Comic Review: Victor LaValle’s Destroyer #5 (of 6)

Victor LaValle’s Destroyer is published by BOOM! Studios. It is written by Victor LaValle with art by Dietrich Smith.

We only have one more issue after this one and then the story is over. I’m so torn. On one hand, I am really excited to see how it ends. On the other, this story has been amazing and I don’t want it to be over yet.

So far, we have Dr. Josephine Baker, descendant of Dr. Victor Frankenstein and mother of Akai Baker, who was shot and killed by a police officer when he was 12 years old. Dr. Baker brought Akai back though…in a sense. She used nanobots to rebuild him, giving him some pretty amazing strength and powers, but he isn’t exactly human anymore. He’s something new. We have the original Frankenstein’s Monster making his way to find the last living Frankenstein and….well..we don’t really know his end goal exactly.

We also have The Director, a power-hungry old woman who wants Josephine to either come back to work and finish what she started, or be destroyed. Oh, and then there’s “The Bride,” who they keep referring to as “she,” but it’s definitely a dude inside of this large robo body. I totally know who’s in it but I’m not going to spoil it for those who haven’t pieced it together yet…because by the end of this issue you know exactly who is in that robot. Anyway, all of the players are finally going to be in the same place and hopefully, someone will finally put an end to all of the destruction.

There is this one scene in this comic that is possibly the most important scene in the series so far. And the scene is so simple, it’s so simple but everything that has happened (well, except the Monster being created) is because of this one sentence: “Hello. Yes, there’s a man with a rifle walking in front of my house.” We see the silhouette of a woman in her home on the phone with the police. And on the street we see the person she is talking about…and it’s Akai, walking home carrying his baseball bat over his shoulder.

It may seem like this scene has absolutely nothing to do with what’s happening in the story. It’s just a random flashback Akai is having. But this woman, this random woman, called the police and told them a man was outside with a rifle. Those police then showed up ready to shoot someone, and that’s exactly what they did. This series has addressed many current issues. But one thing it has continued to do, ever so subtly, is show how one tiny, misinformed action, can bring chaos and even death.

We also finally understand who the Destroyer from the title of the series is. It isn’t Akai, or the Monster, or even the Director. It’s Josephine. As she says in her speech to Akai, people are killing the Earth and in turn, they too will die. But Akai will not, Akai will be the first of a new species to inherit the world, and by building them, the world will hate Josephine, and she will be known as “the destroyer.” In her own way, this is Josephine’s solution to saving the planet and to saving the people. Humans cannot live forever, but by building something that can live on, we too will live on with it.

There isn’t much action in this issue. It’s a lot of flashbacks and talking, but LaValle only had 6 issues to tell what could definitely be an 8 to 10 issue series. It may seem crammed, but I like the speed of the flashbacks, it adds to the intensity. We’re in the present, then it’s the past, then it’s the present, and in each flashback something relevant to the next scene is told to us. It also makes me wonder about how Akai is remembering things. Perhaps we are presented the flashbacks in this manner because Akai is also experiencing sudden flashbacks depending on what is happening to or around him.

OVERALL SCORE: 9.5 / 10

As always, Dietrich Smith gives us gorgeous and detailed scenery with futuristic inventions that really don’t seem that far out of reach, coupled with Joana Lafuente’s colors that shift between a beautiful past and a bleak present day, even if you aren’t a fan of this genre, you can still appreciate the art for sure.

Make sure you pick up a copy of Victor LaValle’s Destroyer #5 from your local comic store!

Happy reading!