Comic Book Review: Destroyer #2

The Revolution loved Destroyer #1. Kirkman delivered a fast paced and action packed read that was complete with his usual well written dialogue and enjoyable character work. I am confident that Destroyer #2 will be an entertaining read. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for this issue.

Creative Team
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Cory Walker

Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Keene (Destroyer) attending his brother’s funeral. After the funeral concludes, Keene notices his brother’s old partner in crime, Bruiser, at the gravesite. Keene approaches Bruiser. Bruiser immediately states that he left his life of crime behind him and that he has been clean for years. Keene says that he knows that. Keene then asks Bruiser to tell him where he can find Scar. Bruiser says that he has no idea where Scar is hiding.

Suddenly, a military helicopter arrives on the scene and a soldier slides down a rope and tells Keene to get aboard. Keene’s commanding officer asks Keene if he was harassing Bruiser. The commanding officer barks that Scar is off limits. That Scar has been gone ever since Keen last battled him. Keene says that Scar is not dead.

The commanding officer says that Scar is too dangerous. That Scar knows Keene’s family and would attack them. Keene replies that the fact that Scar knows about Keene’s family makes it is even more important that he find Scar.

The commanding officer says he was briefed on Keene’s medical condition and that Keene is in bad shape. The officer suggests that Keene spend his final days with his family.

Keene snaps that he is going to take out as many of “these fucks” that he can before he dies. The officer says that he understands and asks Keene to at least take it easy. Keene puts on his mask and says that he will. Destroyer then jumps out of the helicopter and attacks a giant Kaiju that is rampaging through the city.

We shift forward to Keene, his wife, daughter, son-in-law and grandchild playing at a special country club. Keene tells his son-in-law, Darius, that he thought the twenty story monster that he fought was intelligent. However, when he ripped the monster’s tongue out, he found out that it had the intelligence of a dolphin. Keene said he felt terrible like he was beating a dog.

Keene then tells Darius that this special country club is the only place that he feels his family is safe in public. Keene then reveals to Darius that his health is failing and that he does not have long left. Keene says that he still has not told his wife, Harriet. Keene says that he is telling Darius this because Keene is stirring up some shit and he wants Darius to keep a close watch on the family.

Suddenly, Keene sees Doctor Devastation in the country club. Evidently, Doctor Devastation got a hold of Keene’s DNA a few months ago and has been tracking Keene, even though he has no idea what Keene looks like. Suddenly, Keene grips his chest and collapses to the ground. Darius screams that Keene is having a heart attack. Darius calls for someone to call an ambulance or a doctor.

Doctor Devastation rushes over to tend to Keene. Keene says “I win.” And grabs Doctor Devastation’s head and snaps Doctor Devastation’s neck and kills him. Darius is stunned. Keene says that he was faking. Suddenly, the country club’s security shows up. Keene angrily asks how Doctor Devastation got into the country club.

We cut to Keene and his family on a plane leaving the private island where the country club is located. Keene says that he does not think that the ban from the country club will be that long once they confirm Doctor Devastation’s identity.

We slide to that night as Keene and Harriet are getting ready for bed. Harriet asks when Keene was going to tell her about his failing health. Keene says that he does not want Harriet worrying about him on top of everything else she has to do. Keene says that he loves Harriet. Harriet responds that Keene does love her, but just not enough.

Keene replies that he loves Harriet and their daughter, Felicia, and their grand-daughter, Haley, more than anything. But, the world is bigger than them. Harriet replies that Keene thinks the world is more important than her and than the two of them. Harriet says that she has had fifty-three years to get used to coming in second. But, it doesn’t mean she has to like it.

Harriet lays down in bed and Keene spoons her. Harriet asks how long Keene has. Keen replies “Not long.”

We cut to the Destroyer jumping out of a military helicopter and crashing through the roof of a warehouse where Techtronica is hiding out. Techtronica’s robots attack Destroyer. Destroyer kicks ass on the robots. Destroyer then blows up Techtronica’s main computer before she can upload herself into it in order to make an escape.

Destroyer pins Techtronica to the floor. Destroyer asks her where Scar is hiding. Techtronica says that Destroyer is a fool to try and wake that sleeping dragon. Destroyer screams “I’m the one who has been sleeping!” Destroyer then rips Techtronica’s head off and then stands up and drop kicks her head across the room. Destroyer stares at Techtronica’s decapitated body and says “Bitch.”

