Victor LaValle’s Destroyer – A Review
H.P. Lovecraft remains one of the most influential writers of the 21st century, continuing to inspire countless works in the name of Chutulu. Born from the very pages of Lovecraft’s most notable works, anthologies continue to share (as well as contribute) various storylines providing further insight into the Chutulu Mythos. Through such mediums one can discover talented authors; a prime example is Victor LaValle. In 2016, LaValle published The Ballad of Black Tom, which parallels the events taking place in Lovecraft’s The Horror at Red Hook. LaValle’s novella was noted not only as a “fantastic novel of a black hustler in 1920’s Harlem”, but also as a worthy companion to Lovecraft’s original story. The Ballad of Black Tom peaked my interest in exploring other works in LaValle’s literary catalogue.
Within the recent months, a particular work of LaValle’s has circulated book retailers in the form of a limited comic book series titled, Victor LaValle’s Destroyer. Released on May 24th, 2017, Destroyer quickly became a summer sell-out as quantities dwindled the same day it hit the shelves. LaValle has described his latest work as a merging of the original Frankenstein monster with the negative influence of racism currently plaguing our nation. This underlying social commentary parallels the current negative social climate. LaValle states, “this comic idea came to me around the summer of 2015, when the stories – and footage – of black men and women and children being gunned down became a recurring motif on the Internet and on television”.
Destroyer engages its readers in several ways through its visual beauty as well as its telling of a story through a social-political lens. Artwork by Dietrich Smith perfectly captures the framework of the storyline. Micaela Dawn, serving as cover artist, brings her art to life with vibrant contrasts against the pallid environment of this morbid tale. The first few pages demonstrate her ability to effectively animate, through her use of color, the story where little to no dialogue exists.
The storyline demonstrates recurring themes of lost love as well as humanity’s lack of compassion. Dr. Baker, the protagonist, suffers a tragic loss that drives her to unimaginable ends as she seeks to fill the void in her life. Meanwhile, the original monster of Dr. Frankenstein witnesses humanity’s disregard for other life forms and commits to a path of destruction in diminishing humankind ‘s dominance on Earth.
A limited comic series of only six issues, Victor LaValle’s Destroyer is more than satisfying for today’s sci-fi/horror aficionado. Not only is the artwork engaging, the social commentary will touch home for many dealing with the negative impact of today’s social climate. Destroyer issues do not last very long on store shelves, so order yours soon or pick them up early on release dates at your local comic shop. Links provided below where you can order your copies as well from Boom! Studios.