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The Destroyer
Fighting the Night and Fog


    American newspaper correspondent Keen Marlow is captured by the vicious Nazis and thrown into prison. As good fortune would have it, Keen's cellmate turns out to be a scientist who has discovered a serum that will transform an ordinary man into a "super soldier." But the good doctor refuses to give the formula to the Nazi regime. While awaiting the inevitable death sentence, this scientist gives a vial containing the secret serum to Keen Marlow. Keen vows to use his new abilities to free all oppressed people. But, before they can escape, the good scientist is killed. Keen, now quite mad, sets out to "destroy" the evil Nazis in revenge for their atrocities. Once he achieves his vengeance on his captors, Keen Marlow dons the frightening uniform of the Destroyer! With his newfound superhuman strength, speed, and agility, the Destroyer sets out to wreak havoc on the Nazi menace all throughout Europe.

Comments

    The Destroyer was one of Timely’s more solid second-tier heroes, appearing in over forty issues of seven different Timely comics. But like the Whizzer he was simply a relief hitter who filled out various Timely comics without gaining a permanent home anywhere. His cover features in Mystic Comics, vol. 1 and the early issues of in All Winners Comics suggest that Timely hoped for big things from the character, but, alas, it was not to be.

    The character’s origin parallels Captain America’s (the wartime setting, the kindly scientist, the strength-enhancing formula). But he was an eerie variation on his all-American prototype. Unlike Steve Rogers, a rejected Army applicant, Keen Marlow was a war correspondent (a wartime variation on comics’ standard reporter) who saw first-hand Nazi atrocities. He usually operated directly against the Axis from behind the enemy lines. With his chalk-white face mask and skull chest emblem, he evoked dread in the enemy more than inspiration for America. Florence von Banger, a spy, helped him occasionally.

    As might be expected, the Destroyer went up against Nazis a lot, including Adolph Hitler. His chief enemies had names like Herr Sin, Dr. Dragon, the Scar, and Von Maus (shades of Art Spiegelman!), Captain Achhimmell, and Captain Suicide. And in one story he fought Satan and his consort Madame Satan. When he appeared in the second run of Mystic Comics, he fought against the Japanese. After the war he tried his hand at fighting mobsters in the US.

   The Destroyer has had a complicated post-Silver Age history. Keen Marlow has been discarded in favor of the Englishmen Brian Falsworth and Roger Aubrey, who were successively the “Mighty Destroyer.” In Midnight Sons Unlimited # 5, the Destroyer along with the Blazing Skull and Union Jack (Brian Falsworth in another identity) teamed up to fight the Nazis. More recently, the “Mighty Destroyer” has appeared as the leader of the V-Battalion’s Penance Council in Thunderbolts.


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Last Known Legal Copyright Holder:
Timely Publications (Marvel Comics) 1946
Sightings:
Mystic Comics #'s 6 through 10
All Winner's Comics #'s 2 through 12
USA Comics #'s 6, 8 through 14, 16 & 17
Kid Komics #'s 4, 5 & 6, 9 & 10
All Select Comics / Blonde Phantom Comics #'s 6 & 10
Complete Comics #'s 1 & 2
Daring Comics (2nd Series) #'s 11 & 12

First Appearance
:
10/41
Last Appearance: Spring 1946


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