Who is The Destroyer?

This Wednesday The Destroyer #1 from Marvel Comics debuted. It's in their Mature Audiences MAX imprint and is written by Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead, Invincible) and illustrated by Cory Walker (Punisher War Journal). I wasn't familiar with the long history of The Destroyer but a quick trip to wikipedia explained it all.

The Destroyer is a Timely Comics character who first appeared in Mystic Comics in 1941. He was a WWII-era hero, a journalist caught by the Germans who was given a super soldier serum by an anti-Nazi German scientist. Since then he's appeared here and there in Marvel comics since the 70's.

Which brings us to Kirkman's The Destroyer MAX mini-series. The conceit according to Kirkman, "the assumption that [The Destroyer] had an ongoing series since the '40s, so I'm basically writing Issues #701-#705." That's really intriguing but could be an excuse to throw a lot of strange references and mad ideas around without having to provide the necessary exposition.

But Kirkman doesn't disappoint. He keeps it simple while introducing The Destroyer's supporting cast and the very mundane problem that provides the core drama of the book. While The Destroyer spends time fighting arch-foes and dealing with long-time enemies, Kirkman keeps the story immediate and rooted in the now in a very compelling way. The art is exceptional with expressive characters and the action is over-the-top and ultra-violent without being stomach-churning. There's not a lot of plot in the first issue but Kirkman does a good job of establishing a strong motivation for the titular character that will no doubt propel him through the remaining issues.

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