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Damage

Alias: Grant Emerson

Titans Member
Joined: 
New Titans #0 & 115 [1994]

Related Links:  Vandal Savage

Damage Quick Bio: The biological son of the original Atom, Grant Emerson was imbued with the DNA of various Golden Age heroes by Vandal Savage. As a teen, Grant’s massive energy bursts quickly earned him the name, Damage. After his face was horribly scarred in battle, the troubled teen hero developed a more explosive personality.

Teen Titans File Photo:

Archived File Photos (in chronological order):


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History


Damage Is Done

Although Damage burst on the scene a few short years ago, his origin dates back to World War II.

A brilliant German scientist, Klaus Schimmel, was brought to the United States shortly after World War II to continue his genetic research. Shimmel saw that his knowledge of metagenics made him a valuable commodity, so he was able to escape collapsing Germany and was given a new identity as Egrin Wahrman in the States.

Wahrman’s lack of results almost led to a complete loss of funding, until a mysterious benefactor came forward and backed Egrin as he founded a biogenetic research company known as Symbolix. It was soon revealed that Wahrman’s benefactor was none other than the immortal Vandal Savage, who has spent millennia acquiring wealth and power by whatever means necessary.

Savage provided Wahrman with cellular samples of the Golden Age’s greatest heroes to continue his biogenetic experiments. After many years, Wahrman finally crafted a self-replicating strand of DNA containing all the super-human potential of the collected heroes. As the research bore fruit, a test was conducted on an embryo carried by Mary Pratt, wife of the Golden Age Atom. Mary’s child was the perfect vessel because of his natural meta-genetic potential. Upon the child’s birth, Savage had Mary Pratt killed.

The newborn boy, named Grant, was placed with a trustworthy Symbolic employee named Henry Emerson and his wife, Katherine. The couple raised Grant as their own, although their ultimate allegiance was to Symbolix. Savage later acquired genetic material from the Justice League of America and secretly gave seven-year old Grant a DNA transfusion. Grant’s metagenetic potential remained latent until his teen years. As that point, Grant’s life took a dramatic turn.

Damage makes an explosive debut in DAMAGE #1 [1994].

Exploding On The Scene

Henry Emerson’s job with Symbolix forced the family to move quite often, causing Grant to be shuffled from school to school. Upon relocating to Marietta, Georgia, Grant was hoping to make a name for himself at his new high school. Grant’s incredible explosive powers were activated when the school was attacked by the malovent Metallo. And although Grant was successful in driving Metallo away, he also blew up the high school in the process. Grant did indeed make a name for himself that day… and the name was Damage!

Once Damage’s powers sparked, John and Kate Emerson alerted Symbolix, who came to collect their experiment by sending various meta-humans to track and capture Grant. Meanwhile, Grant was shocked to learn that his parents weren’t his parents at all – merely stooges for Symbolix that didn’t hesitate to betray him. No longer of any use, Grant’s adoptive parents were killed by Dathan Wahrman, Egrin’s son and the acting head of Symbolix.

The now-homeless Damage frantically searched for answers concerning his past and his true parentage. At the same time, Symbolix continued to hunt him while Georgia authorities became increasingly alarmed by his destructive presence. Damage felt utterly alone, but he did manage to find a few new helpful friends –  including his sweet classmate Mandra Darrow and the beautiful, super-powered Wyleheart. The teen timebomb also discovered a new ally and mentor in the mysterious Golden Age Hero, Iron Monroe.

ABOVE: Damage makes an impact in ZERO HOUR #0 [1994].
BELOW: Damage is placed in federal custody with the Titans, as seen in NEW TITANS #0 [1994]. 

Damage was soon swept up in the events surrounding the Zero Hour time crisis, forcing the novice hero into action. Threatening to engulf the entirety of creation with the collapsing timestream, Parallax wiped out potential timelines and drew scores of heroes from various possible eras into battle at the most literal Ground Zero, the beginning of time. There, as Parallax fell before the heroes’ assault, Damage exploded with unspeakable power, initiating a new “Big Bang” and restarting time.

But upon returning from this adventure, Damage found himself in trouble once more. Grant exploded with rage during a battle with Baron Blitzkrieg, accidentally blowing up half of Atlanta in the process. Grant was arrested and stood trial but ultimately brokered a deal through the intervention of Sarge Steel. Due to Steel’s government clout, Damage would be banned from the state of Georgia and remanded into custody of the then-federally sponsored New Titans.

