Victor LaValle's "Destroyer" #1 from BOOM! Studios -
Over two-hundred years ago, Doctor Victor Frankenstein created a life he could not control, which became a monster that was ultimately his undoing. The monster fled from humanity, choosing the silence of Antarctica, and the company of the beasts over that of men. When a whaling ship kills a friendly whale and it's calf, and disturbs The Monster's repose, he retaliates and through the wonders of modern technology discovers that in Montana, a modern-day Victor Frankenstein is again preparing to pierce the veil between life and death. This he cannot abide...
In Missoula Montana, a brilliant African-American scientist and alchemist, Dr. Josephine Baker, is on the cusp of fulfilling a dream. Several years ago, her world was torn asunder when a fearful police officer mistakenly shot and killed her twelve-year-old son. He was a warm, sweet boy; she was unable to let him go. She seemingly downloading his consciousness into a computer system that interacts with nearly every part of her life. However, that is not enough. Not nearly enough. Her dream, her most powerful desire, is far more chilling than anyone could ever believe...She would have her son back, alive and well...And she would have her vengeance.
From the very first page, Victor LaValle's story held me entranced. I have always loved Mary Shelley's Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus, and there have not been many versions of it that I have not enjoyed. This book is no exception. In it, we see the Frankenstein's Monster drawn back into the world of men by their own barbarism, and drawn even further by the discovery of a "modern-day Frankenstein." The creature reacts with rage, but does The Monster desire to stop, kill, or perhaps even guide this new Prometheus? The Monster keeps the reader off balance: he seemingly possesses the ability to reason, but demonstrates none of the emotional connections that one assumes comes with the power of reason (at least toward humans). Is his motivation justice, or animalistic vengeance? And Dr. Josephine Baker (named for the famous, stunning songstress and civil rights activist, Josephine Baker), is utterly captivating. Beautifully rendered by Dietrich Smith, she is highly intelligent, driven, wily, daring, matter-of-fact...And completely damaged. She is a beautifully tragic character that shines - the pace of the book picks up considerably when the story focuses on her. Her pain is very real, and very socially relevant in the time in which we live; I cannot wait to see how LaValle handles such a tender subject. But who is the protagonist? The Monster or Dr. Baker? Which is the antagonist? Is there really either in this story? What makes a monster? LaValle has filled "The Destroyer" with great characters, and lots of unanswered questions which is a great recipe for keeping me around until the bitter end...And it looks like the end will be just that, bitter. Dietrich Smith's artwork is perfect for this book. He draws action very well, but where he excels is in the crafting of expressive eyes and faces. He has a wide range - from beautiful scenery, to lovely faces, to wild explosions, to gory action, to futuristic sci-fi scenes; Smith can do it all, and do it all well. Watch out for Victor LaValle's "Destroyer" - I think we just might be seeing the beginnings of a sleeper hit.
RATING: 10 out of 10. I need this book on my pull list, and I need it NOW.