Thursday, August 7, 2014


For instance, this is New Jersey.

It’s Your Humble Editor’s position that more superheroes need to come out of New Jersey. Obviously, New York gets all the love, but what about their nearest neighbor – if superheroes are like a solid percentage of professionals, they don’t live in the city, they just commute. They must at least drive through Jersey. I know folks who live in New Jersey, so I know they have people there, despite what their reputation might suggest actually lives there (Mole people, radioactive wasteland survivors, minor devils) – I’ve been to their houses! They’ve got a new township every three blocks, they must have enough people in Jersey to get a few original superheroes … and besides the place is a toxic waste dump, what better place to gain powers?

Well, striking out for the Garden State is The Destructor, the superhero who proves all the good names are taken! One of Seaboard-Atlas Comics’ longest-running titles – at a whopping four issues! – The Destructor was the product of the veritable dream team of Archie Goodwin, Steve Ditko, Wally Wood and paint fumes, and is one of the few Atlas heroes to get through their run without a dramatic third-issue switch to his premise, look and powers (sort of).

Yeah. JUST like a cat.
The Destructor is secretly Jay Hunter, formerly a low-ranking assistant mobster (to be fair, he worked his way up from mafia stockboy through the cosa nostra mailroom) whose father is a scientist who hovers somewhere between Jonas Salk and Timothy Leary on the “Scientific Endeavors” scale of the twentieth century. When head mobster Max “That’s So” Raven gives orders to have young Jay iced – he was ambitious, but TOO ambitious, so keep that in mind if you have any job interviews lined up, that’s an important job-hunting tip – the over-zealous gunman pounds both Jay and his scientist father with sufficient lead to sink a battleship.

In their mutual last moments of life, Jay’s father crams a thermos full of his secret experiment down Jay’s throat – it’s a serum which gives a human being “full freedom of his senses” and allows  “all body system able to function as MAXIMUM!” I’ve heard it also “gives you wings.” The result is that Jay gains super-powers and, after the suitable mourning period, decks himself out in a costume to avenge his father and bring down the criminal empire of Max Raven.

Of course, destroying one measly mobster isn’t a big task for a fella with Destructor’s powers, so the subsequent four issues involve him taking his war all the way up to the head of the Syndicate, which itself starts getting him involved with his own cadre of supervillains the deadly Slaymaster, the deadly Deathgrip, the deadly Huntress, her assistant the deadly Lobo, and the deadly scientist behind all of these deadly villains, the deadly Dr.Shroud – deadly, every one of ‘em!

In his final issue, the Destructor falls into an underground city full of The Outcasts – essentially bog-standard comic book mutants who were spawned by errant beta and gamma radiation emanating from the damaged power plant around which they make their home. With a behind-the-scenes decision apparently realizing, this far in, that The Destructor’s powers were basically identical to Atlas’ other Ditko co-creation, Tiger-Man, a sudden radiation leak amps up Destructor’s power set by giving him explosive bursts of energy from his hands! Yay, now he really is a Destructor! I mean, I’ve known a lot of Destructors in my time, and you’re just not actually a Destructor if you can’t fire deadly bolts from your hands.

With Atlas crashing and burning soon thereafter, Destructor is left with his explosive hands at the mercy of the duplicitous Outcasts with the Syndicate still in full operation and a war about to break out in the underground community where he has signed on as a soldier. I’m sure it all worked out for the best, though.

"Nothing will mean beans ever again!"


Bram said...

Best Jersey-based superheroes? The Craptacular B-Sides

neofishboy said...

The design of Destructor's logo is bad and he should feel bad. I think that "O" actually makes me angry.

Calamity Jon said...

Wash out your mouth, that's a Gaspar Saladino logo!

neofishboy said...

Hey, 1975 was a weird year for everybody ...

Did he do Devilina too? 'Cuz that one looks great.

Calamity Jon said...

I know he did the whole full-color line, but I don't know if he did the magazines too.

Popular Posts