As a member of the team, Grant often clashed with Titans’ leader, Arsenal. But Damage did bond with some of the younger members of the group, particularly Impulse and Terra. After assisting the Titans on several cases, Damage had a huge blow-up with Arsenal, leaving the group to search for the truth behind his mysterious origins.

ABOVE: Damage clashes with his Titans teammates in DAMAGE #13 [1995].
BELOW: Damage quits in NEW TITANS #127 [1995] .

Beginnings And Endings

In his quest for the truth, Damage investigated various false leads. First, he and Wyldeheart thought they both originated from New Genesis, home of the New Gods. Next, he believed his uncle – the evil Dr. Polaris – might be his father. When that was disproven, Damage surmised that he was the lost son of Iron Monroe and Phantom Lady. But this theory also proved untrue.

All of Damage’s leads did trace back to one source: Symbolix. And the mysterious corporation took action to protect their secrets by dispatching the protoplasmic psychopath known as Splatter. Tragically, Splatter murdered the innocent Mandra Darrow while her sister Megan and Damage watched in horror.

ABOVE: Splatter murders Mandra in DAMAGE #10 [1995].
BELOW: Vandal Savage reveals Damage’s true origin in DAMAGE #12 [1995].

Damage’s odyssey finally came to an end when he uncovered the secrets behind Symbolix. Finally coming face to face with Dathan Wahrman, Damage learned the true architect behind his genesis was the immortal Vandal Savage. At this point, Savage revealed to Grant his true lineage as the son of Al Pratt, the original Atom. He also informed Damage of his unique genetic make-up, the combination of dozens of elite super-heroes. With the potential to be one of the most powerful meta-humans on the planet, Vandal Savage took a disturbing interest in Damage’s life.

Now aware of his past, Damage resolved to take control of his future. But trouble seemed to follow the down-on-his-luck hero wherever he went. Mandra’s Darrow’s father sent a bounty hunter after the troubled teen, even as Mandra’s sister Megan aided Damage in eluding his opponents. But after Grant prevented a nuclear meltdown in Florida, he was forced to go underground since he violated his court order by leaving the Titans.  Grant later resurfaced to seek refuge as a member of the Teen Titans and even the Justice League. He was rejected on both counts.

Damage tries out for the Teen Titans in TEEN TITANS #17 [1997].

Titans Time

When the original five Titans decided to reform the group, Arsenal nominated Damage for membership. Arsenal was able to use his government ties to erase any record of Grant’s criminal file, freeing him from his life as a fugitive. Hoping to atone for his destructive past, Damage served as a member of the newest group of Titans, trying to prove his worth as a hero. He quickly befriended Argent, his fellow Teen-Titan-in-training – and also forged a stronger bond with Arsenal.

After a number of missions, Grant confronted something he had long buried since childhood: He was the victim of emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his foster father. After coming to terms with this, Damage went on an extended leave of absence from the Titans and sought peace on the Navajo reservation where Arsenal was raised.

ABOVE: Damage rejoins the TITANS SECRET FILES & ORIGINS #1 [1999].
BELOW: Arsenal owes Grant a debt in TITANS #1 [1999]. 

Damaged Goods

Once Grant healed his emotional wounds, he found a fresh start as a member of the newest version of the Freedom Fighters. Tragically, the team was torn apart when they were attacked by a cadre of villains during the Infinite Crisis. Damage narrowly escaped death but was left deeply traumatized and horribly scarred. After recovering, Damage returned to adventuring and adopted a costume similar to the Golden Age Atom’s. Still feeling the effects of his brutal attack, Damage exhibited a more explosive personality and wore a full face mask to conceal his badly damaged face. He soon joined the revamped Justice Society of America, where his friends hoped to contain his volatile side.

ABOVE: Damage faces his past in TITANS #17 [2000].
BELOW: Damage begins to heal in JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #8 [2006]. 

A schism soon developed within the JSA when half the team defended the godlike Gog, while the other half found him to be a dangerous threat. Damage sided with Gog, as the cosmic powerhouse was able to restore his face. This enabled Grant to act on his feelings for Sonia Sato, the new female Judomaster. Unfortunately for Damage, the JSA eventually disrupted Gog’s dangerous magics, reversing the spell that healed Grant’s face.

Although this derailed Grant’s confidence, he and Sonia had developed deep feelings for one another. But their romance was cut tragically short when Damage was killed during the Blackest Night.

