Comic Book Review: Destroyer #3

The Revolution has thoroughly enjoyed Robert Kirkman’s Destroyer. This title has satisfied my hardcore action addiction. I fully expect Destroyer #3 to be crammed full of some sweet action scenes as Keene is headed on a collision course with his arch nemesis Scar. Let’s do this review for Destroyer #3.

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 Destroyer hanging the villain named Scavenger over the edge of a building by a rope around Scavenger’s neck. Destroyer yells for Scavenger to tell him where Scar is keeping Destroyer’s daughter. Destroyer pulls Scavenger back to the top of the building. Scavenger’s neck is broken and he is dead. Destroyer comments that Scavenger must not have known anything. Destroyer tosses Scavenger’s body to the side and tells Darius that they should head on home.

Darius says that Destroyer cannot keep doing this. That this is not good for Destroyer’s heart. Destroyer comments that killing bad guys is the only thing that is good for his heart. Destroyer says that what caused the stress that hurt his heart was Destroyer holding back from killing the bad guys. Destroyer tells Darius that they need to go home to see their family.

We cut to Keene and Darius arriving at Keene’s house. There is a package in front of the door. There is a note on the box that says “I know you’re looking for me. Now you have more incentive. Hurry.” Keene grabs the box and they run into the house and quickly cut open the box. They see a woman’s finger inside of the box. Darius says that the finger is too fat and the fingernail is too long to be that of Keene’s daughter.

Keene then calls in for the government forensics team to examine the finger and see who it belongs to. We shift to Destroyer and Darius banging down the door of a house. In the kitchen they see a woman chained to the wall. One of her fingers has been cut off. The woman stammers that “he” told her to tell Destroyer that “You’re not thinking hard enough.”

Suddenly, the house explodes. The woman is dead. Destroyer and Darius stand up and survey the wreckage. Destroyer repeats “Not thinking hard enough” over and over. Destroyer then says that the street this house is on is named Liberty Road. Destroyer says that the Liberty Tire factory was the first place that he fought Scar.

We slide over to Destroyer and Darius crashing through the skylight of the Liberty Tire factory. We see Scar standing there next to Felicia (Keene’s daughter) who is in shackles. Destroyer growls that if Scar kills Felicia then Scar is dead.

Scar says that he was planning on living out the rest of his years in retirement. That Scar was quite content knowing that every time Destroyer looked at his wife he would remember what Scar did to her. Scar says “I ate it, you know. It was delicious.”

Destroyer responds that if Scar releases Felicia then Destroyer will kill him quickly. Destroyer adds that no matter what happens, Scar is not leaving the factory alive. Scar presses a button and the shackles slice Felicia’s wrists. Felicia starts bleeding and passes out.

Scar says that Destroyer can watch his daughter bleed to death while Destroyer gets the shit beaten out of him. Suddenly, we see Bruiser, Crocodile and Organite appear on the scene. The three villains attack Destroyer and Darius.

Destroyer comments that Scar is making Destroyer’s job easier by putting everyone in one place. Our heroes begin brawling with the three villains. Bruise comments how Destroyer is getting old and is slower and weaker than he used to be.

Bruiser and Crocodile team up and proceed to lay a serious beating on Destroyer. Darius takes down Organite. Destroyer yells for Darius to go rescue Felicia.

Darius runs over to where Scar is standing next to Felicia. Scar says that Darius can either chase him or Darius can save Felicia before she bleeds to death.

We cut back to Bruiser and Crocodile still beating on Destroyer. Destroyer’s costume is ripped off him. Destroyer is covered in blood. Destroyer reaches for a small bomb in his utility belt. Destroyer places the bomb on Bruiser and says “Fuck you.” The small bomb blows Bruiser apart into tiny bloody pieces.

Crocodile then attacks Destroyer. Destroyer tries to use another small bomb on Crocodile. Crocodile knocks the bomb out of Destroyer’s hand. Suddenly, Scar shoots Crocodile in the head and kills him. Scar then says that the glory of killing Destroyer belongs to Scar alone. Scar says that he is going to enjoy this. We see Darius trying to get Felicia out of the shackles.

