Sep 27, 2008

[Comics] Drax the Destroyer

Drax the DestroyerIn the course of any comic book series, many characters get introduced. Some go on to become major players like new villains or even side-kicks that manage to snag their own titles. Others tend to fade into the background of a particular hero's supporting cast like cameo characters, real world contacts and the like.

In the build-up to the Marvel 2006 series Annihilation, it seems the House of Ideas somewhat borrowed a page from how DC handled the build-up to Infinite Crisis through the use of limited mini-series titles. While it's arguable if one actually copied the idea from the other, what is unique in the Marvel approach was the focus on various characters who mostly played supporting roles in the Marvel Universe, often as villains or anti-heroes.

It was an interesting venture and a crossover that was fairly large in scale but didn't necessarily involve every single hero in the Marvel Universe like how the various Infinity sagas did.

The build-up to Annihilation starts with this 4-issue title, Drax the Destroyer. He's not the most famous Marvel character, in fact for the most part his role in the various titles has simply been as a living weapon created for one purpose - to kill Thanos of Titan. Through the years he's gained new abilities and lost others, has gotten very close to killing the mad Titan while at the same time has hardly managed to dent his plans. He's been a cunning hunter and a dimwitted powerhouse and even a bearer of one of the mysterious Infinity Gems.

Drax.Image via WikipediaIn this title, we find Drax on a prison ship that eventually crash lands on Earth. Among the survivors are Paibok the Power Skrull, Lunatik and the Blood Brothers. Drax appears to be going through a state of shifting strength and intelligence with one waxing as the other wanes. With Paibok taking charge of the other inmates and using the local population as slave labor to salvage the crashed ship for a way off-planet, a confused Drax encounters human child Cammi that he mistakes for his daughter and eventually acts as a pillar for him to cling to as his mind shifts to and fro.

The series was interesting in several ways. First was the use of somewhat lesser-known characters, many of which had not see the light of day for some time now (in many case years), and even then never really gained that much popularity or renown. Even the title character, Drax, was known as little more than a powerhouse flunky who mindlessly pursued Thanos across the Marvel Universe just trying to kill him. All this helped set the tone for the later mini-series building up to Annihilation.

Each of the mini-series seemed to have a particular function that he writer needed to accomplish. In this case, the goal was to bring the character of Drax back into the limelight and restore him to being an intelligent and more viable character as opposed to being a sort of alternate version of the Hulk in a purple cape.

Ultimately, I definitely like the new version of Drax. While he appears to be weaker than he used to be, his restored intelligence certainly balances things out and there's definitely something serious bad ass about a guy going around fighting only with knives. I can only wonder if they ever opt to explain the reason for his unusual tattoos or if they have any symbolic significance.

This title may not be directly tied to the Annihilation series compared to the other books, but the need for a restored Drax is certainly crucial to the rest of the developing series to come.

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