Upon his death, Damage released a recorded message to Judomaster. In this video, Damage revealed that he secretly began a series of corrective surgeries to repair his face, hoping the two of them could live happily one day. Sadly, that day would never come.


Powers & Abilities


Damage is a living biochemical fusion reactor that builds up a power charge through a unique hormonal process. This charge gives Damage heightened strength, durability, speed and reflexes – powers which grow in proportion to the energy charge he has built up. When Damage is unable to expend the charge he has created, the extra energy is directed outward in a massive concussive blast – an energy discharge Damage is only beginning to control. Damage has also developed a propulsion application to his powers, that basically enables him to fly.

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Essential Reading


Damage #1-2 [1994]: High school student Grant Emerson suddenly discovers he is a superhuman with incredible explosive powers. First appearance of Damage.
New Titans #0, 115 [1994]: Under government control, Arsenal leads a new team of Titans, including Supergirl, Impulse, Damage, Green Lantern Darkstar, Mirage, Terra, and Minion. Government funded and based in New Jersey. Changeling betrays the team. First appearance/mention of Crimelord in issue #115. First issue with new Titans members Terra II, Mirage, Impulse and Damage having already joined the team.
Damage #8-12 [1995]: Damage searches for his true identity; takes leave of absence from Titans
New Titans #127 [1996]: Damage quits the team.
Damage #18-20 [1996]: After Grant prevented a nuclear meltdown in Florida, he was forced to go underground, since he violated his court order by leaving the Titans.
The Titans Secret Files #1 [1999]: Learn about the history (and future) of the new team of Titans in this one-shot. In an origin story, the original members and the new additions get together for the very first time, and we learn what happened to those who didn’t make the cut. Damage joins the team.
Titans #1-2 [1999]: Following close on the heels of the events in the JLA/TITANS miniseries, the original Titans decide to set up shop, rebuilding their headquarters (a new Titans Tower) and enlisting a second, non-core group of Titans to help them. And the entire, 10-member roster gets a workout when the team is attacked by the reformed H.I.V.E.!
Titans #17-19 [2000]: While the Titans travel in space, Arsenal learns some shocking secrets about Damage – that Grant was abused as a child by his foster father. Damage quits the team and begins emotional healing at the reservation Arsenal grew up in.
Titans #45-46 [2002]: In their search for the reasons behind their visitations by the long-dead spirits of their past, Jesse and Damage are joined by the other Titans – only to discover an imposing complex under the desert. And within it, the true source of the ghosts that haunt the desert above.
Infinite Crisis #1 [2005]: Damage and the Freedom Fighters are attacked by a cadre of villains.
Justice Society of America #1 [2006]: Determined to rebuild the Justice Society, founding members Green Lantern, Flash and Wildcat initiate an unprecedented recruitment program, tracking the bloodlines of heroes across the world and bringing in the new Starman, Damage, Liberty Belle and more! Damage adopts a costume similar to the Golden Age Atom and exhibits a more cynical demeanor.
Justice Society of America #8 [2006]: Jesse’s origin is recounted as she prevents Damage from making a grave mistake.
Justice Society of America #16 [2007]: Damage’s face is healed by Gog.
Justice Society of America #21-22 [2007]: Gog takes away his blessings, reverting Damage’s face to its scarred state. He tries to push Judomaster away, but she – unconcerned with his outward appearance – kisses him.
Blackest Night (mini-series) #4 [2008]: Damage is killed by the Black LAntern Jean Loring.
JSA All-Stars #7 [2008]:  The JSA attends Damage’s funeral. Judomaster receives a video recording from Grant. In this video, Damage reveals that he secretly began a series of corrective surgeries to repair his face, hoping the two of them could live happily one day.

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 Damage: The Series


Damage #1 [April 1994] to Damage #20 [January 1996]

Damage #1 introduced readers to Grant Emerson, who suddenly discovered he was a superhuman with incredible explosive powers. The series was written by Tom Joyner and featured art by Bill Marimon through most of its run.

