Real Name: Kevin Marlow
Identity/Class: Human mutate
Affiliations: Professor Eric Schmitt, Florence von Banger
Enemies: the Scar, Herr Sin, Von Maus, Dr.Dragon, Satan, Miss Satan, Captain Achhimmell, Captain Suicide
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Occupied Europe
First Appearance: Mystic Comics #6 (Timely, August 1940)
Powers/Abilities: Excellent fighter, skilled with guns and knives. At peak of human fitness thanks to the super-soldier serum.
History: (Mystic Comics #6-10, All Winner's Comics # 2-12, U.S.A. Comics #6, 8-14, 16-17; Kid Komics #4-6, 9-10, All Select Comics #6, 10; Complete Comics #1-2, Daring Comics II #11-12, ga) American journalist Keen Marlow was visiting Europe to report back on the war there, working inside Nazi Germany to expose the atrocities being committed. The Nazis objected to this, and imprisoned him in a concentration camp. In captivity he met Professor Eric Schmitt, a scientist who had created a variant of the super-soldier serum which created Captain America. Schmitt had refused to surrender his discovery to the Germans, and was now awaiting execution as a result. He revealed to Marlow that he had smuggled a vial of the formula in with him, and gave it to Marlow, who swiftly took it and began to plan their escape. Before this could happen, the Professor was killed. Marlow, enraged, swore to destroy the Nazis, broke out, then created the costumed identity of the Destroyer to harass the Germans across the occupied countries. As the war progressed, he also took on the Japanese, and after it concluded, he tried fighting criminals in the U.S.A. for a little while.
Comments: Thanks to Jess Nevins for allowing me to use information from his excellent Golden Age Heroes Directory and his Guide to Golden Age Marvel Characters. Thanks also to Richard Boucher & Darrin Wiltshire @ PR-Publications for permission to use information from their equally brilliant collection of Golden Age Sites, PR Publications. Their knowledge of Golden Age characters far outstrips my own.
The Destroyer (Falsworth)
When the Destroyer was brought back by Roy Thomas in the pages of The Invaders in the 1970s, he changed the character's true identity to Brian Falsworth, son of the British World War One hero, Union Jack, and had him imply that Keen Marlowe had been a creation of the newspapers of the era, not a real person. Falsworth subsequently handed over the identity of The Destroyer to his friend Roger Aubrey, who had formerly been the superhuman known as Dyna-Mite, while he became the new Union Jack. The Falsworth Destroyer is detailed under Union Jack.
It's recently been confirmed that the Keen Marlow Destroyer remains in continuity. Both Marlow and Falsworth operated in the role, allowing the Destroyer to fight the Nazis in one city, then a day later appear somewhere else hundreds of miles away, as a way of confusing the Germans.
The Destroyer (Aubrey)
Real Name: Roger Aubrey
Identity/Class: Human mutate
Occupation: Leader of the Penance Council
Affiliations: The Invaders, the Penance Council of the V-Battalion,
Known Relatives: None
Aliases: The Mighty Destroyer, Dyna-Mite
Base of Operations: during the war Occupied Europe; after the war Active worldwide
First Appearance: as Dyna-Mite Invaders I #14 (Marvel, March, 1977); as the Destroyer Invaders I #26 (Marvel)
Powers/Abilities: The Destroyer is a skilled fighter, still at the peak of human fitness in spite of his advancing years. During his brief sojourn as Dyna-Mite, he was shrunk in size to a few inches high; he retains the ability to grow and shrink in size, but deliberately keeps this ability secret.
History: (Invaders #14-15, 18-21, 27-28, 34, Midnight Sons Unlimited #9) Prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, Roger Aubrey and his friend Brian Falsworth were sympathetic towards Germany, supporting appeasement and the avoidance of conflict between the Nazis and Britain. In 1938, after Brian had a particularly bitter argument with his father on this issue, the pair of friends decided to visit Germany and visibly show support for their beliefs. A year later war broke out between in Europe, and Aubrey and Falsworth were swiftly imprisoned as enemy aliens. Brian's links to the British nobility granted him some small measure of protection, but Roger was not so lucky; he was handed over to Colonel Dietrich, a Nazi scientist, for experiments.
