Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was first published in 1818. From this tale of hatred and fear, LaValle derives a 21st Century parable knowing full well that the monster created by Dr. Frankenstein was never the Boris Karloff version at all. Instead, it was a creation that demanded accountability and could not be escaped. LaValle recognizes and honors this novel that is often considered to be the first science fiction novel, and like he did with The Ballad of Black Tom ( https://thebrazenbull.com/books/ballad-black-tom-victor-lavalle/) and the Lovecraft legacy, he takes a story we think we knew and makes it relevant to the here and now.
In Destroyer, the opening image is of the Monster sitting at the top of an iceberg as if he were on a throne sets a provocative tone. What is often presumed to be a threat, in reality, has agency and nobility that cannot be ignored. Motives and intentions should not be dismissed out of hand. What we might consider a familiar story is not, once we bother to look beneath the surface.
LaValle’s revisiting of the Frankenstein legacy is astounding on two levels. It transcends the sanitized Universal Pictures version of the creature and still feels original. The monster may be a hero, but he is a hero that is appropriately feared. If he is angry there is a reason.
Smith and Lafuente combine bold colors and sharp lines in a hyper-realistic tableau that allows the reader to relate to the story at hand while being repelled at the horror. Chilling and graphic, the art matches the words to flesh out the powerful unease of the narrative.