Connect with us
Damage Control: New Employee Handbook
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Damage Control: New Employee Handbook’ is a sitcom without the com

All of the ingredients are there to make a good comic…they just don’t do it.

“Superhero fatigue” is a phrase that’s now in the lexicon, and I feel it plenty. I don’t care about the new Shazam movie, I actively avoided Ant-Man because it looked awful, and I hope to skip at least a year of the Marvel Disney+ shows to save myself some boredom. Maybe I’m just aging out of it, or maybe superhero stuff is just missing some essential elements that I enjoyed. Unfortunately, Damage Control doesn’t break the streak. 

On its surface, Damage Control is something that I’d love. It’s very much set up to be a sort of sitcom comic, which tends to be something I love, at least when it’s pulled off well. Fraction/Lieber/Fairbairn/Cowles’ Jimmy Olsen is a book that excelled in that vein, and maybe this could have been Marvel’s response to that if it was any good. 

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!
Damage Control
So true.
Marvel Comics

Primarily, this was such a disappointment because it’s just not very funny. There are jokes, or at least sentences and panels that have the candor of jokes. Some of them are, most of them are not. Sometimes the timing’s just off, most of the time it just feels like this was written for people who’ve never watched a good sitcom. 

A big part of the frustration is that Damage Control is just such an obvious setup for a workplace sitcom, and I know they’ve pulled it off in the past. The book already has a cast, and has a core concept that makes for fun single issues that you can leverage into fun arcs—just like a sitcom would. All of the ingredients are there to make a good comic…they just don’t do it. 

Where a good sitcom typically utilizes its cast in interesting ways to create drama and hilarity out of those interactions, this volume of Damage Control opts to not do that at all. Instead, it follows one Urkel-esque new employee who has to stay employed for a secret (disappointing) reason. The thing is, Urkel is just not that interesting to follow all the time, and certainly works better when you can play him against someone else. If anything, Urkel just gets more and more irritating on his own! I feel like everyone knows this. To that point, I think the book worked best when he was opposite some other weirdo, however, that just didn’t happen enough. 

Damage Control

Art-wise, I think it’s good, as a whole. It’s frustrating that Marvel couldn’t get—or give enough time to —one artist to do five issues, but Robson and Stockman do a fine job. Robson was especially really good at selling the cartoonishness of the thing, and made the characters suitably ridiculous for the situations they were inhabiting. Of the jokes that did land, I’d say they were all almost entirely due to the artists’ understanding of timing and visual storytelling. 

Damage Control could have been the kind of book that reminded me of what superhero comics can be. The idea of superhero as a sole genre has been well and truly pushed to its upper limits in the last few years, and we need more projects to add other tastes to the mix in order to keep things interesting. This volume could have been that. The core concept is one that’s easy to adapt and do new things with; hell, I can think of at least 2-3 pitches that probably would have worked better. Instead, we have this, a frankly incompetent attempt at making a comic that already feels decades out of date. 

Damage Control: New Employee Handbook
‘Damage Control: New Employee Handbook’ is a sitcom without the com
Damage Control
This could have been a good comic, probably maybe. Instead it’s one I’ll just forget about.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Art’s good
Waste of the good Damage Control concept
Just generally not funny
4
Meh
Buy Now

Join the AIPT Patreon

Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:

  • ❌ Remove all ads on the website
  • 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
  • 📗 Access to our monthly book club
  • 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
  • 💥 And more!
Sign up today
Comments

In Case You Missed It

Full September 2024 DC Comics solicitations: Absolute Power and Elseworlds continue Full September 2024 DC Comics solicitations: Absolute Power and Elseworlds continue

Full September 2024 DC Comics solicitations: Absolute Power and Elseworlds continue

Comic Books

Exclusive: Zac Thompson and Jok announce 'The Body Trade' from Mad Cave Studios Exclusive: Zac Thompson and Jok announce 'The Body Trade' from Mad Cave Studios

Exclusive: Zac Thompson and Jok announce ‘The Body Trade’ from Mad Cave Studios

Comic Books

'Ultimate Spider-Man' #6 preview lets the secret identity out of the bag 'Ultimate Spider-Man' #6 preview lets the secret identity out of the bag

‘Ultimate Spider-Man’ #6 preview lets the secret identity out of the bag

Comic Books

AIPT - Summer Game Fest 2024 AIPT - Summer Game Fest 2024

AIPT’s favorite games from Summer Game Fest 2024

Gaming

Connect
Newsletter Signup