Roger was successfully shrunk to under a foot in height, while retaining his full strength. Brainwashed, he was sent into battle as a German operative as "Dyna-Mite". He joined the Crusaders, a British team of heroes secretly controlled by a Nazi spy. The Invaders exposed this ruse, capturing Roger and Colonel Dietrich among others. Roger was de-programmed, and after several months, Colonel Dietrich managed to restore him to normal size.
In the meantime Brian had also made it back to the U.K. He had escaped Nazi captivity and been fighting behind enemy lines as the Destroyer, but now was taking on the identity of Union Jack, a persona used by his father in the last war. Roger, wishing to fight back after what had been done to him, took on Brian's old identity, and was dropped in occupied Europe to continue the Destroyer legacy.
(Citizen V & the V-Battalion I #1-3, Citizen V and the V-Battalion: Everlasting #1-4) After the war ended the Destroyer helped rebuilding Europe, but he was haunted by his memories of liberating concentration camps. Meeting with the All-Winners Squad, he was inspired to found a group that would hunt down escaped Nazis and prevent similar atrocities from ever happening again. He took the name of a group that had previously helped another Allied hero (Citizen V) who had battled behind enemy lines - the V-Battalion. Several of his wartime allies joined the group, becoming the Penance Council, it's ruling body, and the V-Battalion began operating in 1951. They worked alongside the Wild Pack, a group of Symarkian nationals who likewise sought to bring war criminals to justice. Then in 1953, tragedy of a personal nature struck Roger; a car he and Brian Falsworth were travelling in crashed, killing Brian. Though they had kept it a secret, at some point the two had begun a relationship with each other; the loss of his lover devastated Roger. His focus for the V-Battalion became more pro-active; perhaps the powerlessness he felt over the loss of Brian in such a pointless way made him want to regain power in other ways. Since then the V-Battalion has continued to operate as a covert organisation secretly taking down anyone it considers a threat to the peace of the world. Still fit and active more than sixty years after he assumed the role of the Destroyer, Roger recently stepped down from running the V-Battalion and handed over command of it to Jim Hammond, the Human Torch.
Comments: Dyna-Mite was initially created as a homage to Doll Man of the Freedom Fighters - the same month the Crusaders debuted in the pages of The Invaders, another group of Crusaders with powers remarkably like those of the members of the Invaders debuted in the pages of D.C.'s The Freedom Fighters, which chronicled the exploits of some of that company's wartime superheroes.
The Destroyer (Spider-Man cartoon)
Real Name: Keen Marlow
Identity/Class: Normal human
Affiliations: Six Forgotten Warriors (Captain America, Black Marvel, Miss America, Whizzer, Destroyer, Thunderer), Spider-Man
Enemies: Red Skull, Insidious Six (Kingpin, Shocker, Vulture, Doctor Octopus, Chameleon, Rhino)
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: New York
First Appearance: Spider-Man: #54 "The Six Forgotten Warriors, Part 1: Six Forgotten Warriors" (Fox, 19th September 1997)
Powers/Abilities: Skilled fighter.
History: During WW II the Destroyer fought alongside a number of other heroes. When Captain America vanished near the end of the war, apparently disintegrated in the middle of a struggle with the Red Skull while standing on a weapon the villain had invented, the five other heroes present vowed to see no one else would ever use the weapon. Each hero took one of the keys to the base, and then they retired, scattering across the country to make the keys harder to gather, and being forgotten by the general public. In the modern day, the Kingpin led a group of criminals in trying to gather the keys, and hunted down each of the "Six Forgotten Warriors". The gathered heroes allied with Spider-Man to stop the device being activated, but when it was turned on, it reintegrated both the Red Skull and Captain America, albeit temporarily. Afterwards the heroes returned to their retirement.
Comments: An interesting revival of Golden Age characters happened in the 1990's Spider-Man cartoon. At the time of the cartoon airing both the Thunderer and Black Marvel had only been revived in cameo form in the mainstream Marvel universe, and the Destroyer had been revived not as his Golden Age identity of Keen Marlow, but as John Falsworth / Roger Aubrey. The cartoon turned this on its head - it gave powers to the Thunderer that he never had in the comics, restored Keen Marlow to his place as the Destroyer...and instead changed the true identity of the Black Marvel.
Roy Dotrice provided the voice for Keen Marlowe.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
The Destroyer, Remo Williams, government assassin
Destroyer, giant monster from the Godzilla movies
Destroyer Duck, fowl seeking vengeance against Godcorp
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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