Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

02 February 2010

The Quarter Bin: Destroyer #1

Trade paperbacks and — God forbid — hardbacks are a big risk; dropping $14.99 to $34.99 on material you’re not sure about can lead to buyer’s remorse and bitter, bitter recriminations. Why didn’t someone warn you that Captain America and the Falcon, v. 1: Two Americas was so bad? A sample would have warned you, but you had to order the whole thing.

Well, I’m not made of money either. So I’m trying out that sampling approach in what I hope will be a new feature, The Quarter Bin. Recent comics that have lower promotional prices, are Free Comic Book Day giveaways, or I have found in that holy of holies, the Quarter Bin, get a quick review and a recommendation on whether it might be worthwhile to pick up the trade. So, without further ado, we have …

The Issue: Destroyer #1 (June 2009, Marvel)

The Culprits: Written by Robert Kirkman, art by Cory Walker

The Hook: Old, brawling superhero learns he’s dying and decides to clean up all his old messes before he goes.

Collected in: Destroyer (premiere hardcover) ($24.99; $16.49 off at Amazon; TPB to follow)

Destroyer #1 cover

Strengths: Destroyer as a family man, as an old man. When Destroyer’s around his family, Kirkman writes an entertaining family man who has to temper his reactions while he’s around the people he loves. In those moments, he’s grounded and almost likeable, although those moments are too brief. Walker draws an excellent civilian Destroyer — an older, vulnerable man who still has a great deal of strength.

Weaknesses: Destroyer, well, destroying. When he’s in action, he’s the kind of overconfident, vulgar superhero that is emblematic of the ‘90s, not a character who’s nearing his 90s. (He’s not really that old, but still.) There’s none of the doubt that you would think would assail a man who is nearing the end of his life; he just resolves to go on a killing spree, starting with his own convict brother. It’s over the top, needlessly crass and violent. I’m not entirely sure about the design of the Destroyer; he looks like a blue Skrull who’s infringing on the Punisher’s intellectual property.

Mitigation: The first issue has a lot of combat, and obviously, with hints that his son-in-law used to be Destroyer and the loss of his wife’s arm, there’s going to be more character moments in later issues. Since that’s #1’s strength, that’s welcome.

Judgment: Even if there’s more character moments, I still don’t like Destroyer. I’m kinda hoping he dies in #2 or at least is forced to give up Destroying.

Hardcover, TPB, or Nothing?: Nothing doing. Judging from #1, I can’t see buying the collected edition.

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