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Justice Society of America #6 (2007). Art by Alex Ross.
|First appearance||Damage #1 (April 1994)|
|Created by||Tom Joyner PhD
|Alter ego||Grant Albert Emerson|
|Team affiliations||Teen Titans
Justice Society of America
Black Lantern Corps
|Abilities||Enhanced strength, durability, speed, reflexes, power discharge, and explosions.|
Damage is a DC Comics superhero who first appeared in a comic book of the same name during the Zero Hour crisis. He is the son of the original Atom, Al Pratt. He has been a member of the Titans, the Freedom Fighters, and the Justice Society of America.
Fictional character biography
High school student Grant Emerson had just moved with his parents to a new home in suburban Atlanta. His parents moved often due to their work for the Symbolix Corporation, and Grant usually felt like an outsider among other kids. At his new school, Grant suddenly discovers he is a superhuman with incredible strength and the ability to produce explosive blasts. During the Zero Hour crisis, Grant's powers became the spark that restarted the universe after it was destroyed by Parallax; thanks to Damage's powers, the new universe evolved along natural lines, guided by nature rather than the will of Parallax.
A superhero/supervillain battle, involving Baron Blitzkrieg, Iron Munro, and others, results in extensive damage to downtown Atlanta. Damage is arrested for his part in the extensive damage. Sarge Steel is able to cut a deal for him: he would be banned from Georgia and remanded into custody of the then federally sponsored Titans team, led by Arsenal (formerly Speedy, Green Arrow's sidekick). Around this time Damage deals emotionally with the murder, at the hands of a supervillain, of a schoolmate he cares for. After a while, Damage leaves the Titans to find his origins.
When the original five Titans reformed the group, Arsenal nominates Damage for membership. Arsenal managed to erase Grant's criminal records, so he was no longer a fugitive, and Grant joins the team. Grant participates in multiple adventures, including a confrontation with demons from hell in Day of Judgment #1. Later, Damage confronts something he had buried for a long time: he had been victim of abuse at the hands of his foster father. After opening up to Roy Harper (Arsenal's real name), Grant takes a leave of absence and seeks peace and healing on the Navajo reservation where Roy was raised as a child until he became the ward of Green Arrow.
He learns that Vandal Savage was involved in an experiment at Symbolix called Project: Telemachus, where he took DNA samples he had collected from various superheroes and injected them into a fitting vessel: Grant. The heroes Grant shares DNA with are: Atom (Al Pratt), Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Wildcat (Ted Grant), Hawkman (Carter Hall), Hawkgirl (Shayera Hol), Hourman (Rex Tyler), Black Canary (Dinah Lance), Doctor Mid-Nite (Charles McNider), Starman (Ted Knight), Miss America (Joan Dale), Johnny Quick (Johnny Chambers), Liberty Belle (Libby Lawrence), Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz/John Jones), Flash (Barry Allen), Aquaman, Black Canary (Dinah Laurel Lance), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) and Atom (Ray Palmer). Symbolix was allied with Shadowspire through Shadowspire's leader Baron Blitzkrieg. The Baron became a recurring foe in Damage's series, starting with #3. Grant eventually learns that he is the son of Al Pratt, the original Atom and his wife Mary. Grant is forced to go underground after leaving the Titans, since he violated his parole by doing so.
He helps the current Justice Society of America against Imperiex and the villainous team of Obsidian, Eclipso, and Mordru, both times as part of a modern All-Star Squadron. He has since been seen with a new team of government-sponsored Freedom Fighters, whose activities are yet unknown. He also has something of a brotherly relationship with Atom Smasher, the godson of his father, the original Atom. It was thought that Grant had a brother, Walter, who was recently killed by Walter's superhero daughter, Manhunter, aka Kate Spencer. However, Walter is actually the son of Iron Munro and Phantom Lady — an odd parallel to Damage's paternity search, as at one stage it appeared that Grant might be the couple's child.
Freedom Fighters and Justice Society of America vol. 3
Several members of the modern Freedom Fighters team are killed by the Injustice Society in Infinite Crisis #1. Damage is one of the survivors, though his face is later revealed to have been severely scarred by Zoom.
Damage appears in the relaunched Justice Society of America released in December 2006. He wears a full mask and a costume similar to that of his father and Atom Smasher, featuring a biohazard symbol. He also has a significantly gruffer and more cynical attitude, partly because, as the villain Rebel insinuates, Damage was left badly scarred, but alive, by Zoom. Zoom later encounters the Justice Society, claiming to have maimed, but not killed, the boy intentionally, to give him a defining tragedy, and the fight leads to Georgia. Damage leaps into the state, despite his ban from entering, catches up with Zoom, and holds him hostage. Liberty Belle calms Damage down, but Zoom escapes and hurls debris at his face with the intent to kill him. Liberty Belle speeds in, saves Damage, and knocks out Zoom. When the police are ready to arrest Damage for violating his ban, the Justice Society stands up for him and he is released, but it is not yet known if this action has caused the ban to be dropped. Damage remains on the team, essentially in Atom Smasher's place (Jakeem Thunder's Thunderbolt has even called him "Atom Smasher Two" jokingly).
