In this day and age of comic books, it's rare that new characters have a lasting impact. More often than not, the long-running characters prove to be the fan-favorites that they are, and with good reason. But every now and then, there are a few characters that manage to pierce through the wall of the well-known and established to leave a lasting mark. Such appears to be the case with DC's newest character Damage, who made his comic book debut very recently in the pages of Dark Days: The Casting #1, one of two prequel issues to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's sprawling multiversal event, Dark Nights: Metal.
Damage was introduced as part of "The New Age of DC Heroes," a line of titles introducing new characters to the DC Universe. These new titles, which include Damage, The Silencer, The Terrifics and others are noteworthy because they showcase the talents of the illustrators first, as opposed to the more usual author-driven endeavors. Damage spearheaded the launch, and the character arrived with a literal bang, smashing everything in his path. As far as most readers are concerned, this new character is DC's answer to Marvel's Incredible Hulk, but what sets him apart? Here, CBR lists 15 things every fan needs to know about DC's newest powerhouse.
15 HE IS A MILITARY EXPERIMENT
Damage isn't like most DC heroes. While most of the characters are gods or aliens, Damage is man-made. He was created by the military, who sought to develop a new weapon to give them an edge in a world of powerhouses. Unlike Marvel's Hulk, who was created after an accident involving gamma radiation, Ethan Avery subjected himself willingly to the Damage Project.
While Ethan didn't know that he would be turned into a living weapon, he still signed up for an experimental procedure. The result was Damage, a terrifying creature of total destruction who can punch a crater into the ground with absolute ease. Once Ethan transforms, he turns into a raging grey beast that has a mind to wipe out everything that stands in its path.
14 HE CAN WIPE OUT AN ENTIRE NATION (IN UNDER 10 MINUTES)
Over the course of its first issues, the Damage comic book series has gone to great lengths to show us how powerful DC's newest character actually is. In a flashback sequence, we learned that, during an operation called Blue Mongoose, Ethan's destructive alter ego Damage was sent into the Baltic Region to fight against the Vltatvian fascist militia, whose army included many soldiers, tanks and other vehicles.
And yet, in just a little over eight minutes, Damage was able to overthrow the entire militaristic group. Damage left nothing standing. He took a tank's round right in the chest, and it didn't even slow him down. This means that infantry soldiers didn't stand a chance against this creature, who in a single page was instantly proven to be a dangerous and powerful addition to the DC roster.
13 HE CAN ONLY TRANSFORM FOR ONE HOUR EACH DAY
When Bruce Banner transforms into the Incredible Hulk, there is no limit to how long he can stay in his green form. Once the Hulk takes over, he will remain that way for an indefinite period of time. In fact, as viewers saw in Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok film, that time could stretch to over years. However, when it comes to Damage, the situation is much different.
In fact, Ethan Avery can only transform into Damage for one hour, every day. Once he is turned into Damage, readers are shown a chronometer indicating how much time Ethan has left in his super-powered state. Furthermore, this transformation cannot be broken down into three separate 20-minute bouts. The transformation lasts for one whole hour, uninterrupted. At least, as far as we know... Interestingly, this is very much like Marvel's new(ish) Red Hulk, who was also held back by an hour time limit.
12 HE IS STRONGER THAN SUPERMAN
When Damage was unleashed upon a city, no one could contain him; that is, until Wonder Woman arrived on the scene, in order to put a stop to his rampage. However, the Amazon Princess was in for a rude awakening. While she gave everything she had into this fight, the truth of the matter is that Damage simply wasn't the type of adversary she had expected.
Their devastating fight was hard-hitting, and it lasted almost an entire hour – Damage only left because his time was up for the day. Later, when Wonder Woman reported back to Superman and Batman of this new adversary, she told them that she had never seen such power before... not even in Superman. This would mean that there are only very few people stronger than Damage in the entire DC Universe.
11 HE CAN BREAK FREE OF WONDER WOMAN'S LASSO
When Wonder Woman arrived to fight Damage, she didn't pull any punches. Their fight took them from one corner of the city to another, as the two powerhouses punched each other through buildings in a battle of superpowered heavyweights. As the length of the fight increased, it was clear that Wonder Woman was allowing herself to hit at full strength, and still all of that wasn't enough.
In order to try a more effective approach, the Amazon Princess instead chose to imprison the grey monster in her magical golden lasso, a mythical object that cannot be broken. And, for a while, Damage succumbed to its effects. But his strength was so enormous that he managed to break free of the lasso's hold, something that is no small feat. Even Wonder Woman stood perplexed, wondering how Damage was able to break free.
10 HE CAN TALK TO HIS OTHER SELF
One of the defining traits of Bruce Banner is that, once he turns into the Incredible Hulk, he is no longer in control (at least most of the time). However, the situation is different for Ethan Avery and Damage. In fact, in a few instances, it's been shown that one can talk to the other, to the point that Damage can be seen as a second persona.
When he is in his Damage form, we can see that Ethan is able to talk to Damage, to offer advice that the grey creature may or may not follow. And the same is just as true for Damage, who can talk to Ethan when he is in his human form. They may not yet be on the same page in terms of what they can do, but once the two start to work together in unison, then Damage just might become even more powerful.
9 HE CAN TAKE OUT THE SUICIDE SQUAD (IN 3 MINUTES)
When Damage tried to break free of his restraints, he found himself on the loose in an unassuming city. In order to deal with him, Amanda Waller dispatched a new version of her Task Force X, the Suicide Squad XI, comprised of members like Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Giganta, Parasite and Solomon Grundy. This is a team that should be able to take out most targets they come across.