We shift to that late that night with Keene in the kitchen getting some milk. Keene suddenly grabs his chest and says “Please. Please, no. Not…” A knock on the front door interrupts Keene. Keene opens the door and we see a bloodied Darius standing there with Haley in his arms. Darius exclaims that “they” got Felicia and that they destroyed their house.

Darius hands Haley to Harriet. Darius tells Keene that Scar was there. Darius says that they have to go get Felicia back. Darius says that he needs “it” and asks where “it” is. Keene says that “it” is in the basement. We slide to Keene and Darius in the basement. Keene is in his Destroyer costume. Darius gets into his Turret costume. Darius states that he had sworn that he would never wear the Turret costume again so that he could have a life with Felicia.

Keene puts on his mask. Destroyer says that they will get Felicia back. Destroyer says “Now more than ever Destroyer and Turret will be unstoppable.” End of issue.

The Good: Destroyer #2 was another good read. Kirkman is delivering an enjoyably unique read with Destroyer. While Kirkman focused on wild action with Destroyer #1, Kirkman slows things down a bit with Destroyer #2 and focuses more on Keene the husband and father rather than Keene the Destroyer. And it is Keene’s character that makes Destroyer so different from the vast majority of the titles on the market.

Normally, comic books focus on impossibly attractive young protagonists. That is certainly not the case with Destroyer as Kirkman presents to us an old and fading hero. Keen may not be fading in terms of the intensity with which he fights criminals. But, his health is fading and he can see the end on the horizon. This geriatric super hero, with his gruff personality and no-nonsense attitude, fascinates me much more than the endless stream of youthful characters that dominate the comic book industry.

Kirkman has such a deft hand at creating touching and poignant scenes that feel so real. Kirkman is able to focus on the little things in life and insert them into his story in order to make his characters more realistic. And it is those emotional touchstones that Kirkman presents to the reader that makes the reader connected to the characters and understand what they are going through.

The scene with Keene and Harriet was sweet and sad all at the same time. There is no denying the love that this old married couple has for each other. And there is also no denying that Keene has consistently placed Harriet second to his duty of protecting the world. And it is this sense of duty that compels him to keep carrying out his missions even in his final days.

Kirkman never overwhelms the reader with verbose and grandiose dialogue. Real life isn’t that way. Instead, the sentences come out short and sometimes awkwardly. And in the end, there is no need for an endless stream of dialogue. Just a few words and then Keene spooning Harriet in silence. The characters are able to communicate more through their actions then they are through a wall of dialogue.

Kirkman’s dialogue is well crafted. All of the characters have nicely defined voices. The dialogue has a pleasant and natural flow to it. The character work is well done. Keene and Harriet get most of the character work in Destroyer #2 and the reader gets an excellent feel for both of them.

Kirkman is able to give the reader insight into a character by using an economy of lines. A good example of this is how Keene tells Darius how he felt like he was kicking a dog once he realized the monster he battled did not have human level intelligence. In just two lines, Kirkman is able to show the reader that even this bad-ass brawler has compassion in his heart. And it is done in a fashion that works seamlessly into the flow of the story.

Destroyer #2 is a well paced issue. Kirkman smartly massages the story as the reader never goes too long without at least a couple of panels of action. This is also a well plotted issue. Kirkman keeps the story moving with a purpose. There are no wasted scenes and Kirkman does a good job building tension in the reader as we head toward the eventual showdown between Destroyer and Scar.

Of course, Kirkman also knows how to deliver kick-ass action. And we get just enough brawling in this issue to keep it a lively read. My favorite moment of Destroyer #2 was when Keene faked a heart attack just so he could lure Doctor Devastation over to him in order to snap the Doctor’s neck. That was awesome and emphasized Keene’s direct and blunt style of action. Keene shows no hesitation when it comes to getting rid of as many bad guys as he can before he dies.

Destroyer #2 ends with a quality hook ending. Keene’s family has suffered a loss as Keene’s daughter has been kidnapped by Scar. And Darius once again puts on his Turret costume that he has sworn he would never wear again. We should certainly be in store for one violent and action packed issue with Destroyer #3.

The Bad: Cory Walker’s artwork is solid, but not consistent. Some panels look vibrant while others are weak. At times Walker’s inking is too heavy. And the lack of details and backgrounds in the panels gives this issue a dull and drab look at certain spots.

Overall: Destroyer #2 was another entertaining read. Kirkman is delivering a read that is an exciting action packed adventure as well as an interesting character study. The depth and range of this title should make it appealing to a large cross-section of comic book readers. The only word of caution is that this is a violent story and there is plenty of cursing. Having said that, I would certainly recommend giving Destroyer #2 a try. This issue is worth the cover price.