Review: Victor LaValle’s Destroyer #2

Darryll Robson Darryll Robson
Expert Contributor
June 24th, 2017

Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.

Review: Victor LaValle’s Destroyer #2
Comics
0
Price:
Aesthetically Pleasing

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On June 24, 2017
Last modified:June 24, 2017

Summary:

A focus on modern gadgetry and bland suit wearing men detract from the exciting story that is building at the heart of Victor LaValle's Destroyer. A worthwhile read with engaging Art, but not at the same standard as issue 1.

Price:
Aesthetically Pleasing

Reviewed by:
Rating:

3
On June 24, 2017
Last modified:June 24, 2017

Summary:

A focus on modern gadgetry and bland suit wearing men detract from the exciting story that is building at the heart of Victor LaValle's Destroyer. A worthwhile read with engaging Art, but not at the same standard as issue 1.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

Boom Studios! modern take on Frankenstein continues this week and our contributor, Darryll Robson, takes a look at expanding world that Victor LaValle has created.

Review: Victor LaValle's Destroyer #2

The emotional family story and birthing metaphors from Mary Shelley’s’ original Frankenstein novel take a back seat in issue two of Victor LaValle’s Destroyer. This month there is a touch of political commentary and a host of sci-fi gadgets mixed in with the violent horror that made issue 1 so memorable. Although the story doesn’t feel as though it’s moving on very fast, by the end of the issue the narrative has taken a great leap forward: a much larger leap than you will have been expecting.

Synopsis

This issue opens in Ireland, 1799. The Monster has been alive for a number of years and is wondering the world, or so it would seem, but he isn’t making any friends. He stumbles across a group of locals and pleads for help. Obviously, when faced with the giant, grotesque ghoul, the men immediately go on the offensive and attack him.

The modern day: The Monster is traveling across a Mexican desert with the memory of Ireland rattling around his brain. It’s not long before he’s accumulated a following of dispossessed Mexican’s all who are heading for the boarder.

Story continues below

Meanwhile, in Montana, the two agency Men are trying to track down Dr Baker with no luck. After a real time, virtual reality conversation with the head of their organisation, they try to track Dr Barkers car back to wherever she is hiding out.

When the Agency Men reach Dr Barkers secret lab and the Monster reaches the Mexican/American boarder, none of them get a warm welcoming. And the inevitable violence follows with some unsuspected results.

Credit: Boom! Studios

Analysis

This issue is about journeys and about searching. There are two strands to the narrative, both similar in theme but opposed in purpose. The contrast between the two at the centre of this issue.

First, there is the Monster's trek across Mexico. Victor LaValle starts the issue with one of the Monster's early encounters with mankind. He approaches them nervously and in need of help but he is greeted with violence.  LaValle wants to stress this poor treatment, this horrific incident, because it helps to illustrate the Monster's reactions when he encounters the border guards. The writer is mirroring the Monster's past experiences to show how the character as changed; the timid creature from Shelley’s original novel who was so misunderstood has been hardened by violent encounters so that he is the aggressor in the modern age.

LaValle still manages to keep a sense of sympathy for the Monster but the consequences of his blind, violent actions are making it difficult. The Monster has blood on his hands.

The Dr Baker strand of the story is a different kettle of fish. This element focuses on the corporate guys and their technological search. It’s a contrast to the Monster's ‘walk until he gets there’ approach. Firstly, LaValle wants to show the reader that these guys have a range of technology at their fingertips. Virtual Reality glasses, highly accurate emissions trackers, these guys are Modern. But for all of their technology the end up in a similar situation to the Monster, when they find their quarry the situation takes a turn towards violence. It’s as if LaValle is saying that Man is inherently violent; that it is natural instinct to attack first and ask questions later.

Secondly, this is the part of the narrative where LaValle’s world differs from the real world. The Sci-Fi element and secret society begin to distance the reader from the characters. It creates a wild fantasy which belies the realism of the previous incarnations of the Frankenstein tale, especially the original where the true horror came from the realism that Shelley crafted. The gothic elements are still there but they have been removed from the world the average reader will understand, a contrast to the Monster's own journey across a very real, very political landscape.

Credit: Boom! Studios

Any diminishment in this issues narrative is not reflected by the quality of the art work. Dietrich Smith’s illustrations are energetic and punchy. The Monster is bedraggled and his eyes are full of the pain. When the story calls for action Smith delivers in spades, heightening the adrenaline and injecting some much needed pace to the proceedings.

Even in the slower, expositional scenes Smith manages to give the reader something worthwhile to look at. He twists and turns the point of view to produce a cinematic experience, focusing on foregrounds or backgrounds in an attempt to make the reader uncomfortable and uneasy. The art works because of the great use of shadow and movement lines. Nothing is static except in defiance like the Monster and Dr Baker. And one of the best moments in this issue comes near the end, when a bullet disintegrates; it is simple but brilliant and shows off a complete control of time within the comic book format.

Story continues below

Overall, this is a worthwhile issue but not as spectacular as the first. The sequences with the Monster outshine the rest and, because of this, parts of the narrative are a little flat. However, the artwork helps to ease the reader through the clunky gadgetry and long expositional scenes. It's still early days for this series and there is still a lot of life left in it, especially if the momentum can be kept at this high level.

Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Occasionally he remembers his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson

Victor LaValle's Destroyer #2

  • 3

Aesthetically Pleasing

A focus on modern gadgetry and bland suit wearing men detract from the exciting story that is building at the heart of Victor LaValle's Destroyer. A worthwhile read with engaging Art, but not at the same standard as issue 1.

(Visited 35 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Yes No