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June 3, 2017

BOOM! Reviews: Destroyer #1

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Written by: Eric
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Destroyer #1
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Victor LaValle
Artist: Dietrich Smith
Colorist: Joana Lafuente
Cover: Micaela Dawn

Dr. Victor Frankenstein attempted the unthinkable: reanimating the dead.  He succeeded, but in triumph birthed into the world a monstrous abomination.  Centuries later Frankenstein’s monster has returned to the world, using his power to fight the wrongs humanity inflicts upon itself and ultimately decides to rid the world of humanity altogether. Meanwhile Dr. Jo Baker, the last living descendant of Frankenstein, is suffering the loss of her greatest love, her son.  In grief she attempts to recreate the experiment of her ancestor and bring her son back to life and Frankenstein’s monster may have just given her the final clue to make it happen.

There is a lot to unpack in Victor LaValle’s Destroyer.  At it’s surface Destroyer is a non-canon continuation to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, continuing the story as if Frankenstein’s monster didn’t die in the end but had simply secluded himself from the world of men.  At it’s core it’s the story of a mother’s obsession over the death of her son, a victim of police violence.  LaVelle has stated in interviews that while Destroyer has roots in the current political discourse surrounding institutional racism he still wants readers to be able to enjoy it as a comic.  The balance of commentary with comic fare is well struck.  Destroyer does well to engage readers in a way that doesn’t feel like they’re being pushed an agenda or being preached to about practically anything.

The artwork in Destroyer is incredibly well done.  After reading other comics centered on the horror genre in which Frankenstein and now Destroyer live, I was expecting a more gritty and grotesque art style.  Dietrich Smith’s art in Destroyer was a huge departure from that expectation and a pleasant surprise.  While the colors may be a bit muted throughout the book, the artwork is incredibly detailed and beautiful. There isn’t an over emphasis on deep blacks or blood reds to creep out or fill the reader with a sense of dread.  Frankenstein’s monster looks perfectly menacing, with consistent detail provided to every scar and tear in his body.  Smith’s artwork will make you wince as you take in some of the devastation the monster unleashes and the rage on his face as he tears people’s hearts out.  Later in the book, through Smiths pen, Dr. Baker feels like a real person with her grief, anger and determination written on the lines of her face from panel to panel.  Right down to the final frame when the look on her face tells the reader that her resurrection plans aren’t exactly noble.

Comics have always been a medium to express opinions on subjects such as war, race, relations, religion, etc and Victor LaValle’s Destroyer jumps into those waters feet first.  In a time when the news and other outlets are attempting to shape the opinions of the masses LaValle manages to lend a voice to issues of inequality, civil liberty and environmentalism without doing the same.  Above all else Destroyer is a comic that I thoroughly enjoyed.  With both great writing and stellar artwork I was drawn into the world occupied by Frankenstein’s monster and Dr. Baker and I can’t wait to return.  If you’re a fan of literature and just damn good comics this book is for you.  BOOM knows how to pick it’s properties and they’ve once again hit a homerun!  Go read Destroyer.

Eric Snell
esnell@comicattack.net

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2 Comments


  1. klue

    So it tackles current issues with a horror twist? Either way if it’s a subtle thing I’m definitely checking this one out and since I’ve been a Frankenstein’s Monster fan for years it’s right up my alley



    • It does exactly that. And I loved that it doesn’t beat you over the head with any of the issues and allows you to enjoy it strictly as a comic book.



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