|Preliminary color sketch of The Destroyer by Cory Walker|
"Destroyer MAX" came about because Editor Aubrey Sitterson wanted to provide Kirkman with the opportunity to cut loose and tell a story with the same amount of graphic violence and mature content featured in Kirkman's creator-owned Image titles like "Brit" and "The Walking Dead." "Aubrey noticed that I hadn't yet been given the chance to do that kind of stuff at Marvel. So they came up with the idea of me doing a MAX book, which I thought was kind of cool, since I love doing crazy stuff in comics," Kirkman told CBR News. "Then Aubrey brought up doing some stuff with the Destroyer, who I was fairly unfamiliar with. He's touted as being Stan Lee's first comic creation, so I thought that aspect was very cool."
While many comics starring World War II heroes take place during the mid-20th Century conflict, Kirkman is going a different route with "Destroyer MAX." "It's a MAX book so it takes place out of continuity but I'm not scrapping everything that came before," Kirkman said. "I'm coming at this series with the assumption that the book started in the 40's and has been published semi regularly for the last sixty some years. So the issues I'm writing would be like 'Destroyer' #764-768. I'm just assuming all those comics that don't exist actually do and we're picking up from there. There will be a sense of how these characters changed and evolved over time."
|Interior art from The Destroyer #1|
"Destroyer MAX" takes place entirely in modern times and stars Keen Marlow, who was the Destroyer back in the 40's. The series finds Marlow, now in his 80's, in the last days of his life and haunted by past mistakes. "In this series he finds out his heart is about to give out and he's only got a small amount of time left. So he's forced to look back on his life and he realizes he's only got a small amount of time to fix the many things he's done wrong," Kirkman explained. "He's basically trying to correct things and prepare the world for his eventual demise. Because this is a world that's not really heavy in heroes and a lot of his villains are still out there running amok. He's basically going to spend the five issues trying to hunt them down and kill them so they can't cause any trouble after he's dead."
Readers familiar with the Destroyer's history may recognize some of the names but not the faces of the villains that the character confronts in the series. Kirkman plans on keeping some of the monikers of the Destroyer's old villains, but the characters will be completely redesigned with a new continuity.
|Preliminary sketch of The Destroyer by Cory Walker|
Marlow's family is very important to him, so "Destroyer MAX" will be an equal mix of family bonding and ultra violence. "It's a MAX book so we're laying it on pretty thick with the violence and gore, because I like that stuff," Kirkman stated. "But at the same time we'll have moments with Keen at his granddaughter's birthday party. So there's a lot of heartwarming family stuff juxtaposed against eyeballs being pushed through people's heads."
|A Destroyer pin-up by Cory Walker|
The chance to cut loose and do some over the top violence was just one of the reasons why Kirkman took the "Destroyer MAX" assignment. The other reason was the project reunited him with friend and "Invincible" co-creator, Cory Walker. "Cory is one of my most favorite artists to work with," Kirkman said. "With Cory, when I get back a page 99% of the time it's exactly the way I wanted it to look. Any time I get to work with Cory I get very excited."
Kirkman hopes fans enjoy reading "Destroyer MAX" just as much as he's enjoyed writing it. "It's my favorite thing that I've done at Marvel and I've only written one script so far," he remarked. "I'm really thrilled with this series."
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