The Story Of Damage Control (So Far) In The MCU

Since the launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, the audience has been introduced to a number of groups. Of course, there are heroic teams like the Avengers, the Defenders, and the Guardians of the Galaxy or villainous organizations like A.I.M., the Ten Rings, and HYDRA, but there are also a number of government agencies that largely operate in the background of the MCU. There's the Nova Corps, the World Security Council, and S.W.O.R.D., to name a few. Although, thanks to Agent Phil Coulson and the ABC drama "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division is probably the most well-known of them all. However, when the intelligence agency collapsed in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (at least, publicly), others stepped in to take over their jurisdiction.

One such organization is the United States Department of Damage Control. Created in partnership with Stark Industries, this agency was initially tasked with cleaning up after the Battle of New York from "The Avengers." However, after their first appearance in "Spider-Man: Homecoming," it would seem that their mission statement has changed over the years. And since it doesn't seem like they're going away any time soon, let's take a look at their humble beginnings in the pages of Marvel Comics, the way they were originally meant to be introduced in the MCU, and what they've been up to so far in the Sacred Timeline up to and including their role in the latest Marvel Studios series on Disney+, "She-Hulk: Attorney At Law."

The origins of Damage Control

Created in 1988 by writer Dwayne McDuffie and artist Ernie Colón for "Marvel Age Annual," Damage Control was pitched as "an ensemble cast situation comedy along the lines of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show,' 'Taxi,' 'WKRP in Cincinnati,' 'Cheers,' and the like but set firmly in the Marvel Universe." Like its MCU counterpart, this company was formed to deal with the clean-up, repair, and restoration of property following a super-powered incident. For example, they were contracted with rebuilding the Washington Monument "X-Factor" #74 in 1992. But instead of it being a solely Stark Industries endeavor in conjunction with the US government, Tony Stark teamed with Wilson Fisk in the comics to create this agency.

Over the course of the company's history, Damage Control has had to deal with a breakout at the superhuman prison known as The Raft, a rampaging gladiator Hulk fresh from a space coliseum, Doctor Doom, Galactus, and two superhero civil wars. But just like other workplace comedies, their various storylines have also included the team working through office drama, the implementation of uniforms, and plenty of turnover in managerial roles.

And since the story was pitched as a sitcom, it's pretty fitting that their most recent series will be written by someone known for their work in the medium. Adam F. Goldberg, the creator of "The Goldbergs" on ABC and the upcoming series "The Muppets Mayhem," is co-writing "Damage Control" with Hans Rodionoff and Charlotte Fullerton which features artwork from Will Robson and Jay Fosgitt. The five-issue miniseries, which will feature heroes such as Nightcrawler, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk, is scheduled to hit your local comic shop on August 24, 2022. However, there was a time when Damage Control was meant to debut on your local TV networks as well.

The Damage Control that could have been

Before Marvel Studios took over the House of Ideas' television division, Marvel Television under Jeph Loeb started to explore the possibility of a sitcom set in the MCU long before "She-Hulk: Attorney At Law." While they got pretty far with "New Warriors" at Freeform, which would have starred Milana Vayntrub as the unbeatable Squirrel Girl, they were also developing a series featuring the wacky adventures of Damage Control. Back in 2015, former "The Daily Show," "The Colbert Report," and "Modern Family" producer Ben Karlin was tapped to bring the overworked and underpaid clean up crew to life in a single-camera half-hour comedy for ABC. According to ABC President Paul Lee at the time, the show was meant to premiere the following year.

Meanwhile, DC and Warner Bros released "Powerless" from "A to Z" creator Ben Queen on NBC. It was similar to "Damage Control" in that it also featured non-super-powered individuals living and working in a super-powered world. However, the show starring Vanessa Hudgens, Danny Pudi, Ron Funches, and Alan Tudyk was axed with three episodes going unaired. Marvel likely (and wrongly) took that as a sign that the audience wasn't interested in superhero shows like this, so theirs never materialized. While it was never officially cancelled like the S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff following Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood's characters from the flagship show called "Most Wanted," "Damage Control" got lost in the shuffle when Marvel Television got folded into Marvel Studios and it was never heard from again. But the agency would eventually surface in the MCU in a different way.

The actual MCU history of Damage Control

Marvel Television be damned, Damage Control still made its way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe eventually. The organization's first appearance was in "Spider-Man: Homecoming." Following the Battle of New York in 2012, Anne Marie Hoag approached Adrian Toomes' Bestman Salvage and informed them that they were now in charge of the collection and salvage of alien materials left behind in the battle. We also learn later that they were the ones that cleaned up the destroyed Helicarriers and the Triskelion after the events of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier." But thanks to Executive Order 396-B, Toomes' company lost its government contract and was forced to find more nefarious work. Later in the film, Peter Parker ends up trapped in a facility that belongs to the Department of Damage Control, but he eventually gets out and saves his classmates at the Washington Monument.

In "Spider-Man: No Way Home," it seems like the jurisdiction of the DODC has expanded a bit as they're the ones who detain Peter and his family for interrogation after it's revealed that he wears the mask as the friendly neighborhood web-slinger. They're also on the scene at Happy Hogan's condo thanks to a tip from J. Jonah Jameson when Spidey's efforts to help turn into a brawl with Electro, Sandman, the Lizard, and Green Goblin.

The present and future of Damage Control

Now that they have government backing, it looks like Damage Control is stepping into the void left after S.H.I.E.L.D. fell to handle all kinds of super-powered activity. This is supported by the fact that they also pursue Ms. Marvel after Kamala Khan starts making waves in Jersey City by using her powers publicly. They even use equipment very similar to the E.D.I.T.H. drones that they confiscated from Spider-Man in order to catch her in the act. 

Most recently in the second episode of "She-Hulk," we see that Emil Blonsky aka the Abomination is being kept at a DODC facility. Considering that his initial run in with the Hulk was back in 2008 before Damage Control was its own entity, the agency has likely taken over the remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. facilities to make sure the possible threats inside are properly contained. At least, the ones that Nick Fury hasn't kept off the books and still uses for his own purposes that will probably be revealed in "Secret Invasion."

It's currently unclear when and where Damage Control will show up next in the MCU, but with each appearance, it seems like their power and jurisdiction are growing. Unfortunately, this is a far cry from their silly sitcom origins. And whether they end up as the new S.H.I.E.L.D., the new HYDRA, or just plain cops chasing enhanced individuals remains to be seen. No matter which way you slice it, it does seem to indicate that the organization isn't going anywhere any time soon.