THE DESTROYER #9

“Dr. Quake”
Writer: Will Murray
Artists: Rik Levins and Chris Ivy

A man meets a mysterious death in a cave in California. Seems the local chamber of commerce in San Aquino are being extorted by a Dr. Quake. In exchange for earthquake insurance they won’t get killed by an earthquake. So CURE sets up Remo as the new owner of a department store. Remo finds out the local sheriff is the bag man for Dr. Quake and sets up a meeting. He brings along Chiun who gets angry at the sheriff for him calling him a chink. He is Korean not Chinese and kills the man. Then they take out the other men except one. He doesn’t know anything so Chiun takes him out.

They then visit Dr. Smith’s contact a Dr. Forben. Forben has developed a water laser that is designed to prevent earthquakes. He also has a hot daughter named Jacki who Remo makes a date with. She takes him to a cave and tries to kill him with the water laser. Chiun rescues him and they go to confront the father. Only its the twin daughter who is also in on the extortion. She sets off the water laser to destroy California but Chiun manages to stop the machine and kills the twin in the process. Dr. Forben doesn’t seem to care that his daughter’s are dead but wants to continue his experiments. Chiun induces a heart attack so his experiments don’t endanger the world.

“Warren Murphy Speaks”

An interview with Warren Murphy the co-creator of the Destroyer series. He tells how while working in politics in New Jersey he met a reporter named Richard Sapir. The two became friends and wrote this idea they discussed into a book. A good thing the series was a success since everyone Murphy was working with was put in jail. Deciding writing was better than the seedy world of New Jersey politics he when into it full time. He tells how the characters came about and how the two wrote the books. His take on the movie and TV pilot and the ghost writers that were hired for the series including his wife and this comics writer Will Murray. A very interesting and informative interview.

So this is the last issue in the series. I really think the series ended on a high note. All the stories were excellent and the interview confirmed that they are faithful to the book series. Which just makes me want more to check them out some day in the future. Too bad it didn’t last but I suppose the big black and white magazines were just not something that there was a market for. Indeed the long running Savage Sword of Conan came to an end a few years later. I would like to see a revival of this format. I think it would meet with success. So I thank Marvel for introducing me to this fascinating adventure series that has sold over 30 million books.

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THE DESTROYER #8

“America is Worth a Life”
Writer: Will Murray
Artists: Lee Weeks and Brett Blevins

Late at night Dr. Smith the head of CURE is working when the computer system is penetrated. Someone now knows about CURE. Smith assigns MacCleary to find Remo and give him the assignment to track down the culprits and kill them. MacCleary finds Remo hiding in a closet from Chiun who wants to cure him of his fear of heights. Going to jump out of an airplane without a parachute. Remo refuses the assignment because he has some morals that won’t have him kill someone blindly. So MacCleary goes to do the job as Remo gets to jump out of an airplane.

MacCleary finds the house and when he enters falls through a trap door in the floor. The place is run by Cuban intelligence. Now Dr. Smith is facing the prospect of closing down CURE to protect the President. That means killing himself and everyone involved with the agency. He sends Remo and Chiun to find MacCleary and if necessary kill him. So the two go to the house and indeed find it full of armed Cubans. They take them out with easy and rescue MacCleary who is wounded and Remo allows him to kill himself with his own hook. The place is destroyed and the agents killed thus saving CURE.

“The So-Called Destroyer Solar System”
Writer: Will Murray
Artists: James W. Fry and Bill Sienkiewicz

A letter from Chiun explaining what this is. Seems someone was asking why the Destroyer isn’t in the Official Marvel Universe Handbook. Short answer the master of Sinanju does not associate with individuals who wear their underwear on the outside. So he compiles a Solar System of the Destroyer since there are only four characters. A drawing and fact sheet follows for Emperor David the First, Chiun, Reigning Master of Sinanju, The Late Conrad MacCleary and Remo Williams. Can’t understand the question of First Appearance and has Remo munching down fast food.

