Every Wednesday I browse through the new releases at Comixology, looking to see what’s fresh beyond my subscriptions. Last week, the cover for Destroyer #1 pulled me in. With the recent talk of how titles by, and with, POCs are selling (and not selling), it’s more important than ever that those of us who want to see ourselves represented in comic books actually purchase and support them. I purchased Destroyer based on the cover, but it’s the meat of the story and the artwork within that has me all in for the entire 6-issue run.
Victor Frankenstein has been dead for centuries, but his greatest and darkest creation still lives. The Monster has hidden himself away from humanity, pretty much minding his business in Antartica. While he’s not connected to humanity, that doesn’t mean he’s disconnected from life, and this is made all too clear when he witnesses the killing of several whales.
Now would be a good time to point out that this isn’t your daddy’s Frankenstein’s monster. This version brings to mind the White Walkers on Game of Thrones. And it’s not a lumbering, groaning giant, but a fast and efficient killer. He takes out the whalers aboard their ship, and he does so without hesitation or mercy.
This puts him back on the radar of a shadowy government organization (because there’s always one), and they in turn reach out to someone uniquely qualified to deal with the Monster: Dr. Josephine Baker.
Dr. Baker has also isolated herself, and her work, but in Missoula, Montana. She expertly ditches the suits sent to retrieve her, and returns to her lab where the rollout of her recent project has been accelerated due to the Monster’s emergence. Dr. Baker’s young son was killed before he turned 13. She has harnessed his consciousness, and it appears he’s something akin to Tony Stark’s Jarvis. That is until the Monster himself inspires the next steps Dr. Baker needs to transfer him into a body.
There’s so much to love here from the way the story unfolded to the art, which managed to be both gruesome and beautiful. The most interesting aspect, for me, is Dr. Baker’s relationship with her son prior to his death and the one she has with him now, in his current form. In a flashback, we see he was a sensitive child, literally unable to hurt a worm. Now that he’s reanimated, something tell me his personality is a tad… different.
I also enjoyed the small touches like the streak of white in Dr. Baker’s hair, her realistic body type, the bloody handprint on her lab apron, and the absolutely heartbreaking depiction of her son; first alive and then dead.
While aboard a ship with scientists (I think they were scientists), the Monster gets a crash course in what humanity has been up to lately: smartphones, smarthomes, police brutality, and shameful politics. It’s enough to drive anyone to the far corners of Antartica. How will he respond to Dr. Baker using the same science that created him? I’m guessing not too kindly.
Destroyer #1 of 6
Written by: Victor LaValle | Illustrated by: Dietrich Smith | Colored by: Joana Lafuente | Lettered by: Jim Campbell | Cover by: Micaela Dawn