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Damage Control #4: Review

Aug 1989
Dwayne McDuffie, Ernie Colon

Story Name:

eXcessive Farce

Review & Comments

4 stars

Damage Control #4 Review by (April 30, 2019)

Review: This tale is aptly titled: eXcessive Farce. The farce is quite in evidence as the enemy the heroes must fight is an army of robot clowns led by a famous comedian. And “excessive” also counts as the situation gets a bit wearing on the reader (yet still seems to have something missing at a couple of points). Yes, it's funny but it's a bit overblown. The most shocking moment: when Rogue is skewered through the shoulder by the speargun; the sequence is more graphically violent than most of what Marvel was doing at the time, much less something played for comedy as this series was.

Comments: Tie-in to the X-Men Inferno crossover event. Surprise appearance of simulations of Groucho Marx, emcee of the 1950s game show YOU BET YOUR LIFE, and his announcer George Fenneman. Lenny says “Don't crush that dwarf, hand me the pliers,” title of a 1970 comedy album by the Firesign Theater. Issue includes a letters page. Plot hole: Robin and Albert show up in the Danger Room but they didn't come in with the X-Men and only Kitty Pryde can enter without using the door so when and how did they get in?


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Damage Control #4 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

During the Inferno event (X-MEN #240-243) the X-Mansion was destroyed. Soon after a pair of mechanical tentacles rose from the rubble....

The police note a rash of thefts of building materials, usually weighing in the tons; baffled, they call Damage Control....

John Porter has a team (traffic manager Robin Chapel, head foreman Lenny Ballinger, comptroller Albert Cleary, R&D's Gene Strausser, and intern Bart Rozum) go to the X-Mansion site as it seems to be the center point of the thefts. [The X-Men are believed dead at this time.] Oddly, while they stand among the wreckage, only John and Bart see it, the rest are looking at a lovely mansion. But they all see the metal tentacles carrying lumber. Then a suppressed memory comes through into Robin's head and as she talks, Albert, Lenny and Gene start to remember....

Some years ago, D-C was doing some repair work in the mansion and while Robin and Albert were taking care of paperwork with Professor X, Gene was downstairs getting into trouble. Gene burst into the control room where Kitty Pryde and Cypher were incorporating Shi'ar technology into the workings of the Danger Room. First Gene started tinkering with the tech, then Lenny was trapped in the Danger Room, and then it couldn't be shut down because Gene had gone too far. Wolverine dashed in to save Lenny—and discovered he was entangled in Silly String. Then Logan was confronted by a simulation of Groucho Marx, keeping up his familiar comic patter and confusing the heroes. Suddenly an army of clowns appeared, throwing pies and nailing Wolverine. Cypher reported the situation to Professor X who mentally summoned the X-Men (Nightcrawler, Colossus, Cyclops, Storm, Rogue) to save the day. They arrived, dashed into the Danger Room, and were trapped like everybody else. Prof X told them they must use the cut-off switch; Cyclops blasted it with a beam from his eyes but nothing happened. Prof dispatched Kitty to address the matter but she was menaced by robot clowns and needed the help of the others. On the way, Rogue was shot with a spear from a clown's toy gun; Nightcrawler managed to return an exploding cigar to its sender but slipped up on a banana peel on his trapeze. Storm is laid low by a boxing glove on a spring; Groucho handed her a bomb but Colossus grabbed it and defused it but the fuse blew up in his face. Albert got nailed by a thrown pie, Kitty put her hand in the mechanism and found a huge mousetrap (the hard way), Lenny took over for her. Fed up, Storm called down lightning and incinerated Groucho, which didn't solve the problem as another one immediately appeared. Robin decapitated a set of Three Stooges robots. When it was all over, Professor X wiped the minds of the Damage Control staff so they wouldn't remember anything that happened there that day....

And now, Robin, Albert, Lenny, and Gene (John and Bart weren't there) can see the rubble (though Lenny is still a bit confused); John realizes that the mechanism of the Danger Room is trying to rebuild the Mansion and they arrange to return the stolen materials to their owners. John makes the decision not to mention the X-Men's involvement to the police as “dead or alive, the customer is always right.”

Ernie Colon
Bob Wiacek
John Wellington
Ernie Colon (Cover Penciler)
Ernie Colon (Cover Inker)
Ernie Colon (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Piotr Rasputin)

(Scott Summers)
Kitty Pryde
Kitty Pryde

(Kate Pryde)

(Kurt Wagner)
Professor X
Professor X

(Charles Xavier)

(Anna Marie LeBeau)

(Ororo Munroe)

(James Howlett)

Plus: Cypher.

> Damage Control: Book info and issue index

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