By Ashley Gibbs
Destroyer #4 does exactly what it needs to do, and it does it well; giving readers a fair amount of backstory while also revving up the anticipation for the next issue and the upcoming finale. This issue provides a lot of lovely backstory for Dr. Baker and the organization that used to employ her while also adding in a fair amount of action as the Monster and Akai face off. Dr. Baker hasn’t been the most classic of leads, it’s very clear the people against her have no good intentions whatsoever. But this series has done a good job of showcasing that things aren’t always black and white so there could always be more twists and turns. For now, we’re given an excellent issue -my favorite, so far.
Finally, we get to meet and learn about Josephine’s husband, the father of Akai, and much like most characters in this story, their romance is rather unconventional. Simple lunchtime conversations turn into a marriage that soon bears fruit which ultimately leads to Josephine getting fired by her God Complex-stricken boss. Her husband chooses to stay behind, though perhaps not of his own accord and we’re brought back to present day where Dr. Baker and her son are running for their lives from the Monster. There is a continuing trend of bleak tones as the director explains to Josephine how man has ruined the planet and the only thing left to do now is become a god, and even the monster seems to be on an unforgiving rampage against humanity, but the one character who shows any sign of hope is once again Akai. Despite all of his power he refuses to kill and has the innocent of a child unfitting for the world around him. We also meet the Bride which is sadly just a mecha suit, not that it isn’t cool but the name led me to believe it would be another monster.
The artwork continues to be a strong point, as smooth character movement is especially important during the action scenes. But there is still a wealth of emotion present as well, especially during flashback scenes. It’s always touching to see Dr. Baker smile; one can imagine she forgot how to after her son died. While some details are lost during scenes that pan out, it’s not a huge distraction especially given how fast-paced and interesting the accompanying story is. While there are many talented artists, it’s hard to imagine this story coming to life at the hands of any other.
Who exactly is the “destroyer” in this series? The monster? Akai? Or purpose man himself? Victor LaValle continues to weave a thought-provoking and engaging story that will be a lasting impression on readers. Destroyer #4 has great character development, and the writing is a joy to read. We’ve already lost two characters who, while minor, were somewhat humorous, and things are hitting the fan so expect more bodies to fall. One thing I can say for sure is that I have no idea how this story is going to end. Both sides are powerful, with no intention of giving up, so it’s looking to be an interesting finale.
Writer: Victor LaValle
Artist: Dietrich Smith
Colorist: Joana Lafuente
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: BOOM! Studios