From the letter column of the first issue: “Now that you know the origin of Damage the comic, we hope that you’ll stick around as we begin to weave the origin tale of Damage the super-hero! All of us at DC think that you’ll be really surprised by the story behind our young hero’s genesis, and I know that you’ll enjoy the roller coaster ride we’re gonna put you through to get those answers! In the issues to come we have mystery, action, suspense, action, DC Universe guest stars, action, cool new super-villains, action, and a shocking revelation or two. ”

The first year of Damage was propelled by the mysteries surrounding Grant’s origin. In seeking the truth to his past, Damage caused some unintentional destruction [Damage #6], which led him to be placed in Titans’ custody [Damage #0 and New Titans #0]. He later took a leave from the team to discover his origins [New Titans #127]. Damage #8-12 contained the 5-part “Fragments” story arc. After an extensive search for his true parents and the secrets behind his newfound powers, Grant discovered that he was the son of Al Pratt – the Golden Age Atom – and that he was the subject of a bizarre experiment controlled by the immortal Vandal Savage which infused the infant Grant with the meta-human potential of the Justice Society of America and the original Justice League of America. The next few issues dealt with Grant’s reactions to these revelations.

Although Damage was cancelled with issue #20, the character was popular enough to keep reappearing. Damage eventually rejoined the Titans in Titans #1 [1999], after Arsenal helped clear him of his federal crimes. From the letter’s page of Damage #20: “This is it. The last issue of Damage. Something I, and probably most of you, certainly hoped wouldn’t happen; however, it has. But I’m not here to mope and moan, rather to praise what we have done. We here at Damage Control are very proud of this little book and the fact that we made it this far in a very competitive marketplace with a character who wasn’t a mutant, a spin-off from a more successful title, who doesn’t carry a big honkin’ gun, or have “Blood” or “Death” in his name. Trust me…that’s quite an accomplishment.”

Key Issues and Storylines:
Damage #1-2: First appearance of Damage; Grant develops explosive new powers.
Damage #7, New Titans #0: Damage joins the Titans by federal court order.
Damage #8-12: “Fragments” – Damage searches for his true identity; takes leave of absence from Titans.
New Titans #127: Damage quits the Titans.
Damage #18-20: After a disaster in Florida, Damage is forced to go underground.

Titans Crossover Index:
New Titans #0, 115-127
New Titans Annual #11
Deathstroke #51
Green Lantern #65 “Seige of the Zi Charram” Crossover
Darkstars #34 “Seige of the Zi Charram” Crossover
Zero Hour #4-0

Notable Creative Runs:
Tom Joyner, Writer: Damage #0, 1-20
Bill Marimon, Artist: Damage #0, 1-20

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A 2005 commission of Damage by JSA artist, Leonard Kirk.

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 New Titans At Zero Hour


The Titans: Beyond Zero Hour
[from Wizard Press Presents: Beyond Zero Hour]

“The Titans have had a series of problems in the past year,” says Titans writer Marv Wolfman. ‘They lost a number of members. They were sued by the government and people generally hated them. Finally, their leader Dick Grayson – Nightwing – left them.”

Left in such disarray, the road to rebirth has been a long one. “Even before Zero Hour, Ray Harper, once known as Speedy and more recently known as Arsenal, was approached by Checkmate’s leader, Sarge Steel, to align the Titans with the government,” Wolfman says. “It seems that the JLA has broken ties with the government and Checkmate wanted a new superhero team to replace them. After going over the problems and being assured [his team] will have complete autonomy, Roy agreed to sign with Checkmate.

“Trouble is, he had no members to go with him. On his own and with Sarge Steel, new members are found recruited and a brand new Titans is formed.”

Wolfman reports that this new group will have a slightly different focus than past Titans teams. “Long ago, when the Titans were first created, the team featured already-existent heroes. In many ways we are going back to that original premise,” be maintains. “Arsenal leads a group consisting of Damage, Green Lantern and Impulse, characters who either have their own titles, or in Impulse’s case, is featured in Flash. Also in the New Titans are Mirage and Terra from the now-defunct Team Titans. Finally, rounding out the title is Donna Troy, now a Darkstar. So we’re bringing in characters from other books as well as several already-known Titans.

“Interestingly, all the heroes mentioned are in one way or another orphans whose past lives are shrouded in mystery,” he continues. “Where the last Titans team came together to fight Raven’s demonical father, Trigon, the new team comes and stays together because they are all in a similar situation. The Titans is a place for these people to get together, to find themselves, to be with others like themselves. They are not coming together to fight some great battle, but to understand themselves and to grow. This common need will allow them to become close and eventually became friends.

“So the role of the New Titans is a club for the young DC heroes, a way of getting together with their peers, a place where they can he with their own kind and learn from each other as they grow.”

