By Daniel Vlasaty
It appears that Fantagraphics is getting into the super-hero game. And to do so they are going all the way back to the beginning of the genre and starting from there. One of the first titles under their All Time Comics banner is Crime Destroyer, an over-the-top, ridiculous Batman stand-in. This book is fun and silly and just a straight forward book. There are no hidden messages or meanings. There’s nothing left for the reader to decipher, everything is laid out right there on the page. In thought bubbles and (possibly) an excessive amount of narration.
Crime Destroyer hates ambushers, at least that’s what he tells the, the readers, while he is in the process of being ambushed. Crime Destroyer is a man that hates crime. Crime Destroyer will do whatever it takes to stop crime. Crime Destroyer has two giant fists for shoulder pads and those giant fists shoot out smaller fist-shaped projectiles. When Crime Destroyer is asked by a friend, and former war buddy, to look after his family (because he can’t from inside his prison cell), Crime Destroyer swears that he will do whatever he can to keep his friend’s family safe. Even if it means taking on a sewer-dwelling satanic cult single handedly.
All Time Comics: Crime Destroyer is written by Josh Bayer. I’m not familiar with his work at all so I can’t say if the book is written in his normal style or if it’s written as a throwback to superhero comics of yesteryear, specifically Silver and Bronze Age comics. This issue is heavy on exposition and (like I said above) narration and thought-bubbles. We are given every bit of information we need when we need it. Nothing left open-ended. Normally, I hate this kind of writing. I have a hard time reading older comic books because of the cheese-factor. But here, I think it works, since I am taking this book as a ridiculous homage to the superheroes of the past. I am taking it for what it is, at face value. It’s a book where there was no middle ground. Where things were either good or bad and nothing else.
It’s okay, every once in a while, to read a comic book that it just fun and silly and weird.
The art in this issue is drawn by the late Herb Trimpe. His is another name I am not familiar with. His art is simple and stylized and definitely has that “classic superhero” feel to it. It fit the writing perfectly. Benjamin Marra did the inks for this issue, and his is the only name attached to this book that I know (from his amazing and hilarious book Terror Assaulter O.M.W.O.T. (One Man War on Terror)). And his work on this book is good and sharp and give everything a crisp, solid feel. But I feel that Matt Rota’s colors are what really stand out here. They are trippy and smooth and pop out on every single page.
Crime Destroyer is a weird book. It’s got a great look and feel to it, but it’s also one I can’t really figure out. I’m not sure if it’s a serious book or if it’s all a joke. But I also don’t know if it matters. I had fun while reading it, even while I was shaking my head at the over-the-top ridiculous parts. It’s silly and strange and I know that there’s nothing ground-breaking over even original happening here, but that also doesn’t matter.
I think it’s safe to say that Crime Destroyer is not for everyone. I can see how some people will hate it. But I think it’s an enjoyable book that doesn’t ask you to do any of the work. Just roll with it and have some fun.
I am excited to check out more Crime Destroyer and also some of the other books that come up in the All Time Comics shared universe.
All Time Comics: Crime Destroyer #1