Destroyer #1 (Marvel Comics/Max Comics imprint)
by Robert Kirkman & Cory Walker
I didn’t know what to expect from this limited series, but the fact that the creative force behind is the same one that gave us Invincible was all I needed to know to make the decision to pick it up. After reading the first issue, I find I’m quite torn. The over-the-top violence and the title character’s casual attitude toward it were more than a little off-putting. This sort of extreme approach to the super-hero genre can work if approached correctly; a similar depiction of violence worked well in Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen’s NextWave, for example. But Destroyer isn’t a satire or a comedy. It’s a drama. I found Keene Marlow’s struggle to come to terms with his mortality and what it means for the people around him to be incredibly compelling. I just couldn’t see how the reflective, sensitive man we get to know in his private life could be the man who clearly relishes violence once he dons a mask and costume. Mind you, I so much want to learn more about the man, I’m willing to put up with the monster… for now.
Walker’s artwork is crisp and slickly stylized. His efforts here remind me of the kind of energy and personality one can find in Cully (Black Lightning: Year One) Hamner’s art. He conveys Keene’s age quite well without making him seem feeble. I like that he crafts him as a stout, solid powerhouse of a man. Walker’s design for the title character’s wife represents a nice balance of ordinary and extraordinary. My one qualm about the visual side of the book (aside from the gore) is the actual design for the title’s protagonist. I know it’s in keeping with his classic look, but it’s so Skrull-like, I wonder if it might not confuse some of Marvel’s newer readers who are unfamiliar with this obscure property. 6/10