With the arrival of Spider-Man: Homecoming, the MCU has an opportunity to focus less on world-shattering schemes, and explore the smaller corners of the Marvel universe. Part of this will come in fleshing out Peter Parker’s school and home life, areas that rarely get focused on in the typical solo Avengers movie. It’ll also allow a number of new characters and concepts to be introduced into the growing MCU thanks to the film’s lighter tone and Spidey’s unique pantheon of friends and foes. While we’ll see new villains from the page like Vulture, Shocker, and Tinkerer, we’ll also get our first live-action adaptation of one of Marvel’s more novel concepts: Damage Control.
After months of rumors, Homecoming director Jon Watts confirmed yesterday that Damage Control will be introduced in the film as a salvage company run by Tony Stark. Not only will this help answer the question of what happens after a superhero battle, but it’ll provide rival salvager the Vulture with his motivation to attack our heroes. But just what is Damage Control, and what sort of future might the organization have in the MUC?
Damage Control In The Comics
Back in the late ‘80s, Marvel began spinning out a number of non-superhero tales within their action-packed world. Damage Control grew out of a small story within 1988’s Marvel Age Annual before getting a larger follow-up the next year in Marvel Comics Presents #19. From there, the company landed its own title, where the concept of an organization tasked with rebuilding the city after superhero fights could really be fleshed out and explored.
Created by Dwayne McDuffie, the co-founder of Milestone Media and man behind Static Shock, Damage Control was envisioned as “a sitcom set within the Marvel Universe.” While humorous comics have existed since the beginning, Damage Control as an idea allowed Marvel to poke fun at itself while simultaneously attending to the fallout from their many battles between heroes and villains. Not only could it serve as an absurdist metatextual joke for readers, but it actually served an in-universe purpose that helped make the stories more grounded. After all, with so many conflicts in the streets of New York, somebody would need to clean things up and repair the destruction to property.
Founded by Ann-Marie Hoag and featuring a revolving line-up of workers and even an occasional hero or villain, Damage Control was originally owned by Tony Stark and Wilson Fisk. While putting Iron Man and the Kingpin in business together might not make much logical sense, it led to some enjoyable circumstances. Fisk also has long walked the line of a respectable businessman, making the acquisition a prudent one. Still, Tony’s reservations proved to be founded, as Fisk eventually instigated the Acts of Vengeance arc and made a killing afterward thanks to his contracts through Damage Control.
Over the years, heroes like Hercules and small-time villains like Leap Frog have worked with Damage Control. There’s also Trull the Unhuman, an incorporeal alien who lives inside of a steam shovel. Throughout their work, Damage Control have had adventures of their own, fighting Doctor Doom and teaming up with Silver Surfer along the way. They’ve also been front-and-center to a number of massive catastrophes that have taken place in Marvel Comics. Following Civil War, they were tasked with cleaning up, and they had a three-issue arc that detailed the aftermath of the World War Hulk event. Though used sparingly, they’re still one of the most enduring and grounded jokes in the Marvel Universe, which is what makes it so exciting that they’re finally coming to the MCU.
Damage Control In The Marvel Cinematic Universe
A few months back, some set photos for Spider-Man: Homecoming looked like they pointed to the casting of Ann-Marie Hoag and other Damage Control employees from the comics. With the fact that comic book co-owner Tony Stark was going to be in the film and it was set to explore the smaller side of the MCU, the evidence started piling up that the organization would make its debut in the new movie. After all, New York would be getting its biggest film spotlight yet since the Chitauri Invasion, providing the perfect way to explore the clean-up crew. Sure enough, the latest trailer for Homecoming featured a nod to Damage Control, and that was followed up by confirmation of their existence by Watts. Though Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk sadly won’t be partnering with Tony, he could factor in down the line.
In reality, there are only so many movies Damage Control can show up in reasonably. Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther won’t be happening anywhere near their territory, and Avengers: Infinity War will likely have its hands full. Given their M.O., there would need to be a smaller conflict in the middle of the movies for them to even show up during the film. The most likely scenario for future appearances after Homecoming are in tags during the credits, which would be a stellar usage of them, and on Marvel’s TV shows. After all, both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Netflix series have plenty of messes that need cleaning up. In fact, the first mention of Damage Control was in a recent episode of S.H.I.E.L.D., with the show once again leading the way for future additions to the MCU.
An even more likely option, of course, is that Damage Control gets their own TV show. Back in 2015, such a series was announced, as a half-hour comedy on ABC doing for the MCU what Damage Control had done in the comics for years. Not only would it be a fun premise, but it would allow the firmly established world of superheroes an opportunity to lighten up and mock itself. From there, the show seemed to go quiet, with many worrying DC and NBC’s similar Powerless had stolen its thunder. That show, however, has changed tack since then, but with Spider-Man: Homecoming setting the stage, Damage Control would get quite the introduction.
For now, there’s no telling what the future holds for Damage Control. It’s likely we won’t learn much more until Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives. That said, Marvel has made it clear that it not only exists, but has been operating for some time. With TV packed full of superhero shows, now could be the perfect time to spin the idea of Damage Control into a series. After all, the destructive conflicts are only going to increase as more shows and movies come to life in the MCU. When they do, someone’s going to need to clean up the mess.
Do you think Damage Control should be a TV show, or stick to cameos in the movies? Let us know in the comments.