Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Recycled Vengeance Of The Destroyer!

It's hard to believe that the Destroyer--a raging powerhouse whose sole purpose in life was to put an end to Thanos, the mad Titan--would once again want to seek out Captain Marvel with the intent of killing him, blaming him for ending Thanos' life himself and thereby depriving the Destroyer of his life's mission. It was a faulty premise which drove their previous clash, given that Thanos had actually survived Mar-vell's fatal strike on the Cosmic Cube and thus remained alive for the Destroyer to subsequently deal with; but the battle between the Destroyer and Mar-vell finally ended when the Destroyer at last sensed the location of Thanos, putting an end to his building frustration which led to his lashing out at Mar-vell.

But some water had gone under the bridge in the Captain Marvel title since then--fifteen issues' worth (which for a bi-monthly publication works out to 2½ years), including a new writer/artist team and a new direction, though obviously not new enough to prevent recycling this storyline albeit with a twist. For the details, let's pick things up in deep space, where the Destroyer is once again bemoaning his unending state of frustration at being denied his destiny--because in spite of the knowledge he gained on where to find Thanos, his target eludes him still. For other events have occurred since the Destroyer resumed his search for Thanos--another clash with the Titan involving Mar-vell and the Avengers, and, at long last, his death, this time at the searing hands of Warlock.

Yet the Destroyer will once more lay the blame for that act at Mar-vell's door.

Good grief! Didn't we just leave this party?

At this point in time, Mar-vell and Rick have parted ways amicably, with Mar-vell returning to Earth to briefly take a position at a Denver observatory before once again finding himself at a crossroads as to what direction his life should take. And so we find him exploring Denver in civilian attire, which makes him difficult to spot even for the gaze of the Destroyer to pinpoint. Yet the Destroyer will demonstrate that he has learned to be ruthless in dealing with his true foe--a fact that the denizens of Denver discover to their regret.

Having no knowledge of Warlock's involvement, the Destroyer has come to the conclusion that Mar-vell would have been the likely candidate to deliver the death blow to Thanos. In truth, however, the fault for the Destroyer's misjudgments and subsequent actions ultimately lies with Kronos, the entity which resurrected him from a mortal death and imbued him with the all-consuming desire to seek out and destroy Thanos while never considering the possibility that Thanos might meet his end at another's hand or by other means. We're left to speculate that had the Destroyer fulfilled his mission, he would have found some measure of peace, or even reverted back to the soil from which he was drawn forth--but for Mar-vell, whose reasoned words fall on deaf ears, all of that becomes moot.

Naturally, Mar-vell isn't the type to simply accept the fate that the Destroyer is determined to see him face. But resistance brings its own risk of danger--and in the conflagration which erupts from their clash, it's possible that both of these men will meet their end from this pointless confrontation.

At last, however, hostilities cease when the two are interrupted by ISAAC, the near-sentient computer network of Titan, one of the moons of Saturn and the homeworld of not only Thanos but of his father and brother as well. For the Destroyer, ISAAC's petition represents a way forward in settling accounts with Thanos--and, for Mar-vell, an obligation to help save his old comrades and, perhaps, to mend fences with the Destroyer.

Unfortunately, should Mar-vell survive this mission, he's not out of the (line of) fire yet as far as the Destroyer is concerned.

In its entirety, the story is quite well handled, though it would only have time to advance about halfway before the Captain Marvel title was cancelled. Two months later, however, in what turned out to be a relatively seamless transition, the story would segue to Vol. 2 of Marvel Spotlight where it was finally wrapped up.  (And will almost certainly find its way to the PPC in due course.)

Needless to say, the Destroyer reneged on his vow to put an end to Mar-vell once their business on Titan was concluded. Noting the presence of Mar-vell's friends and loved ones, in contrast to his own hate and obsession, he begins to consider other, more positive options for himself--or, failing that, to simply wander the stars, until he resolves to destroy himself. It's an uncertain future for this being, to be sure; but if there's anyone who can pursue a goal to the ends of the universe, it would be the Destroyer.

Captain Marvel #58

Script: Doug Moench
Pencils: Pat Broderick
Inks: Bob McLeod
Letterer: Denise Wohl


Justin said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing! The Drax I grew up with was the later, dumber, but more Hulk-like version from the Infinity Watch. I always liked him...but was curious about how he differed from the original depiction.

Speaking of differences, while I do enjoy Dave Bautista's Drax in the GotG movies, I still miss this earlier version. If forced to choose, I'd have to say I still prefer the original. I'm curious if you have a preference.

Comicsfan said...

Justin, to me, the movie Drax is a better balance of the IW Drax and the Drax we see here. Aside from his power, there's nothing about the IW Drax that does anything substantive for the character, as he's essentially a child that can become a dangerous child if provoked or encountering a situation that frustrates or confuses him. The original Drax, in my opinion, still had aspects to his character that could be mined by the right writer, though more as a solo act than as part of the IW or, heaven help us, the Avengers. :) In fact, under the right circumstances, I could have easily seen Jim Starlin taking him under his wing, rather than Warlock (though I'm happy with Starlin's treatment of Warlock).

Tiboldt said...

My first encounter with Drax (and Thanos) was the backup story in an issue of Logan's Run. At that time, I had no idea who they were or what was going on especially since no mention of Captain Marvel or Warlock was made.
While I realize it was just filler, I wonder why they were in that comic when surely an old Ditko self-contained story might have been better.

HellRazor said...

The issue I had with Drax as a character is that even though he was supposedly created to kill Thanos, he was so ill-equipped for the task, being nowhere near Thanos' power level. At most, he was a minor annoyance. So here we have a character that really serves no purpose, other than to rage on and on about killing Thanos, but never even coming remotely close to fulfilling his reason for existing.

(And I don't count the time Drax finally succeeded killing Thanos a few year ago - the power disparity between them was ever really addressed, and I didn't really buy that he should have been able to kill him as seemingly easy as he did. To me, it was a case of the writer reaching the conclusion he wanted to reach, without much regard to the actual characters, their power levels, their history, etc.).

Comicsfan said...

I'm pretty much in agreement with you about Drax's bark being a lot worse than his bite, HellRazor. :)