‘Ms. Marvel’ just revealed a surprisingly scary new MCU Phase 4 villain
Kamala Khan got away this time around. Who won’t be as lucky?
Why is Tony Stark’s government-backed militia so obsessed with Ms. Marvel? Also, why are they the absolute worst? These are valid questions you may be asking yourself after finishing up Ms. Marvel. The Disney+ series prominently features the United States Department of Damage Control (and not in their best light).
In fact, Damage Control, which was initially created for Marvel Comics as a source of comic relief, is the villain of Ms. Marvel. On top of blasting high-school-aged children with versions of military-grade sonic weapons first introduced in The Incredible Hulk, they’re xenophobic and hero-phobic. Damage Control goes to great lengths in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to injure and entrap (in the words of DODC agent Sadie Deever, portrayed by Alysia Reiner) “the wrong people” that develop superpowers.
Given their rise in prominence from cameos and references in two Spider-Man movies to an entire arc in Ms. Marvel, it appears that this malicious version of Damage Control isn’t going anywhere in the MCU.
So where will they appear next? And which superheroes should be worried?
Damage Control: From funny to scummy
Damage Control was co-created by comic writer Dwayne McDuffie and penciler Ernie Colón in the late ‘80s as a fictional construction company that repaired all of the property damage caused by superheroes and supervillains.
The concept was pitched as a “sitcom within the Marvel Universe,” often breaking the fourth wall and dealing with the antics caused by well-intentioned heroes. They were originally owned by Tony Stark and, shockingly, Wilson Fisk (aka, Kingpin). Damage Control HQ was in New York’s Flatiron Building.
There has been a lot of back-and-forth drama since regarding DODC’s owners. Though they roll their eyes often at the messy heroes they pick up after, they’re good guys through and through.
In 2015, Damage Control was pitched to ABC as a workplace comedy with The Daily Show producer Ben Karlin at the helm of its development, which would have made the show Marvel’s first-ever sitcom. Then, nada.
Damage Control is still an important part of Marvel Comics. This past May, Marvel tapped Adam Goldberg, the creator of the long-running ABC sitcom The Goldbergs, for a new standalone Damage Control comic series featuring Moon Knight, She-Hulk, Nightcrawler, Ghost Rider, and Quicksilver that he is writing alongside Hans Rodionoff and Charlotte Fullerton. Slated for a first volume release in February 2023, this new comic is begging for an on-screen adaptation:
"We’re both huge Marvel fans, and we also love The Office, so we knew Damage Control had all the makings of a really fun show,” Hans told Comic Book Resources in an interview. “It’s a workplace comedy where Captain Marvel might visit your cubicle, or you could end up doing trust falls with Thor at the company retreat."
However, we’re unlikely to see a Damage Control comedy on TV or in the movies — ever. That’s because Damage Control has been reimagined as a nefarious organization in the MCU.
Damage Control in the MCU
Damage Control is first mentioned in Iron Man where it’s described as a subsidiary of S.H.I.E.L.D. that repairs superhuman damage. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is told by Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) that he needs to learn how to handle the aftermath of his actions after a disastrous fight between Iron Man and Iron Monger in Los Angeles.
We then see Damage Control made into an executive branch of the United States government in association with Stark Industries in 2012 following the Chitauri Invasion and the Battle of New York depicted in The Avengers. They were tasked to not only clean up but also to collect any alien materials found. Later, they were given the responsibility of enforcing the Sokovia Accords, which stated that hero activity needed to be regulated and monitored.
This caused clean-up firms — like Adrian Toomes’ Bestman Salvage — to lose their contracts. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Toomes (Michael Keaton) becomes the Spider-Man villain Vulture, flying around in an exoskeleton suit powered with stolen Chitauri technology. He also became a black market arms dealer to regain control over his livelihood — until Spider-Man found out and stopped him.
By 2024, Damage Control was elevated to a federal law enforcement agency tasked with investigating and apprehending “enhanced individuals” along with their other former duties. In Spider-Man: No Way Home, DODC Agent P. Cleary (Arian Moayed, who reprises his role in Ms. Marvel) storms the Parker Residence with an arrest warrant for Peter Parker while investigating the incident between Spider-Man and Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) from Spider-Man: Far From Home. Agents also apprehended Parker’s friends and legal guardian.
After Matt Murdock (Daredevil, as portrayed by Charlie Cox) is hired by the Parkers as their attorney, Damage Control has no choice but to let go of their grudge against Spider-Man — first, because Murdock is protecting the Parkers, and then because their memories of Spider-Man are erased by the end of No Way Home.
The events of Ms. Marvel seem to take place after No Way Home, but Damage Control remains obsessed with curbing teen superheroes. Kamala and her companions are able to outsmart DODC, but the law enforcement agency almost injures (or worse) both Kamala and Kamran.
While The Marvels may have more adventures in space than Earth, Damage Control could still be on Kamala’s trail by the Captain Marvel sequel. It is likely, then, that we haven’t seen the last of Damage Control.
Damage Control vs. She-Hulk?
More Damage Control features in the MCU are teased in Episode 3 of Ms. Marvel when the Clandestines are arrested and imprisoned in the SuperMax Prison operated by the DODC. This prison is also shown in the trailer for She Hulk: Attorney at Law. It’s likely where Abomination (Tim Roth) has been jailed. Since She-Hulk is a lawyer — and an enhanced one at that — it makes sense she’d have run-ins with Damage Control.
Another super-lawyer bound to bump heads with Damage Control? Matt Murdock, who is reportedly returning in a new Daredevil series and in some capacity in the upcoming Echo show. (He’s also rumored to appear in She-Hulk.)
Meanwhile, at the Lang Experimental Penitentiary, Pym particle technology is used to shrink-down down criminals to miniatures during their sentences. This unusual punishment may lead to Damage Control getting a cameo in Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. Like She-Hulk, Ant-Man has encounters with Damage Control in the comics as well.
Damage Control could also show up in Ironheart show, another Disney+ series about a young superhero whose social background could draw attention from the U.S. government. Lastly — and this may be a bit of a stretch — Damage Control may be related to the Secret Invasion series, which centers on shapeshifting Skrulls that infiltrate life on Earth in unsuspecting ways.
Could there have been a Skrull in Ms. Marvel, hiding in plain sight? We’ll see.
Ms. Marvel is streaming now on Disney+.