Scar points his gun at Destroyer’s face. Scar says he knows that Destroyer’s daughter might live. And Scar knows that Darius will probably kill him either way. But, at this close range, the bullet from Scar’s gun will surely pierce Destroyer’s skull and kill Destroyer. And killing the Destroyer will make it all worthwhile. That killing Destroyer will make Scar happy. Scar says “Let’s see your brain parts. Shall we?”

Destroyer responds “Let’s not and say we did.” Destroyer suddenly springs forward and grabs Scar’s wrist. Destroyer then takes his other fist and punches off Scar’s arm. (Damn!) Scar stammers how in the world did Destroyer have the energy for that. Destroyer says “Saved it all for you. Ready? You want this one, too? Eat it! EAT IT!” Destroyer proceeds to jam Scar’s arm down Scar’s throat.

Destroyer then shoves Scar’s arm through his mouth and through his head. Destroyer then tosses the arm aside. We see Darius radioing for back-up to send medical support for Felicia. Destroyer proceeds to get on top of Scar and just pound away at Scar’s face. We get a page of Destroyer pounding Scar’s face into a bloody pulp. Destroyer is covered in blood from head to toe.

The medical team arrives and quickly wheels Felicia off to the hospital. Darius sees that Destroyer is still pounding away at Scar who is just a bloody mess now. Darius tells Destroyer to stop. That it is over. We see that Scar no longer has a head at all and that there is a crater in the floor of the factory from all of Destroyer’s punches.

Destroyer stops for a moment. Darius says “It’s over.” Destroyer answers “No…it’s not. Still ticking…” Destroyer touches his chest. End of issue.

Commentary:
The Good: Destroyer #3 was an absolute blast to read. Kirkman takes the reader on an adrenaline pumping and high octane ride jammed full of kick-ass action. Seriously, the action that Kirkman delivers in Destroyer #3 was fantastic. It is brutal. It is bloody. And it is incredibly entertaining. If you like action then this issue was made with you in mind.

We get to see Destroyer absolutely laid waste to several villains. Destroyer #3 was a roller coaster ride that rockets the reader from scene to scene. Each scene is even more stunning than the previous one. Just when the reader is unsure that Kirkman can top himself, Kirkman goes ahead and makes the next scene that much more unpredictable and exciting.

Several of the scenes were just sick. And in a good way. The scene where Scar has a woman chained to her kitchen wall with her finger chopped off was pretty sick. This scene certainly emphasized what a depraved lunatic Scar truly is. That Scar would stoop to just about any horrific tactic in order to goad Destroyer.

The most intense moment of Destroyer #3 was the final scene where Destroyer is bathed in his own blood and that of his enemies. I love how scrappy and unrelenting Destroyer is when he fights. There is no fair fight when it comes to Destroyer.

Kirkman has done a fine job stressing how Destroyer will try to win a fight by any means necessary. This fighting style helps to further cement Destroyer’s gritty and gruff personality. Destroyer is a no-nonsense super hero with a fighting style to match.

Destroyer #3 was a pleasantly paced issue. The story is quick read and it possesses a nice flow. Destroyer #3 is an easy issue to read that grabs the reader’s attention from the start and does not let go until the end. Destroyer #3 was also a well plotted issue. Kirkman remains focused as he unfolds the story in a clear, concise and methodical manner.

To be sure, the greatest strength of Destroyer #3 is the wicked action scenes. However, that does not mean that Kirkman offers the reader a one-dimensional read. Instead, Kirkman delivers some solid character work and good dialogue. Kirkman is the master of using a minimal amount of dialogue and still be able to convey so much of the characters’ emotions and personalities to the reader.

Most modern comic book writers operate under the belief that they must drown the reader under a tidal wave of “snappy” and “realistic” dialogue. Not Kirkman. Kirkman’s approach to dialogue is quite refreshing. Kirkman takes the effort to craft dialogue that is concise and direct. There are no wasted words. And the lack of fluff in Kirkman’s dialogue gives each word more weight and impact on the reader.

Kirkman also cranks out some fantastic one-liners. Arnold Schwarzenegger would be proud of some of the lines that Destroyer spits out in this issue.

