Thor Movie

The Destroyer: A Retrospective

You saw it at Comic-Con, now get the full comics history of one of Thor's deadliest villains

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By Marc Strom

The Destroyer at Marvel's San Diego Comic-Con 2010 booth
Behind Odin's massive throne at the Marvel Booth at San Diego Comic-Con 2010 stood two sliding doors that, when opened, revealed none other than the Destroyer, one of the most powerful entities to ever menace Thor and his fellow Asgardians.

While the Destroyer's role in the upcoming film remains shrouded in mystery, its history in the comics goes back more than 40 years! Fear not, True Beleivers, because we've got the highlights of its comics career just for you!

Loki's Plaything

The Destroyer, powered up
As revealed during its first appearance in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #118, Odin created the Destroyer as a last defense against an apocalyptic threat. Odin gave it so much power that none save the Allfather himself could possibly stop it, yet the Destroyer has no mind of its own. Instead, anyone who comes near the Destroyer when it lacks a host can take control of the monstrous weapon, leaving their own body an empty shell.

The mischievous Loki first arranged for an archaeologist with less-than-noble intentions to awaken the Destroyer in an attempt to stymie Thor. But the Trickster soon realized the Destroyer could very well kill Thor, an act that would lead to Loki's own death at the hands of an enraged Odin. In the end, Loki was forced to help Thor defeat the very threat he set upon the Odinson.

For more, read JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #118-119, collected in ESSENTIAL THOR, VOL. 1.

A Herald of Galactus

The Destroyer and Thor
The Destroyer would return a number of times, including once when the Lady Sif took possession of the weapon to protect a depowered Thor from the Wrecker. Thor soon offered it up to the world-devouring Galactus as a new herald in exchange for the freedom of his previous herald, Firelord. In the type of inspired insanity only Marvel can accomplish, the Destroyer served as a loyal herald, finding the High Evolutionary's Counter Earth and fighting against the Fantastic Four for that world's existence.

For more, read THOR #224-225 and FANTASTIC FOUR #172-175, the latter of which is collected in ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR VOL. 8.


Earth's Last Hope

The Destroyer meets his fate
The Destroyer's destiny caught up with him as the Fourth Host of the Celestials--the very threat that Odin created the Destroyer to stop--came to pass a final judgment over Earth. In the climactic battle, Odin sends his own mind into the Destroyer, drawing upon the life energies of all those in Asgard until it grows to the size of the Celestials themselves. In a battle fierce enough to sear the eyes of any reader, the giant Destroyer takes up the Odinsword and dukes it out with the Celestials until they accomplish what not even the Mighty Thor could do: The total destruction of the Destroyer.

For more, read THOR #300, collected in THOR: THE ETERNALS SAGA VOL. 2.

Thor, the Destroyer

Thor inhabits the Destroyer
While a number of artists have drawn the Destroyer through the years, none have deviated too far from its original design, which also inspired the Destroyer from "Thor" seen at Comic-Con. The only significantly different design came from artists Walter Simonson and Sal Buscema, in a story penned by Simonson that saw Thor's mind transferred into the Destroyer shell as his real body was destroyed.

After the Fourth Host reduced the Destroyer to slag, Loki managed to rebuild it from the little metal left over. The villain hoped to defeat a weakened Thor with the weapon, but his plan backfired. The Son of Odin took control of the Destroyer himself after his own body had been reduced to nothing.

For more, read THOR #380-382, collected in THOR VISIONARIES: WALTER SIMONSON VOL. 5.

Thor-Killer

The Destroyer, deadly weapon
Dan Jurgens and John Romita, Jr. kicked off their epic run on the Asgardian Avenger's title with an event few thought possible: The death of Thor. The Destroyer, controlled by a man named Colonel Chase, unleashed its full power on Thor, leaving the Son of Odin's soul in Hela's grip until the mighty one managed to escape back to the mortal world.

Single-handedly defeating the entire Avengers, the Destroyer succumbed to Thor's second attack, an onslaught of thunder and brute force that could level nations. Later, Thor would ask for Colonel Chase's assistance in freeing the trapped Asgardians from the Dark Gods, which the military man would only agree to should the Odinson help restore the Colonel's mind to its proper body. After aiding in the final battle against the Dark Gods, Odin fulfilled Thor's end of the deal by transporting Chase's life essence to his comatose body.

For more, read THOR Vol. 2 #1-2 and #11-12, collected in "THOR BY DAN JURGENS & JOHN ROMITA, JR. VOLS. 1 and 2

 

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