So in this issue Remo gets to meet Emperor Smith the head of CURE. Actually a doctor and an unassuming old man who according to Chiun secretly rules America. We get some more antics with Chiun teaching Remo to overcome his fear of heights. Appears Sinanju masters don’t need a parachute when jumping from a plane. This is the end of MacCleary. A somewhat amoral character with a heavy drinking problem. But as Chiun states in the profile a friend to the House of Sinanju for bringing the proper payment. I wonder if this happened early in the book series. Remo continues to grow as a Sinanju master and should be interesting to see the dynamic with Emperor Smith.

THE DESTROYER #7

“Stone Killer”
Writer: Will Murry
Artists: Rik Levins and Chris Ivy

In the jungles of Peru a college activist meets with the Shining Path rebels. Things aren’t going good for the Maoist world revolution. Recruitment is way down. The activist only collected $69 dollars to give them. That is after the airfare for our college activist. While here the guerrillas give her a juice from a leave that causes stone to liquify for a brief period of time. This will be used to strike back at the corrupt Capitalists and wake up the people to the need for a revolution.

So they use it on the Statue of Liberty only it just turns the base to mush. Didn’t work on copper. Seems the C.Y.L.T Communist Youth Thought League didn’t know that copper isn’t stone. They haven’t been going to class and their leader orders them to start so they know stuff. Here Remo and Chiun try to infiltrate the group. Remo says that Chiun is the twin brother of Ho named Ho Chi Mung. The dolts believe him but it all falls apart when Chiun takes exception to him being recognized as Vietnamese and not a Korean. Luckily Remo gets him out of the way by reminding him is soap is about to start. Later Remo finds out they are going to attack Mount Rushmore.

Remo and Chiun find them spraying the juice on Washington then Lincoln. Chiun and Remo manage to hold up the images from sliding down until they solidify. Then they chase the commies onto a ledge where Chiun goads them by disparaging Mao. This gets them mad that they lose their footing and fall to their deaths.

“Destroyer Gallery”
Artist: Lee Weeks

Four full page drawing of Remo in action.

Well this was another funny story. Now this was a ridiculous satire back in 1990. Sadly there are Antifa thugs out there that think just like this. Universities are just popping these dipshits out like an assembly line. I think the guy who wrote this didn’t realize how prescient he was. I really do love this series. I must check out the books sometime.

THE DESTROYER #6

“Mafia Crossfire”
Writer: Will Murray
Artists: Carmine Infantino and Tom Morgan

A man in a sportscar is pulled over by a highway patrolman. Only it is really McCleary who is posing as one and shoots the man in the head. Later he tells Chiun that Remo is dead and shows him the body. Chiun is upset because this ruins his reputation. His pupil is killed by a bullet that he couldn’t dodge. So he goes back to Korea. Then McCleary tells Remo about the assassination. Remo was given the face of a mob hitman known as the Miami Vise. CURE had plans to infiltrate Remo into the mob. The mob is going to war between rival Dons in Boston and Rhode Island. Remo is to infiltrate and get the evidence to put them away.

So in his new persona he finds out he is to make a hit on the don in Rhode Island. He goes down and does shoot the don and his guards. Later while telling the Boston don he explains they were ready for him and he was betrayed by someone in his organization. Remo gets into a fight and kills the suspected traitor. The don plans to go down and claim Rhode Island. Only the other don is alive. He was wearing a kevlar vest. It is revealed that McCleary was the man who was feeding info to both dons. A fight ensues where both sides kill each other. McCleary’s plan worked in he got the two sides to kill each other. When Remo gets back he finds Chiun waiting for him. He wasn’t fooled by the dead body and promises to increase Remo’s training.

“Why There is No Letter Page”
Writer: Will Murray
Artists: James Fry and Chris Ivy

A letter from Chiun on why the magazine has no letter page. The reason is there is no letters worthy of being printed. They all praise the incompetent writer and artists and in some cases Remo. There is not one in praise of Chiun. A hilarious letter to explain the absence of a letter column.

“Destroyer Gallery”
Artists: James Fry, Chris Ivy and Stan Drake.