But this Suicide Squad had no idea what they were in for when they attacked Damage. In under 3 minutes, the entire team was down for the count. He smashed his way through Giganta's hand, he swiftly dealt with Solomon Grundy and Parasite, and there wasn't anything that Harley Quinn or Deadshoot could do that would leave a dent in the dangerous weapon.
8 A POWER UNLOCKED WITH NTH METAL
Although Damage was introduced to the DC Universe as part of the “New Age of DC Heroes,” something that was spinning out of the Dark Nights: Metal event, the character himself never actually made an appearance. The only time we ever saw him was in a brief sequence in a the prequel issue Dark Days: The Casting, and even then it was a cameo appearance at best.
But the information we got out of this appearance and the very subject behind Dark Nights: Metal is what ties the character to the story. Metal was a story that involved the cosmic alloy known as Nth metal, or ninth metal, and it just so happens that Damage was created thanks to this very substance. Apparently, some people with special cosmic metals in their blood were tracked, and with Nth metal, activated.
7 HE IS USED AS A WEAPON (AND IT'S A KEPT SECRET FROM HIM)
Although Damage is used as a weapon in the most secret of US military operations, the man inside, Ethan Avery, is kept in the dark about the exact nature of his missions. In fact, the behemoth has been sent on many strikes all over the world, where the creature was let loose upon nations and armies that he proceeded to rip to shreds, leaving only piles of rubble and bodies in his wake.
The devastation was so severe that Ethan's handler Colonel Jonas even opted to keep that information from Ethan, so he wouldn't find out about all of the death and destruction he caused. However, when Wonder Woman would use her Lasso of Truth against Damage, both Ethan and his monstrous alter ego would see the truth and recall all that had been kept from them – all the damage they had caused.
6 THE MAN INSIDE WANTS TO BE A HERO
Damage may be used as a weapon, a tool of ultimate destruction whose purpose is to destroy whatever his military handlers point him at, but the man inside, Ethan Avery, only ever wanted to be a hero. He joined the military so that he could help people, not level entire cities. When he sees all the destruction he has caused in the name of his handlers, Ethan is quick to leave them behind.
Even when Damage is busy fighting Wonder Woman, Ethan is inside, telling his alter ego not to fight her, that they are on the same side. While this fight leads to Damage getting the full attention of the Justice League, it could also lead to Ethan proving himself not as a weapon but as a real hero – one who could even end up joining the roster of the super-team when all is said and done.
5 HE IS A PAWN BETWEEN WALLER AND COLONEL JONAS
Ethan Avery might have been created to become the military's big secret weapon, but it wasn't long before Damage punched his way out of his handler Colonel Jonas' restraints. Soon, Amanda Waller was brought into the fold to dispatch her Suicide Squad XI to contain Damage, but the monster easily defeated the team without even breaking a sweat. This would, in turn, not make Amanda Waller look her best in the eyes of her superiors.
Later, we soon came to realize that there is definitely some rivalry between Waller and Jonas, and the two characters are in the middle of some sort of tug-of-war for power. What's worse for Ethan is that he is right in-between them, used as a pawn in their dispute. Both want to use Damage to make the other look like a fool. But Ethan might have something to say about all of that.
4 HE IS ON THE RUN FROM THE US ARMY
There are many elements that make Damage and the Hulk similar characters. Both have a human alter ego that wishes to do good. Both turn into a dangerous monster that is incredibly powerful. And, as it turns out, both are on the run from the army. Before joining the Avengers, Hulk was on the run from the army, who sought to use him as a weapon, and the same can be said for Damage.
Damage was created by the army, and they use him as a dangerous weapon that can overthrow entire regimes. Now that Ehtan has escaped from their grasp, they are running after their property, desperate to get back what belongs to them. Damage is far too useful and valuable to the army, and they will stop at nothing to get him back – even if that involves hiring mercenary monster hunters.
3 HE CAN OVERWHELM PARASITE
There are currently no limits to Damage's power — that we know of. He was able to defeat the Suicide Squad in minutes. He was able to hold his own against Wonder Woman for an hour. And it was confirmed that he is stronger than Superman. In fact, the power inside of him is so great that he was even able to defeat the power-hungry Parasite without lifting a single finger.
Parasite attacked Ethan Avery alongside the rest of the Suicide Squad, but he was taken out before the fight would ever begin. He tried to absorb all of Ethan's power in order to subdue him, but there was so much strength to absorb that it was too much for Parasite to contain. The villain has used this attack on Superman to devastating effect, but now Damage has once again proven himself stronger than the Kryptonian.
2 HE IS VULNERABLE TO THE AVATAR OF THE RED
Parasite, Deadshot, Giganta, the army, Solomon Grundy, Wonder Woman -- so far, none of these characters have been able to even slow Damage down. But there is one character who managed to actually hurt the grey behemoth: Akando. Akando is a new character that appeared alongside the Suicide Squad XI, and it appears he is powered by the Avatar of the Red.
In DC Comics, the Red is a mystical force that connects all animal life. With his claws, Akando was able to scratch the hide of Damage, but he was soon after taken out by the monster's raw strength. However, Amanda Waller now knows Damage's weakness. Now, she knows that the Red can hurt Damage, and she is determined to make a new weapon to put him down.
1 HE CAN CONTROL HIS TRANSFORMATION
Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk thanks to the rage inside of him. When he loses control, the Hulk takes over. However, things are different for Damage. Since he can only transform one hour each day, the activation of his powers must be much more controllable. To that end, Ethan has no anger control issues. He doesn't have to be careful, or keep his emotions in check.
We're not sure how exactly Ethan can activate his powers, but we have seen him transform when he comes under attack, knowing full well what would happen. As the comic series progresses, we are certain that Ethan will learn more about his powers and how he can control his transformation even more. When that happens, though, will he truly become an unstoppable force in the DC Universe? He might! Well, for an hour at least.