Review: The Destructor #1

The Destructor #1 cover
Cover by Larry Lieber and Wally Wood

The Destructor #1
Published and © by Atlas (Seaboard), February 1975

Title: “The Destructor”
Synopsis: Jay Hunter’s criminal activities get his scientist father killed – but not before the old man helps him become a superhero.

Writer: Archie Goodwin
Penciler: Steve Ditko
Inker: Wally Wood

Review: One of the best series of the entire Atlas (Seaboard) line, The Destructor is one part Spider-Man, one part Daredevil. That makes sense, given those are the characters Steve Ditko and Wally Wood were best known for at Marvel. The pair makes for an odd but excellent art team here, with Ditko particularly being in fine form. There’s a bit of a struggle for control, with both artists’ styles quite apparent throughout. But, for the most part, it’s the strengths of each that shine through. Given room and time to grow, this series could have been outstanding.

Grade: B+

Second opinion: “Artistically, the book is chock-full of that goofy Ditko charm, but The Destructor is essentially a thinly veiled knockoff of Marvel’s Daredevil with a mob-flavored version of Captain America’s origin.” – Mike Hall, Comic Effect #34, April-May 2003 … “An obvious Spider-Man rip-off, the Destructor was nonetheless an enjoyable series.” – Frank Plowright, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983 … “Not a masterpiece, but certainly one of the better Atlas titles.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: An inspired Ditko on a book that wants to be Spider-Man? Hard to go wrong with that.

Character quotable: “Bringin’ down Raven’ll take something more viciousa smasher, a destroyer … a DESTRUCTOR!” – Jay Hunter, about to don his Destructor togs for the first time

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on Aug. 5, 2009.

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