Portfolio of Remo and Chiun in various action sequences. One is Remo lecturing Chiun he can’t waste people because they interrupt his soap operas.

This was a real fun issue. This is the first that showcases Remo. The other ones before had him relying a lot for help from Chiun. He is now gaining enough experience to go it alone. A really wild and convoluted plot that somehow works. This also prominently features McCleary and shows his Machiavellian plot to take down the mafia. Also shows a growing relationship between Remo and Chiun. A really fun issue.

THE DESTROYER #5

“The Fist of Gallah”
Writer: Will Murray
Artists: Lee Weeks and Chris Ivy

The country in on alert because the nation of Ireanistan is upset over a bad book of poetry that basically calls the ayatollah a fink. They have vowed an unstoppable missile with a nuclear warhead in retaliation. Instead of a flying missile it is the Fist of Gallah a huge vehicle that leaves a barn in Mexico with two suicide drivers who are willing to die for Gallah and Bislam. The vehicle plows through everything. Even the tanks of the National Guard can’t stop it. Unfortunately the two drivers are not the sharpest pencils. They forget to bring a map. Luckily for them they manage to ask a passing hippy in his van the way. Then they drive the hippy off the road.

So CURE decides to sent Remo. First he has to be taught by Chiun how to tip a vehicle. Chiun manages to flip over a speeding bus then flip it back. It is all about finding the center. Remo though just doesn’t get it but learns how to jump on top of the bus. So Remo goes out and jumps on top of the traveling vehicle. It is just hours away from Quincy, Massachusetts the home of author William Pierce. Just before they enter one of the terrorists has to go to the bathroom. The other doesn’t want to stop since they will be dead in a moment. The other is insistent since he doesn’t want to enter paradise with wet pants.

So when he gets out Remo knocks him out and takes his place with the head covering. So they drive on until they reach a drawbridge that was lifted. So Remo acts and breaks the crank that was to set off the explosion. He tries to reach for his pistol but the other drives the vehicle into the river. It continues going as the two escape. Remo pushes the terrorist under the wheels which grind him into the riverbed. The world is saved once again.

“How Remo Came to Sinanju”
Writer: Will Murray
Artist: Don Perlin

Chiun is writing his memoirs of his experiences. He has a fanciful take on his training with Remo. That he is forced to take this job to teach a dumb white American the arts of Sinanju. While writing he catches Remo coming back with a bucket of fried chicken wings. Thus another punishment for eating dead chicken and burned cow meat.

This series just keeps getting better with each issue. Now the names are slightly changed I guess to not offend a certain country and religion but its very obvious what they mean so I don’t get what the point was. The Iranian fatwah against Salmon Rusdie was in the news at that time so this was a clear satire about it. There is a lot of humor especially from the dumb suicide drivers One says he would kill the other if they weren’t going to die soon. Also the whole stopping for a pee break was priceless. The continued interactions between Chiun and Remo continues to be the main draw for this series. While Chiun is always acting with contempt we get a brief moment where Chiun is actually admitting to himself that his pupil shows great promise. Remo himself is no longer trying to escape and has learned much already so this relationship is growing.

THE DESTROYER #4

“Mass Hysteria!”
Writer: Will Murray
Artist: Tom Morgan

A group of ninja clad woman break into the Folcroft sanitarium. They kidnap a young invalid named Randolph Maas. Maas has a condition that turns his skin blue. The women bitch about how hard it is to carry the man and decide to hide him in a trash can. Then pick him up when the trash is taken out. They do and also manage to almost hit the garbage truck has they drive off.

McCleary is charged to investigate the kidnapping. It takes him to a genetics lab run by women. When he gets there the place is a wreck and a giant blue monster is running amok. Bullets don’t stop it. The surviving woman tells that she and her colleagues were injecting Maas with radiation infected testosterone to create a perfect sexual athlete. So Remo and Chiun are assigned to stop him. Maas is tearing up the downtown area. The police can’t stop him. So Remo uses a giant blow up doll to lure him into the countryside. There Chiun uses the Sinanju technique of tapping his wrist which makes the giant impotent and docile.

