Victor LaValle’s Destroyer #1 ComicWow! Review


One dreary November night in 1792, Victor Frankenstein reanimated the dead. Victor died, but the monster he created never did. It hid in Antarctica, but the world isn’t done with it just yet. One descendant of the Frankenstein bloodline lives on… In this issue, the monster comes back to humanity. When a Maryland lab wants to get Dr. Josephine Baker in to take care of the situation, she escapes into her own work, reanimating her deceased son.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a horror fiend. So when I learned that this series is based on Frankenstein, I was immediately intrigued. Victor LaValle uses a classic piece of literature to fuel a fascinating story that is sure to keep your attention. Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, is a revered and respected book that has gone down in history as one of the greatest horror stories ever written. Culturally, it is a landmark work of feminism, psychoanalysis, romantic and gothic literature, morality, and science fiction. Seriously, if you haven’t read this novel yet, what are you waiting for?

Frankenstein has been used in many different mediums, from books to movies to comics and more. This is yet another wonderfully novel story with roots tied to the classic piece of work. LaValle even throws in references here and there to Percy Shelley (Mary’s husband) and Lord Byron (fellow writer and friend of theirs). They’re easy references to get, and add to the historical relevance of the series.

It is both endearing and dangerous that the last living descendant of the Frankenstein bloodline is continuing Victor’s work. I am inclined to think there will be some sort of connection between the 200+ year old monster and Baker’s son—a connection that may prove to be negative, seeing as how the older monster is seen as a threat. If the lab finds out about Baker’s experiment (son), will they make the same efforts to destroy him as they are with the original monster? If so, how will Baker stop them?

Another part of me thinks that there will be a simple faint connection between the two, based off of the scientific advancements that have been made over the past couple of centuries. Baker seems to know what she’s doing, and she talks to her son in a very natural way, as if he’s just another person, not an experiment. It’s heartwarming, but concerning. Will their relationship be the same as it was when he was 12 and younger?

LaValle’s script reads really easily, with realistic dialogue as it would sound coming from a science lab. Everything sounds really professional, but the only real informal dialogue we read is between Baker and her son. It speaks a lot for their relationship, and I can’t wait to see how the two interact now that he has a heart, a body, everything!

Dietrich Smith’s artwork is very fitting for the tone of the story. It has an element of realism to it, but most of it looks sensationalized and dramatic. There are some heavy shadows, especially in Baker’s personal lab. The darkness carries the same tone that Frankenstein does, but the vibrancy indicates a brand new story that is about to unravel. The line work is really clean, and silhouettes are striking—particularly on the ship at the beginning of the book and the lab at the end of it. There is a lot of versatility when it comes to the panel layouts, which is something I both respect and enjoy. It definitely keeps the reader interested, and makes for an aesthetically stunning book.

This issue is the perfect way to start off the series. We get a taste of classic literature and modern literature at the same time. The story is absolutely enthralling, and perfectly blends the past with the present. I have tons of questions and conspiracy theories as to how the rest of the series will go, but we’ll have to keep reading to see what happens! This issue is out next Wednesday, May 24th, from BOOM! Studios; make sure to head to your local comic book shop and give it a read!

Written by: Victor LaValle

Illustrated by: Dietrich Smith