By Ashley Gibbs
While the previous issue was packed full of backstory that was woven into the current crisis, Destroyer #5 suffers slightly due to its pacing. Everyone is drawing closer to the same location but this moment has to be prolonged artificially. That being said, it’s still a solid read offering more insight to the characters and more history. The themes presented are dark, serious, and often bleak which can be a bit depressing, especially in an issue with less action to break up the doom and gloom. But despite the science fiction aspects, the issues tackled are real and relevant and they’re things that need to be said even if on the pages of a comic book.
There are a few main story elements going on this time, for one we learn more about Josephine’s research that lead to her reviving her son Akai and that the Lab, where she previously worked, hasn’t figured out how to perfect it. A 3D printer is apparently all it takes to replicate organic life so add in nanobots and you can keep it functioning. While it’s interesting to see the story try to use actual tech to explain some of this it sort of makes it even more farfetched, and that’s not even tackling brain patterns or even the concept of a soul. Perhaps leaving some of these things a mystery would have helped. We also learn more about her husband and that he wasn’t a deadbeat dad; rather he was blackmailed into staying away from his family. One can hope for a family reunion and a happy ending but I don’t think this story is gearing towards that. Of course the Monster shows up as he finally attacks the Lab and we’re also given more backstory on the fateful night Akai was shot by police, it’s an important moment that needs to be read, not explained. An overall well-written number of pages just a few slow moments trying to collect all the key players in one spot.
Quality art accompanies this issue as always. The color pallet helps tell the story where words aren’t needed, though there is quite a bit of talking nonetheless. But one point that the art really helped carry was when the Monster landed at the Lab and laid eyes on their version of Victor Frankenstein. For a brief moment his eyes showed humanity, that deep desire hidden in the Monster to always be loved by his father. It was only one panel but that’s all it took to tell an entire story just in his eyes, a testament to an excellent artist. While the action is top notch as well and every face carries emotions, this scene is a stand-out along with Akai walking to the bus stop on the night of his murder. That scene works beautifully due to having fewer details, using only haunting silhouettes.
Only one issue away from the thrilling conclusion of this series, it’s been a surreal ride. It’s nice to see a powerful message coupled with a fantastical story and eye-catching artwork, Destroyer #5 once again delivers on all accounts. A notable topic that popped up before and mentioned again by Josephine, is the speculation that one day AI will rule where man once did, a common trope but one that seems to become a reality as technology advances. An interesting point of view seeing as how she fought to bring her son back though accepts that the life of man is short and doomed. This is only one of many topics to ruminate on while readers wait for the finale.
Writer: Victor LaValle
Art: Dietrich Smith
Colors: Joana Lafuente
Letters: Jim Campbell
Publisher: BOOM! Studios