“How the Thieving Ninja Came to Be”
Writer: Will Murray
Artist: Steve Ditko

Chiun explains the history of the ninja to Remo. Back in 1282 master Sam was hired by the emperor of Japan to eliminate his enemies. Sam was being constantly assigned to kill someone each day. One day he notices a spy from the emperor watching and captures him. The spy is to learn the secret techniques of Sinanju. The people Sam has been killing are just peasants and not a threat to the emperor. Sam has contempt for the Japanese and their crude imitation of his techniques. So he allows them to continue but they must cover their faces with a mask.

Well this was a funny story. We find out that McCleary is a drunken lush. That Dr. Smith the head of Cure is a cheap tightwade with money. As always the interactions between Remo and Chiun are the real draw to this title. Chiun is teaching Remo how to catch knives in his mouth but he is using rubber. He decides to use a real one and and almost kills Remo. He also gets angry with Remo for leaving to date a nurse and taps him on the wrist which is a sort of technique for impotency. An important plot point. And there is the time Chiun asks what gook means since he can’t find it in the dictionary. Not wanting to further anger him Remo makes up it stands for Gracious Omniscient Oriental Korean. Remo may not be the sharpest pencil but he can sure bullshit.

There were some dark moments with McCleary. He can casually execute people as he shoots the nightwatchman for lying to him and the surviving woman scientist. Still for the most part it is a lighthearted series.

The second was an interesting story and explains Chiun’s anger with the ninja that wasn’t wearing a mask from last issue. The thing we learn is Sinanju masters only kill for honor or money. Sam was paid to kill peasants so he let the ninjas live.

THE DESTROYER #3

“How Many Ninjas Does It Take to Screw Up A Light Bulb?”
Writer: Will Murray
Artist: Lee Weeks

At the Pentagon a driver wait for an admiral. While waiting a ninja secretly sneaks into the limo and replaces a light bulb in the fridge. As the car comes to the White House he opens the fridge and the limo explodes. The admiral was going to the President to report on a number of mysterious deaths in the Pentagon. Cure is tasked with the investigation. So Remo and Chiun have to sneak into the Pentagon. While Remo is investigating the admiral’s office he is locked in by security for the night. It is then that he sees a ninja come out of the file cabinet and replace a light bulb. When Remo turns it on it explodes. He follows the ninja to a storeroom where a group have gathered. They have been employed by Khadaff to show that the American military is not safe in its own headquarters. He confronts them but they kick his ass and leave him for dead.

Well this embarrasses Chiun that someone he is training was defeated by mere ninjas. The ninjas stole the techniques of Sinaju and are not worthy opponents. When he hears that the leader is not wearing a mask this infuriates Chiun. So he goes off and has Remo lead him to their hiding place. Chiun manages to easily defeat the ninjas by avoiding their sword swipes and having them kill each other. The leader actually ends up chopping his own head off. So the Libyan threat is eliminated and McCleary rewards Remo with a special Chinese pizza. It has a spare rib as a garnish. Only Chiun comes and throws it in the garbage. He instead makes Remo eat duck and brown rice.

“How Not To Draw Remo Williams”
by Chiun, Master of Sinanju
Illustrations by Lee Weeks

A humorous feature that has Chiun point out all that is wrong with Remo. Also has sketches of Chiun, Dr. Harold W. Smith, Conrad MacClery and a picture of Chiun and Remo dodging bullets.

This was another fun little story. I really love the interaction between Remo and Chiun. This is what really makes the series. So ninjas are infesting the Pentagon. Popping out of filing cabinets where they patiently wait. Apparently Khaddaff will reimburse expenses including gas mileage so they save all their receipts. The guy was a nutjob but apparently quite fair when dealing with his hired assassins.

THE DESTROYER #2

“Golden Rule”
Writer: Will Murray
Artist: Mike Manley

A salvage operation is going on just east of the Dominican republic. An old Spanish Galleon has a solid gold table. The divers bring it up but their employer Mr. Rust is more interested in the stone embedded in the table. He takes the stone and dumps the table back into the ocean. Then with an Uzi he takes out the divers.

