Monday, February 24, 2014

My Father, My Foe!


The reunion between Drax, the Destroyer and Moondragon, self-styled goddess of the mind, took place with the best of intentions. Father and daughter, separated by death from an alien attack, had found themselves involved in the fierce conflict that saw the presumed death of their attacker. That conflict ended, Drax, a reincarnation of sorts for the soul of Art Douglas, now wandered aimlessly--as did Heather, his Earth daughter who had been taken to a distant world after Art's death and trained in the physical and mental disciplines to become Moondragon. And finally, the daughter felt the need to seek out her father:



Drax, however, found himself both alone and frustrated, now that his one purpose in life--to destroy Thanos--had been accomplished, albeit by another. And that frustration and bitterness led him to a colony of parasitic life forms, and an attempt to end his second life:



Locating Drax in this state, Moondragon, in desperation, brought him to the Avengers for assistance, though only Thor was in residence. Unfortunately, both Drax and the alien attached to his mind were in symbiotic agreement on one point--both wanted to die:



Thor finally prevailed over Drax--and the alien's plaintive words served as a wake-up call for Drax which made him reconsider his grim aim to die:




And so Drax joined Moondragon in her travels--first returning the alien to its hive, and then to find mutual purpose and fulfillment in the exploration of both the stars and their new relationship. It's an ending--and a beginning--which normally would have been rewarding to read about for these two beings who had both been products of death and rebirth.

Instead, this tale will lead to much worse for Drax, and an ending more tragic than any he'd planned for himself.



And it begins with the mysterious reappearance of Moondragon's ship on Earth, which waits for the Avengers to board:



Now in flight to an unknown destination, the Avengers find no one aboard--but they're greeting with a recorded message from Drax, who begins to explain what happened in his travels with Moondragon but which only raises more questions:



The ship eventually lands on its planetary destination, Ba-Bani, where Moondragon greets them and explains why she (and presumably Drax) sent for the Avengers:



And though it's clear they have reservations, the Avengers agree to help quash the insurrection:



Afterward, Moondragon wastes no time in arranging for their departure--but the Avengers decide to stay another day, for reasons of their own. Investigating separately, they not only find that the "insurrection" was fought by men who didn't know what they were doing, but that Drax himself can share that claim:




Iron Man, of course, has a good idea of what's been going on--and just who is responsible:



While Thor has naturally taken the direct approach:



Unfortunately, Thor now begins to fall under Moondragon's mental sway. But in gaining a powerful new ally, her hold on her "father" lapses, thanks to Iron Man's efforts:



It's generally not a good idea to have someone called the Destroyer gunning for you. And, sensing her danger, Moondragon circles her wagons (or, in this case, "wagon"):



And protect her he does!



Writer Jim Shooter and penciller Bob Hall do a first-rate job with this two-part story, and with the Avengers in particular. Personalities and decisions are as we'd expect from these four members who are just two short of the original Avengers team, and the fight scenes of Thor against his comrades and Drax are well-paced and visually exciting. And while we're really focusing on Drax here, we can't in good conscience duck out on a Thor/Iron Man skirmish, which, as Iron Man notes, just might have a third party involved:




Finally, the enraged group confronts Moondragon herself. But she has marshalled her forces, and immobilizes the Avengers before they can strike. However, she's forced to steel herself in order to face down one attacker in particular:





It's admittedly difficult to feel sympathy for this woman who has not only acted like a puppeteer with her own father, but also ruthlessly brings him down--and in such a calm and collected way, at that. The Avengers, now free, attack in force, and the Wasp lays out Moondragon with a right cross that I think every reader probably felt land.

But for Drax, the circle finally closes for him:



(Nice bit of misdiagnosis there, Dr. Blake. I guess by "You're going to be all right," what you really meant was that in a moment Drax wouldn't need to worry about his discomfort.)

As for Moondragon, while she may be beyond the laws of Earth, this "goddess" will nevertheless have her day in court. And she finds her court date expedited:



Back on Earth, the Avengers make an adjustment to Moondragon's ship and give Drax a final sendoff.



This wasn't the ending for Drax the Destroyer we were led to believe it was, and of course we all know what the character of Drax eventually morphed into. But it was still the ending for him I wish would have stuck, as it was a fine concept from Shooter and capped a very fine Avengers story. You might say that Drax was living on borrowed time anyway, and this final scene made something of an epilogue for Jim Starlin's character--who had such a single-minded existence and, when you think about it, was doomed to never have anything to show for it.

The Avengers #s 219-220

Script: Jim Shooter
Pencils: Bob Hall
Inks: Various Artists (#219); Dan Green (#220)
Letterer: Joe Rosen (#219); w/Janice Chiang (#220)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your posts. When I found you blog, I went back to the beginning and read my way forward. There were so many times I was tempted to "time warp" forward but I'm glad I took the time to catch up.

A few quick questions: What issues were these? And why is the Wasp in a jacket?

The Prowler (fixin' to pay his library fines and burn the heck out his card).

Comicsfan said...

Prowler, thanks so much for the nice words! To answer your questions, the Thor story took place in Thor #314; and the story was continued about 3 (or 4) months later in Avengers #s 219-220.

As for the Wasp's attire (or lack thereof), when the Avengers were compelled by Moondragon's mental power to meet at her ship, they were basically yanked from whatever they were doing at the time. In the Wasp's case, she shrunk down when she wasn't wearing any clothing with unstable molecules, and so she was forced to improvise when she regained her normal size.

George Chambers said...

I would have liked to have seen Shooter writing the Iron Man comic, as he had both a good handle on Tony's character and an obvious love and respect for the armored Avenger. He once said 'Iron Man's power is only limited by his source of energy; if he could connect an extension cord to the sun, he could beat anyone' - a sentiment I don't personally agree with as there's a limit to what any battery can store, and a limit to how much power any circuit can carry without burning out. That said, I really enjoyed how tough and canny Tony was under Shooter's aegis.

Comicsfan said...

All very good points, George.

dbutler16 said...

This was a great two-parter, especially the writing. I just have to say, I have always despised Moondragon. So, I really loved the ending.

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