In 1973, with the cosmic minded Jim Starlin at the helm, Marvel comic superheroes were doing far more than fighting crime on the streets. They were trying to save the Universe from ancient Gods and beings whose threats to humanity were kept secret from the average man and woman on the street. When the average man or woman came into contact with these beings, it often resulted in tragic and catastrophic results for the humans.
Such was the case for Arthur Douglas and his wife and young child, as they drove through the Nevada desert, they are attacked by an alien spacecraft. Arthur and his wife are killed and their daughter Heather survives. The alien who attacked the Douglas family is none other than the mighty Titan Thanos who believes that the family had spied upon him and his spacecraft and had to die. Why the great mad Titan Thanos needs to be in a spacecraft at this time is not explained. Kronos, grandfather of Thanos realizes his grandson is mad and decides that he must create a super being able to do battle with the Titan. Believing this superhero must also bare Thanos a great hatred, he takes the spirit of Arthur Douglas and transplants it into the body of this powerful being. This new creature is nearly invulnerable to all forms of physical injury, with superhuman strength and durability, and the ability to survive in the vacuum of deep space. He can also survive indefinitely without air, food or water. The creature can fly using cosmic energy and project energy blasts from his hands. Thus, Arthur Douglas was turned into Drax the Destroyer. A super being created for the sole purpose of killing the mad Titan Thanos.
Heather, Arthur’s young daughter, was taken by the being called Mentor who is the father of Thanos. Mentor takes Heather to Titan and raises her as his own. She will later become the Moondragon and her path and that of the Destroyer are intractably linked.
Drax the Destroyer is intelligent, able to fly through the cosmos with great power and speed and a singular, obsessive purpose. To kill the Titan Thanos. He battles Thanos many times and comes into contact with Captain Marvel (Mar-vell) and Adam Warlock and even becomes a member of the Infinity Watch in his epic journeys throughout the cosmos. His memories are restored to him and he watches as Captain Marvel defeats Thanos. Drax, robbed of his purpose, attacks Marvel nearly destroying him. Adrift, Drax the Destroyer wanders space, fighting battles against those that would oppressed the innocent but more often, simply lost, waiting for the moment when the Titan Thanos would be resurrected. When this happens Drax stands alongside Marvel, the Avengers, and Adam Warlock to defeat the mad Titan. It is also along this time that Drax finds his long lost daughter, who has now grown into the cosmic being Moondragon. Together they search the Universe for knowledge but Moondragon turns evil and Drax the Destroyer must battle his own child to save innocent lives. To stop her father, Moondragon drains him of his life essence, leaving him in a spiritual coma. When he recovers, his physical abilities are greatly enhanced, but his mental abilities are horribly damaged. He becomes what he appears to be today. A smaller version of the Incredible Hulk. He can no longer fly and all of his prior cosmic powers are gone. Instead he is a super strong and powerful fighter.
Most people know Drax from the live action film Guardians of the Galaxy, played by the WWE wrestler Dave Bautista. It is fitting because that what this character has been turned into. A caricature of a WWE wrestler and that is really too bad because as you can see, Drax started out as so much more and in doing this, Marvel has removed all of the humanity from the character. They lost Arthur Douglas. Tossed aside and forgotten. It was the spirit of Arthur Douglas that gave Drax the Destroyer life, his purpose and his soul.
But I guess that wasn’t marketable enough for Marvel.
Drax the Destroyer first appears in Iron Man #55, in February of 1973. Marvel performed their lobotomy on him in 2004, just in time to become the feeble minded muscle behind the Guardians of the Galaxy. A comic, until the film came about, was sub par at best. Now Drax the Destroyer simply plays behind the bastard pretty boy Starlord and a genetically enhanced rodent.
Drax the Destroyer started off as so much more. He could have ruled over worlds….he could have been a contender!