Some time later Cure is investigating the theft of uranium. The only clue is a precious metal brokerage named Golden Rule Limited. They have been making news because they are selling off gold below 20% market at the same time buying it at full price through a shell corporation. So Remo and Chiun are sent to investigate. They soon find out that Mr. Rust is using the philosophers stone to turn lead into gold. Just add some scrapping from the stone with uranium and voila lead turns to gold. Only problem is its radioactive. So Rust is on the verge of cornering the market in uncontaminated gold. Fortunately Remo and Chium manage to overcome their bickering to put a stop to this threat to the world economy.

“You Were Cheated”

A message from Chiun about a mistake from issue one. Some pages that showed Chiun were not included and boy his the master of Sinanju pissed. So these missing pages are included. They show Chiun teaching Remo how to dodge bullets and climb walls.

The second issue was another fun one. So once again another ridiculous kooky adventure that involves a missing alchemy procedure that turns lead into gold. Only the gold is radioactive and dangerous. The relation between Remo and Chiun continues to be established. Chiun is a very demanding teacher who constantly browbeats Remo. He is supposed to only eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner with alternating days including fish and duck. No other meat. Of course Remo eats burgers whenever he can. He also is constantly trying to escape to Mexico. We also get introduced to Chiun’s love of American soap operas which he thinks is the only art ever contributed by America. I have a desire to read the books after such entertaining stories.

THE DESTROYER #1

“His Name is Remo”
Writer: Will Murray
Artist: Lee Weeks

A submarine comes at night to a lonely village on the coast of North Korea. They are there to hire Chiun a master of Sinanju. Chuin proves his worth when he takes a man’s pistol and throws it at an approaching North Korean patrol boat and sinking it. He is paid in gold and going to America to teach Remo the way of Sinanju.

In Newark, New Jersey a drug dealer is found dead with his head bashed in by a baseball bat. Next to the body is the badge of officer Remo Williams. He is found guilty of murder and sentenced to the electric chair. Instead of dying he wakes up in a sanitarium with a new face courtesy of plastic surgery. He has been recruited by a secret government agency formed by President Kennedy to fight the crime and corruption that threatens to undermine America’s democracy. Known as Cure it has only two members. Remo is the third and to serve as the enforcement arm for the agency.

Remo is introduced to Chiun who doesn’t like non-Koreans especially white men. He proves to be a harsh teacher and Remo decides to flee. Only nobody will believe him that he is the deceased Remo Williams and goes back to Cure. Meanwhile a defense contractor has invented a new weapon. A pistol that fires a small nuclear explosive. Only problem is the pistol has a limited range and using it is the same as suicide. The developer is taking it home to fix when he is hit by a pickup truck. The driver who is drunk flees not knowing the pistol flew into the back of his truck. He finds it and escapes as the police are coming for him.

Cure gets its first mission for Remo and Chuin. They have to recover the pistol before it is used and causes a nuclear explosion. So they track the man to a school where he has taken hostages. While they plan the attack we get some history on Sinanju. A poor village in Korea was always having to drown their babies during a famine. Known as sending the babies to the sea it was stopped when a man came and taught the villagers skills in fighting. Now the village hired out to emperors, pharaohs and czars as bodyguards and assassins. Later one man was visited by a flaming ring of fire and taught the art of Sinanju. Well the two manage to eliminate the man and retrieve the nuclear pistol.

So back in 1989 Marvel decided to resurrect the black and white magazines. Only The Savage Sword of Conan was still going at the time. They choose to use the Destroyer which was a popular adventure series of books. I never read the books but was familiar with the Fred Ward movie. Someday I would like to check out the books. Anyway this was a fun and enjoyable series. The first issue did a good job of introducing the characters and the background to Sinanju. A bit dark with the babies returned to the sea but for the most part was filled with humor. The nuclear pistol and that someone would be allowed to take home a nuclear bomb is absurd. Yet absurdity is an important ingredient to comedy. A strong start for this series.