major additions to the Damage Control cast. You'll see Monstro, Visioneer and a couple of other surprises."

Tom Foster AKA Goliath is another new addition to the Damage Control roster, and will play a big part [pun intended] in McDuffie's story. "Tom Foster is kind of a weird guy, so he fits right in!" McDuffie remarked. "He's angry but he's also horrified by what happened to the city.  Tom is not actually an employee of Damage Control but he's volunteered to work with them on the rescue effort that immediately follows the disaster."

"Damage Control" #1 begins the morning before New York City reopens to the public and unfolds over the course of several weeks, with the action of the series taking place both in the boardroom and on the ruined streets of Manhattan. "It actually starts with Damage Control trying to get the contract to rebuild Manhattan which is up in the air," McDuffie said. "You'll see Tony Stark and S.H.I.E.L.D. You'll also see the Thunderbolts who are a little irritated that Damage Control is letting unregistered heroes help them in the rebuilding effort."

Falling buildings, corporate battles, and political threats aren't the only obstacles the Damage Control crew encounters as they attempt to rebuild Manhattan. They'll also have to deal with the unique threat poised by a famous New York landmark. "The Chrysler Building has decided that it's kind of tired of the rat race," McDuffie explained. "Situations like 'World War Hulk' and just standing there for years have gotten to it and it's thinking of leaving.

"You'll find out how the Chrysler Building became sentient pretty quickly in the series," McDuffie assured. "And its goals are pretty straight forward. It's reevaluating its life and its purpose. It's thinking about taking some classes or going to see Europe or something."

Humor was always a big part of the two previous Damage Control titles and readers can expect plenty of laughs in "WWH Aftersmash: Damage Control" as well. "Damage Control was always funny but it was always straight," McDuffie said. "We never undercut the characters or had people do things out of character. It's just the situation of superheroes running around in the modern world can get fairly absurd sometimes. So the tone hasn't changed much at all."

Drawing a book with such a unique tone like "Damage Control" can be a challenge, but McDuffie is more than pleased with the work done by his collaborator Salvador Espin. "He's amazing," McDuffie said. "I had never seen his work before but here he's captured a lot of what was so wonderful about Ernie Colon's work. He's a great story teller and his art is very attractive."

McDuffie hopes fans enjoy the "WWH Aftersmash: Damage Control," miniseries because he'd love to keep chronicling the adventures of the men and women who clean up the Marvel U. "There's 20 years of character dynamics that I haven't even touched on because many of these characters didn't even exist last time I did 'Damage Control,'" he said. "So it never ends. As long as people keep wrecking stuff in the Marvel Universe there will always be something for Damage Control to do."

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