June 18, 2008
The Destructor #1 
The 20-page story "The Birth of A Hero" presents the origin of the Destructor, as we meet Jay Hunter, a young runner for some small-town mobsters who's getting a bit too ambitious for his boss, Max Raven. As luck would have it, Jay's father is a scientist working on a serum which will maximize human senses, and dreams of using it to create a super-hero. Just as we get the exposition out of the way, a hit-man comes in to take out Jay, shooting both father and son. As his final act, Jay's father gives him the serum, which quickly improves his body to the point that it can heal the bullet wounds.
On the run from the mob, Jay finds a costume that his father had prepared for the super-hero he dreamed of creating, and takes the identity of the Destructor, using his new powers to disrupt the criminal operations of Raven, who finally calls in some expert help in the form of Slaymaster. The confrontation between the two costumed adversaries is arranged in the Giant Novelty Company warehouse (a mob front, of course, and conveniently full of giant clown heads and other body parts for better fight visuals). The Destructor is pushed to his limits by Slaymaster, finding out new things about how his powers work in the process, and eventually prevails. He then goes to confront Raven directly, only to see Raven killed by his own underlings, eager to take over his operations. Finally we get the old graveside vow, as Jay promises his father to continue fighting crime to make up for causing his death.
While there was nothing remarkably new about this series, stitched together from aspects of Spider-Man, Daredevil, Batman, the Creeper and others, it's a solid start to a series by a trio of top-rate pros, maybe not at the top of their games but certainly close to it. Ditko is pretty much without equal in the field of heroes moving with improbable gymnastics, and despite the obvious set-up of the novelty warehouse setting for the big fight, it's an effective visual. Slaymaster was also a good one-shot villain in the vein of the original Spider-Man series. Wood's inking as always add quite a bit, while usually leaving the essential Ditko elements in place. Unfortunately, the team was only together for two issues here, and only Ditko was left by the fourth and final issue, and the entire Atlas-Seaboard line ("21 Action Packed Full Color Comics!!", as one ad boasts, not to mention the B&W mags) was almost inevitably not long for the world.