Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel shoots energy from her hand with the cityscape in the background.
image: Marvel

A Deep Dive Into the MCU’s Department of Damage Control (And Their Plans For Kamala Khan)

With two episodes under her belt, things are starting to heat up for Ms. Marvel. Kamala is slowly figuring out her powers and even trying her hand at saving a life, but there’s a shadowy government organization trying to apprehend her. What could this mysterious agency be?

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Here’s everything you need to know about Marvel’s Department of Damage Control (DODC), which has actually been around since the very beginning of the MCU.

The DODC’s MCU origins

The Department of Damage Control—which, back then, was just called Damage Control—made its very first appearance waaaaay back in Iron Man, the movie that kicked off the MCU as we know it. (It occurs to me that some of you readers out there might literally not have been born yet when Iron Man came out, and damn, I feel old.) After Tony Stark has his airborne duel with Iron Monger over Los Angeles, Phil Coulson of S.H.I.E.L.D. approaches him and mentions that “Damage Control” is cleaning up the mess. At that time, Damage Control was a department at S.H.I.E.L.D.

Damage Control is later transformed into a joint venture by Stark Industries and the U.S. government, where it takes on the name DODC. After a few mentions and minor appearances here and there (including in ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), the DODC’s next notable appearance is in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

(Marvel)

In the first scene of Spidey’s first MCU solo outing, we see Adrian Toomes and his crew cleaning up the mess left after the Battle of New York in The Avengers. Among the rubble are numerous Chitauri artifacts containing a mysterious glowing substance. As Toomes is working, a group of government officials approaches him and tells him they’re taking over the job, since he and his crew aren’t authorized to handle the “exotic materials” left behind by the Chitauri. Toomes pleads with the officials not to break his contract—since he poured a lot of money into new supplies, and apparently, the contract has no early termination fee—but they’re unmoved. Thus, begins Toomes’s descent into villainy, which culminates in his eventual emergence as Vulture. Nice job, DODC!

The DODC continues its tradition of making life difficult for decent people in Spider-Man: No Way Home. After Mysterio reveals Spider-Man’s identity and accuses Peter of murder, the DODC joins forces with the police to bring Peter and his friends and family in for questioning. They’re never able to prove that Peter murdered Mysterio, mainly because he didn’t, but they definitely succeed in scaring the pants off of him.

The DODC in Ms. Marvel

Kamala, Bruno, Nakia, and Kamran in Kamran's car in Ms. Marvel.
(Marvel)

If you saw Spider-Man: No Way Home, then you may recognize the guy who appears in the mid-credit scene after episode 1 of Ms. Marvel. Yep—Agent Cleary, who interrogated Peter, is back to haul more teenagers in for questioning.

In the mid-credit scene, Cleary and another agent, Deever, see the footage of Kamala’s powers manifesting at AvengerCon. They immediately recognize her as an “enhanced individual,” DODC’s parlance for “superhero,” and agree to bring her in. In episode 2, Cleary and Deever interrogate Zoe, since Zoe has been using Kamala’s powers to turn herself into a celebrity on social media, and thanks to Deever’s interrogation tactics, Zoe lets slip that she knows Kamala is South Asian. Deevers uses that information to start monitoring various community hubs in the area, including mosques.

Thanks to that monitoring, the DODC arrives on the scene as soon as Kamala uses her powers to save a boy from falling out of a window at her mosque’s Eid celebration. They come after her with drones and cars, seemingly intending to smuggle her away in the night, and Kamala’s only able to escape when Kamran arrives to whisk her away.

So What Does the DODC Do, Exactly?

According to the newscast in Spider-Man: Homecoming, the DODC serves to “oversee collection and storage of alien and other exotic materials.” It’s apparent from its various appearances that the DODC does much more than that, though. The DODC claims jurisdiction over all superhero-related events, and apprehends anyone with superpowers. So far, it’s unclear what their long-term plans for Kamala are (especially since it’s not a crime to have superpowers), but based on their tactics and racist attitude toward Kamala’s community, those plans can’t be good.

How will Kamala deal with the DODC going forward? We’ll find out as episodes continue to drop each Wednesday!

(featured image: Marvel)


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Author
Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>