Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CBR Drax


Did you know the Ambush Bug's creator Keith Giffen had an hand in almost all of the Guardians of the Galaxy at one point or another? No? It's just something I noticed...

Hooked on a Feeling for more Guardians of the Galaxy reviews:

Comic title: DRAX The Destroyer: Earthfall 
Art by Mitch Breitweiser 
Written by Keith Giffen

Published by Marvel Comics
From 2006
Lineup Marvel Universe/Guardian of the Galaxy series
Format: Trade paperback collecting Drax The Destroyer #1-4.

Created by writer Mike Friedrich and artist Jim Starlin, Drax the Destroyer is a 1970s character that first appeared in an Iron Man comic before he was expanded upon and turned to the much "bigger" cosmic side of the Marvel Universe.

Drax was once a man (originally known as Arthur Douglas!) whose family was killed by the villainous "Eternal" Thanos (whose name will only get more and more familiar to the mainstream audience as Marvel continue producing these new movies). Instead of putting a skull t-shirt, gathering a lot of intelligence, using tons of guns on a vendetta against crime and calling it a day like a certain Frank Castle, Arthur took upon himself to have his body enhanced by technology. Leaving behind his normal human shell and enduring a lot of voluntary transformations in order to take his fight directly to Thanos and be able to have revenge with his own bare hands. Since then Drax has also faced a lot of other galactic-wide threats, always motivated to prevent the death of any more innocents (take that, Frank!).

With his all-new improved super-body Drax was at first originally able to fly, empowered with super-strength and able to project energy blasts. He also had the ability to sense Thanos' presence (which was a pretty useful trick).

Over the years, he met several other Marvel comic characters such as Captain Marvel and Adam Wartlock.

In his quest for more power, Drax looked into getting more and more powerful, to face Thanos by himself. The problem was trading for his nigh infinite stamina and durability made him lose much of his intellect over the years. At his worst, Drax was just yet another slumbering mindless beast like the Hulk.

He finally lost his powers of flight and energy. That is when Drax was captured by the galactic authorities in the Marvel Universe. Where our story picks up, right before Marvel's big epic crossover events: Annihilation and Annihilation: Conquest...

Following his years as this purple-caped annoyance, Drax had finally found his missing daughter Heather, who also survived the attack from Thanos' spaceship. Drax would learn how Heather was then raised by the villain as "Moondragon". Drax first fought Iron Man and a lot more of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. He helped prevent the Cosmic Cube falling into the wrong hands and fought Thanos alongside the Avengers. But Thanos always ended up somehow materializing over again. Can Thanos event be stopped?

At the beginning of our story, we find Drax now aboard this huge interstellar prison transport ship.

Drax is seen in a cell right alongside several other famous classic Marvel cosmic threats, such as Paibok - the Power-Skrull (not to be confused with the "Super-Skrull") one of the Fantastic Four most dangerous foes, this huge tyrannical monster named Lunatik and the often hilarious but always annoying Blood Brothers - dangerous alien sociopaths.

"Earthfall" tells the story of these interplanetary prison-escapees as the prison-ship crashlands on Eart.

Long story short, the ship crashes in these backwoods, near a small town in Alaska. Our cast of villains are the only ones to survive the crash and they decide to plan a way to get off our "backwater" planet. They can't make a run for the big cities, they don't want to let their presence there be known just yet. Earth is home to way too many so called "super-heroes".

We meet this young rebel girl, Cammi. Her only friend appears to be this geeky nerdy schoolmate of hers. When she finds the escapees in the forest, she uses her wits and smarts to get the defeated Drax from the hands of the Blood Brothers. An alien warrior/pet all for herself could be her ticket out of this annoying boring town!

Cammi reminds Drax of his own daughter. He tries protecting her from the power-skrull but Drax has just not been the same recently. Slower and dumber than before. Drax is apparently killed....

But fear not - this is not the end of Drax!

As we see him being kind of reborn into a new, better form. Drax has lost sight of himself, all these years lost to his mindless rage without a direction. The situation forces him to evolve into this better form, slimmer and finally smarter than he has been recently. But also losing his old super-powers along the shell of his former dead body behind.

Drax gets new duds in town. He faces the bad guys showing what "The Destroyer" can really do when he's at the top of his form!

A new space-prison transport ship is on the way to recapture the prisoners. Drax is suddenly instantaneously caught as well, along Cammi in the process!

And this would be the last we would see of Drax before the Annhilation event, where Drax and Cammi are rescued by the Xandarian Nova Corps, when in the aftermath of the story Drax would be recruited by Star-Lord to join the Guardians of the Galaxy to stop a resurrected Thanos!

This is an excellent surprise, a great little "mini-series".

Keith Giffen reimagining of the character is kinda reminiscent of E.T. in a way, if E.T. was this huge hulking green-skinned powerhouse who was a great badass! It's a great revamp of a long-forgotten character that was basically simply always being ridiculed by that time.

It's Keith Giffen at his best, making use of some really funny and smart dialogues. The story is simple but intriguing. It basically only relies on seeing these characters react to one another. It works perfectly on its own aside from any of Marvel's big events, despite working as a prologue to Annihilation.

Mitch Breitweiser is a pretty great artist. He does some great moody art on Drax, stylized to better suit the story.

"Earthfall" has a great tone, with plenty of dark humor. It has sort of a scifi noir-appeal, very reminiscent of the likes of Pitch Black in my eyes. Trading the abandoned planet for small town action.

Drax would be part of the relaunched Guardians of the Galaxy book, where he was finally able to really shine through as a supporting character.

Overall, great action, great art and great characters.

It's a perfect jumping-point for Marvel scifi fans, fans of the Guardians or simply people interested in Marvel's Annihilation saga.

It's a great redeeming story for Drax, usually shown prior to that as this pretty dumb "monster of the week"-kind of character.

And it's all perfectly orchestrated in the hands of Keith Giffen, with the same sarcastic wit and tongue-in-cheek approach as his cult creation Lobo. It's a great reimagining of the character., updating and giving Drax an all-new better look which has since become a staple and iconic look for the character since then.

I'm starting to wonder if most if not all of the new Guardians of the Galaxy had the chance to be reimagined in the hands of Keith Giffen prior to join together for the first time?

Recommended for any fan or newcomer to the Marvel Universe's cosmic side. It's really fun and a great read! It's a perfectly great place to start or a nice re-introduction to one of the weirdos that make up the Guardians of the Galaxy team.

It's more or less this version of Drax that would be used in James Gunn's live-action Guardians of the Galaxy film, portrayed by fan-favorite Dave Bautista!

I give it:
2 / 3 Howards!

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