15th Jun2017

‘Victor LaValle’s Destroyer #1’ Review (Boom Studios)

by Dan Clark

Written by Victor LaValle | Art by Dietrich Smith | Published by Boom! Studios


Basing your comic off a classic literary character takes a good amount of gumption. You are taking a character everyone is well aware of and trying to put your own spin in it, but if your spin too far off you can greatly upset hardcore fans but if you are too close to the original you then construct what feels like a carbon copy. So far Victor LaValle’s Destroyer is one that is able to strike the right balance as he creates his version of Frankenstein’s monster.

Oddly though the character this seemed like more at first was Swamp Thing than Frankenstein or at least a character that holds a high respect and protective sense for nature. The opening we see Frankenstein’s monster sitting on top of an ice thrown in the middle of Antarctica looking like a white walker from Game of Thrones. After whalers kill a humpback right before him he seeks immediate revenge. It does not take long to find out his stance on killing. Clearly, he is okay ripping out major organs when he feels the need.

Based on how people react to first seeing this creation it is clear there is more to his lore than the classic story we all know. It is almost as if some people view him as a mythical creature that should be worshiped or at least the savior for Mother Nature. Although some do fear he is a danger and should be taken out as quickly as possible.

If the purpose of a first issue is to garner interest this issue does that. Victor LaValle is building something compelling here even if what exactly is happening is not fully clear. We see though that the need to conquer death remains with this version of the story. Baker a scientist connected to this monster somehow is apparently using Victor  Frankenstein’s findings to create her own monster as she has lost someone of her own in the past.

There are some bumps along the way. Some of the social messaging came off slightly hamfisted. In one specific sequence, The Monster is getting caught up with all the key events that he has missed chilling in his ice castle. Some of these events make sense like the atomic bomb and images from World War One. Images from a butcher house though did not seem on the same level. Social commentary is a key element in comics and based on LaValle’s ideas for this series it could make this into something special. My hope though is he is a little more tactful with his approach in the future.

***½  3.5/5


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