Damage's face is later healed by the reborn Gog. This is enough to restore his former cheerful and outgoing personality, pushing him to attempt making contact with the new Judomaster. Since neither of them can understand the language spoken by the other (Grant does not know Japanese, while Judomaster cannot speak or understand more than a few words of English), their relationship is difficult, but the ongoing attraction is there (later it is inferred that they are "together" in some romantic way). When the JSA learns that Gog transformed a group of people who would harm others into trees and intends to keep overkill punishing the wicked, they are divided on the subject. Grant and Judomaster, among others, side with Gog, and keep the rest of the JSA from trying to stop him.
Damage is then sent back to America to preach the will of Gog to the masses, showing a fanatical devotion to the Old God and a strong streak of vanity about his improved looks, to the point where he concludes that even Cyclone and Stargirl just want to talk to him because he's handsome. When the concerned Stargirl is sent to speak with him, and asks him to rethink his feelings about Gog, he instead attacks her after she accuses him of hiding behind the new 'mask' of his healed face as opposed to his original scars. Atom Smasher defeats Damage in combat and brings him to Al Pratt's home. Damage was prompted to renounce Gog, and learn by the example of Al Pratt, who, despite suffering borderline dwarfism- a height handicap that was a matter of ridicule in the early days of his membership in the original Justice Society until he received his powers- led a simple lifestyle and had a fulfilling existence. Instead, he renounces Al Pratt, blowing up his home and the records of his adventures and claiming to have always been abandoned by him, while Gog will be always at his side. Called by Magog, he rejoins Gog, but there he's asked to kneel and show him his devotion (and expecting the rest of his followers to do the same). When some question this request, Gog becomes angry, even going as far as to threaten them.
The rest of the JSA arrive, having learned from Sandman that Gog is rooting himself into the Earth, and if he remains for one more day, the Earth will die if he ever leaves; this leaves them with the one option of killing Gog and separating his head from the Earth, which is the only way to save the planet. The other society members following Gog attempt to protect him, until they see him attempt to attack a society member. All of the followers take up the fight, and Gog punishes them all by taking away his blessings as he threatened, including Damage's restored face, leaving him inconsolable. In retaliation, Damage unleashes a full-power blast against Gog, with little effect. Eventually, Gog is destroyed and the split in the Society is healed. After Gog's defeat, Damage, pained over losing his face again, attempts to push away Judomaster, only for her to kiss him, showing him that it does not matter what he looks like; she is attracted to him, not his face.
During the Blackest Night event, the JSA were attacked by their fallen members, now reanimated as Black Lanterns. Damage was saved from Black Lantern Al Pratt by Atom, but was then killed by Black Lantern Jean Loring. His death and the subsequent collection of his heart was the final one needed to bring about the rise of Nekron. Atom then made a futile attempt to stop one of the black rings from turning Damage's corpse into a Black Lantern before Loring uses her own technology to shrink him, Mera, and herself into the fully transformed Damage's ring.
While the other Black Lanterns continue their assault on the JSA headquarters, Damage claims that he has retained his original personality and mind and is not influenced by Nekron and his corps. While he does supposedly sacrifice himself in order to destroy the other Black Lanterns (Mister Terrific says that Damage's explosions do not necessarily harm him and that he was probably still "alive") his sacrifice also allows Lois Lane from Earth-2 to reanimate her deceased husband, with Mister Terrific saying he knew they had found a way to outsmart them, implying Damage was in fact just another ruse of the Black Lanterns.
Following the Blackest Night, a funeral for Damage is held, attended by the JSA and with Judomaster doing the eulogy for Damage. It is then revealed that Damage, having foreseen his death by one of Sand's prophetic dreams, had recorded his last will for Judomaster, wishing her a better life, and revealing he had planned, in the attempt of giving her a happier life, to get cosmetic surgery on his scarred face. Spurred by his will, Sonia Sato decides to fund anonymously several relief funds for the victims of collateral damage caused by Grant's powers, thus giving him closure and a legacy.
Powers and abilities
Damage can generate a power charge that enhances his strength, durability, speed, and reflexes to superhuman levels. If he does not use the energy in the aforementioned manner he is forced to expend it in a discharge, most notably the time he started another Big Bang during Zero Hour (although he only gained the energy necessary to do this thanks to other heroes such as Green Lantern, the Ray and Waverider absorbing and converting Parallax's energy into something that he could then process). The aged Damage in Young Justice: Sins of Youth had the ability to fly. While the current Damage cannot harness this ability yet, he can "leap" by firing his energy at the ground, sometimes traveling great distances, as shown most recently in Justice Society of America #8. At one point in his ongoing series it is implied that he potentially possesses all of the powers of the heroes whose DNA he shares. Towards the end of his ongoing series a middle aged man in unusual clothes is shown several times quietly observing Grant. Although the series was canceled before this plotline could be addressed it is strongly implied that this man was a future version of Grant and he is shown possessing powers, including flight, which the current version of Damage does not.
- Greenberger, Robert (2008), "Damage", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, New York: Dorling Kindersley, p. 94, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5, OCLC 213309017
- Damage 1-2 ((April and May 1994), DC Comics
- Zero Hour: Crisis in Time 0 ((September 1994)), DC Comics
- Titans 1 (March 1999), DC Comics
- Justice Society of America (Vol. 3) #4
- Infinite Crisis #1
- Justice Society of America (Vol. 3) #8
- Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #16
- Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #18
- Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #19
- Justice Society of America: The Kingdom One-Shot (2008)
- Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #21
- Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #22
- Blackest Night #4
- Blackest Night #5
- Blackest Night: JSA #1
- Blackest Night: JSA #2
- JSA All-Stars #7
- Damage at DCU Guide