"Victor LaValle's Destroyer #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by BOOM! Studios
Written by Victor LaValle
Illustrated by Dietrich Smith
Colored by Joana Lafuente
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 24th, 2017
The future of Frankenstein's monster is a fun idea to play with. Where did it go after the end of Mary Shelley's novel? It's essentially immortal, so it can still be alive today. That's a piece of Victor LaValle's Destroyer, which also brings in the last descendent of the Frankenstein family, Dr. Baker. The two are not coming together for an adorable family reunion. Instead, they are at odds with Baker wanting to use the monster to help bring her dead son back to life and the monster wanting to eliminate humanity. That last part I learned from the solicitation info of the book, as it isn’t entirely clear in this first issue.
In any case, the idea of a mother wanting to bring her dead son back to life is a heartbreaking one. It's certainly a concept that any parent can relate to. You'd go to any lengths to protect your child, but I'm sure any parent would go through hell to bring a deceased one back. Just look at Pet Semetary, right?
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This is handled in a very effective manner. Baker is clearly a genius and working with super advanced technology. It seems that her son's consciousness has been downloaded as some sort of artificial intelligence. She's talking to it constantly. It's like her version of Siri. That's very sweet and also really unsettling. She will never have closure.
Baker certainly looks the part of a mad scientist, especially when she springs into action. Artist Dietrich Smith nails that vibe perfectly. Baker has jet black hair with a thread of white coming down one side, not unlike the Bride of Frankenstein. There's a scene towards the end where she suits up in her scientist garb complete with white lab coat, black rubber gloves, and goggles. The disturbing addition to the ensemble is the bloody handprint at the center of her dress. Tying it all together is the look of complete determination on her face. Joana Lafuente's colors round out the scene with plenty of shadows and a faint green glow.
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Of course, this wouldn't be a Frankenstein story without the monster, and Smith draws an absolutely terrifying creature. It's featured in the opening page in a gorgeous image, displaying it in all its glory. It's taller than a normal man, but also gangly. There are muscles, but they're tough to see on such a thin frame. It almost looks emaciated, but no less scary. Its body is covered in symmetrical stitching from where the limbs were sewn together. I figured that would be more erratic, but it's very precise. Then there's the face, hollow and empty with no nose to speak of. There's an innocence in its eyes that is quickly erased when a group of whalers come too close.
The monster tears through the whalers in a most brutal fashion. Seeing this firsthand is a group of protesters, trying to get between the hunters and the whales. They quickly take in the monster in a very convenient fashion. It's clear there's more going on and there are some other aspects revealed later in the book to tie it back to the original Frankenstein. Basically, there have been people searching for the creature for over two hundred years. How nice that he literally walked onto their boat.
Destroyer presents a harsh future for Frankenstein's monster that is quite creepy. The real stars of the comic are Baker and her son. She steals the show away from the monster that sets a high bar with the first half of the book. Baker presents a compelling story that is equal parts heartbreaking and bone-chilling. Just think about it for a minute. What if Dr. Frankenstein was a mom? How would the story change?