Kirkman has done an excellent job crafting Destroyer’s character and personality. I like Destroyer’s bulldoggish tenacity. Destroyer refuses to relent even for a moment. I loved the moment where Destroyer says that his fighting and killing villains is not what has caused his heart to fail. Instead, the strain of not killing the villains is what has caused Destroyer to have heart problems.

That was a brilliant and yet simple twist on Destroyer’s heart condition. It took the conventional view of what most readers thought was the cause of Destroyer’s heart problems and flipped it on its head.

There is no doubt that Destroyer is an old school hero who is all business when he operates. There is nothing “hip” or “trendy” about Destroyer. Destroyer is all about getting the job done in the most efficient manner and then getting back home to his family. And while Destroyer may have a similar style of dealing with crime as a character like the Punisher; Kirkman wisely avoids making Destroyer as dark and broken as Frank Castle is when not in costume.

I dig how Kirkman is able to juxtapose the Destroyer’s extreme violence and killing with his sweet and loving family man persona. This was evident in the scene where the Destroyer nonchalantly kills the Scavenger and then immediately says to Darius that Harriet should have diner ready and that it is important that Darius spend time with his daughter. Destroyer is a loving husband, father and grandfather. This helps to make Destroyer more of a three-dimensional character rather than just a psycho hero.

Kirkman delivered the goods with Scar. Destroyer’s arch nemesis has been referred to as one seriously bad man in the previous two issues. And Kirkman shows the reader just how bad Scar is in this issue. Scar was plain nasty. Scar is certainly a villain that is easy to hate.

Kirkman also reveals what happened to Harriet’s arm. The reader learns that Scar cut off Harriet’s arm and ate it. The reader is totally repulsed by Scar as the reader learns that Scar’s soul is as deformed as his physical appearance.

For me, the magic of Destroyer #3 was the climactic scene in the warehouse. This scene presented the reader with a standard issue comic book moment with the heroes faced with the dilemma of saving the girl or stopping the villain. However, Kirkman flips it by having Scar resolute in the fact that he is going to die. All Scar wants to do is kill Destroyer before he dies. Kirkman treats the reader to a nice showdown between two arch rivals that have nothing but hate and venom for each other.

The final three pages of Destroyer #3 were just incredible. What a nasty bloody moment. This was nothing but pure unbridled primal fury as Destroyer unleashes it all on his arch nemesis. It was sick watching Destroyer punch off Scar’s arm and then cram it down Scar’s throat.

The page with no dialogue and a blood soaked Destroyer just pounding Scar’s head into a bloody pulp was intense. The lack of dialogue emphasized the base primal nature of the moment. At that moment, Destroyer was fueled by nothing other than hate and instinct.

Kirkman ends Destroyer #3 with the perfect final line. Darius says that it is over and Destroyer spits out “No…it’s not. Still ticking…” This line encapsulates how Destroyer’s quest to take down his arch nemesis has completely consumed him. Destroyer clearly had accepted that his mission to take out Scar would be his last. That he would either get killed by Scar or he would succeed in killing Scar and end up dying from a heart attack.

Destroyer’s comment that it is not over as long as his heart is still beating emphasizes that he will only give up his career as Destroyer when he dies. Retirement is not an option for Destroyer.

I am not that crazy about Cory Walker’s style of artwork.  However, it does not get in the way of the story and gets the job done.  

The Bad: I have no complaints with Destroyer #3. Having said that, Destroyer #3 is not for everybody. Some readers who prefer deeper reads may not like this issue. Readers who like complex plotlines, intricate character work and loquacious dialogue may not enjoy this issue. And to be sure, readers who do not like bloody and graphic violence will not dig this issue.

Overall: Destroyer #3 was an immensely entertaining issue. If you love action comics that deliver plenty of furious bloody action then you have to pick up this issue. If you missed the boat with Destroyer, then I would certainly recommend getting this title when it comes out in trade format.
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Rokk

1 Comments

  1. Take a look at image 3-8. Bloodied, beat-up Destroyer looks an awful lot like Scar, with missing teeth and one functioning eye. I have no doubt this is intentional.

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