Of course, no new team can be formed without problems. “For the present, Roy Harper is in charge of the Titans. Dick Grayson is off with Batman doing whatever he’s doing. But Dick will want to return,” reveals Wolfman. “When he does, he will find a group that doesn’t necessarily want him as their leader. They are quite happy with the one they have, thank you. What will Dick do? Will he try to take over? Will he form another group of Titans? Who will stay with Arsenal and who will go?

“The book has gone under a lot of changes in the past few years, but all were evolutionary,” Wolfman says. “Heroes died, new heroes replaced them, tempers flared and, because they were young, mistakes were often made. That is the way life is. But now we begin with a new group. A revolution, so to speak. New heroes, all with their own lives, hopes and desires. This allows us to create a very different kind of Titans book.”

ABOVE: The New Titans play wargames in NEW TITANS #126 [1995].
BELOW: New Titans at Zero Hour, by Bill Walko.

Marv Wolfman: New Titans, New Faces And The End Of An Era
[An interview from The Titans Companion, 2005]

TTC: What brought about the shake-up in the line-up where new characters like Green Lantern and Supergirl joined and the older members left the group?

MW: This was the decision of an editor whose name I will never mention. It’s the only editor that I would say that about. Even if I disagreed with the others, they were all good guys, and sometimes their ideas were great, sometimes not as great. Sometimes mine were great, sometimes mine weren’t so great, either. In this case, every decision was incorrect, was stupid. He was in charge of plotting. He wouldn’t let me plot a story. When I tried to take my name off it and asked for my name to be off it, he wouldn’t do that, which is what finally prompted me to quit. I hated working with the editor to such a degree that I couldn’t take it anymore, and I finally decided that as much as I loved the characters, I hated the book. I hated the concepts, I hated the plots that I was being given, and my hate factor was larger than my desire to keep it going. [laughs]

TTC: How much say did you have in who the new members would be?

MW: None. I was given the lineup.

TTC: So did you have to start reading books like Impulse and Damage to find out who these guys were?

MW: Yeah. Impulse, I knew who he was to some degree, because occasionally I’d read the Flash and Mark Waid’s stuff was good. Damage I did not know at all, and I thought it was a stupid grouping of characters because there was no logical reason for those characters to be together.

TTC: How hard was it to write someone else’s plots?

MW: Oh, it was impossible. I hated every minute of it, and, as I say, it suddenly hit me that I had stayed on the Titans to help protect the characters that I had created with George, and suddenly I was on a book that was only the Titans in name. That’s when I suddenly realized, “Wait, I’m no longer on a title I need to protect. Let somebody else do it,” and I quit.

I asked at a DC Christmas party if I could get off and go on to something else, mainly Night Force – the first revival of Night Force – and they asked me to stay on four more issues. I said, “I can’t,” and they said, “We’ll bring in another editor for the four issues,” and I went, “Okay, as long as I can wrap up the storyline without much interference, and try to bring it back to some sort of a status quo.”

TTC: Did you get to do everything that you wanted to do in your last storyline?

MW: No, because I could not use Nightwing. I was told I would not be allowed to use him, and to me that was a disaster, but at least I was able to get most of the other characters back. It was a far more complex story than it needed to be, but the attitudes between the characters came about. I didn’t have a chance to bring back Raven’s body, which I had wanted to do, but I got the group caring about each other again. I got them to be a family again, and that’s all I cared about. What the exact plot was was still not that important to me in this particular case. I think it was a fine plot, I just don’t remember it that much. But I got the characters to be a family again, and that’s all I was really concerned about.

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Damage Trading Card Art

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 Creators On Damage


Devin Grayson: “Damage is similarly thrilled to be a Titan. He’s not even afraid of death. If you were carrying around a secret like his, you wouldn’t be, either…”

Jay Faerber: “I’ve been a fan of Damage since his solo series and I really like this ‘little brother’ role he’s taken on with Arsenal. I also like the ties he has to the other, older heroes of the DCU, particularly the JSA.”

Geoff Johns: “[Damage is] a different kind of character. He’s the opposite of Albert (Atom-Smasher), who always wanted to carry on [the legacy] and lost his way. Damage starts at the lowest point possible. That said, he’s going to have some problems with a few of the members right away.”

 

 


Sources for this entry: DC Universe Role-Playing Games: Sourcebooks and Manuals [ West End Games], DC Secret Files, supplemented by titanstower.com


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author