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Drax the Destroyer (classic) (Captain Marvel Comics)

Drax the Destroyer

(Profile #1 - Classic)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Drax the Destroyer is a sort of undead space avenger created to fight cosmic menace Thanos. This profile is the first in a chronological series, and goes from his first appearance in 1973 to his destruction at his daughter’s hands in 1982.

The Destroyer is part of a… pop-existential 1970s space mythology mostly created by Jim Starlin. These themes have been popular for decades, still determine a large chunk of the cosmic stories in the Marvel Universe, and have kept Drax relevant.

During most of the early era covered below, this character is solely known as “the Destroyer”. I’ve called him both Drax and the Destroyer throughout his entire history to avoid monotony.

The series continues with .


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Background

  • Real Name: Arthur Sampson Douglas.
  • Marital Status: Either inapplicable or widowed.
  • Known Relatives: Yvette Steckley Douglas (wife, deceased), Heather Douglas (aka Moondragon, daughter), Pamela Douglas (aka Sundragon, niece).
  • Group Affiliation: None.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 6’4” Weight: 680 lbs.
  • Eyes: Solid, dark orange iris over red cornea (irises are sometimes yellow). Hair: None


Powers and Abilities

Drax the Destroyer was created to be able to match the power of Thanos. However his opponent augmented his might by a variety of means through the years, and became much more powerful than Drax. Intended to destroy Thanos, Drax became more akin to a persistent, vicious nuisance.

Still, the Destroyer possesses enormous superhuman strength and durability, and is a savage and powerful hand-to-hand fighter. He can project potent energy blasts from his hands, sufficient to level most buildings and blow some asteroids up. Those energy blasts have a heat component – he once used them to crudely weld metal.

He can also fly at tremendous speeds, crossing interstellar distances under his own power.


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Mental powers

The Destroyer demonstrated some mental powers. The main one is his ability to sense Thanos, even across galactic distances. This “Thanos sense” has also been used for extra-normal perceptions about subjects related to Thanos.

During his first appearance, the Destroyer also telepathically contacted Iron Man and Mentor – this seldom-demonstrated ability apparently having enough range to cross a solar system.

Unbreakable

Drax’s key ability is his indestructibility. Extruded from inanimate earth, Drax’s body is exceedingly hard to permanently damage – though he can be stunned or even knocked out with a sufficient level of force. It will reconstitute itself into the semblance of a living humanoid whenever felled.

The Destroyer’s mental and spiritual stamina are likewise enormous. Even the mightiest mentalists may be unable to stop him.

Drax does not have, nor require, a functioning metabolism and is free of all natural necessities. For instance if he swallows something it will never get processed. It thus seems reasonable to assume that he doesn’t age.

Curiously, a sleep draught once felled him – hence the absence of Systemic Antidote in his game stats. How this potion worked is unrevealed.

Discrepancies

As per tradition, here are the incidents we’ve chose to ignore to determine the character’s stats – and why.

  • On two occasions Drax destroys large ferrous asteroids with an energy blast or an energy-charged punch. This is significantly beyond his normal power level, and there are cases where he failed to destroy much smaller asteroids – at one point Captain Mar-Vell shields himself from a furious Drax’s blast with a small one. Assume that the Destroyer can blow up random large things nobody cares about, but use his normal game stats if it becomes important.
  • At one point the Destroyer is seen ripping out the “heart” of a sun, detonating it. This is vastly beyond his normal power level. However this happens in a corny and rather whimsical story (featuring a robotic space mule) so it was probably a Genre Rule in an off-beat Comedy Genre.
  • The Destroyer is listed in handbooks as “Class 40”, which is clearly lowballed even adjusting for “Marvel tonnes”. We suspect that this rating came from the Handbook rating of the Iron Man Golden Avenger power armour , which was itself lowballed. The intention was likely to indicate that Drax was stronger – but not hugely so – than Iron Man.

History

Arthur Douglas was a Los Angeles real estate agent, amateur jazz saxophonist and rock ’n’ roll fan. He died in 1953.

That night, Mr. Douglas was driving across the Nevada desert with his wife Yvette and young daughter Heather. The Douglases had driven all the way to Las Vegas to see Arthur’s idol, Elvis Presley , in concert at the International Hotel.

They were driving back to L.A. when an alien scout ship stumbled upon them. Manned by a young Thanos, the ship blew up the Douglases’ car to maintain secrecy. Thanos came to check his kill, and his was the last face Mr. Douglas saw.

Classic Drax with Mentor, Starfox, Iron Man, Captain Marvel and Moondragon

The death toll would turn out to be lower than expected. Little Heather miraculously survived, and was thrown out of the car. In shock, she wandered off in the desert, unseen – the first steps on her road to becoming Moondragon. And as Yvette and Arthur’s souls rose to pass on, Arthur’s spirit was fetched by an astral hand.

Mentor, father of Thanos and leader of the Eternals of Titan, had entreated the help of the astral Eternal demigod – Kronos. Knowing that Thanos would have to be stopped, Mentor asked Kronos to craft a warrior dedicated to this. Kronos took Arthur Douglas’s soul and infused it into a golem he built from the ground.

As an act of mercy, Mentor telepathically sealed off Douglas’s memories – and the Destroyer was made.

Made to destroy death

The Destroyer relentlessly tracked Thanos through the void. However, Thanos greatly strengthened himself and became nigh-impossible to defeat. Yet Thanos couldn’t kill the Destroyer either, as he regenerated whenever “killed”.

For decades Drax attacked Thanos over and over again, destroying many of his troops and other assets. Thanos had numerous space mercenaries guard his bases against Drax, but they weren’t very successful.

One such clash — which may have occurred during the 1960s — was chronicled. On a forlorn planet, Thanos killed the priesthood guarding their most precious artefact – this planet’s last flower — to break the natives’ morale and obtain their surrender. Drax intervened, to little avail.

When Thanos threw a nearby pilgrim and her daughter to their doom the Destroyer experienced a flashback of the apparent death of Yvette and Heather. He uncharacteristically chose to save them rather than renew his assault and Thanos left, deriding him.

The Cosmic Cube, part 1

In 1972, the Destroyer found Thanos on a deserted planetoid, but was knocked out when their fight destroyed it. Thanos then imprisoned the Destroyer in his current war camp, on Earth. Drax telepathically contacted Iron Man to come to his rescue, then informed Mentor.

From his headquarters on Titan, Mentor supercharged Iron Man’s armour so he could destroy the bonds holding Drax. The two heroes then vanquished more servants of Thanos (the Blood Brothers), but the “Thanos” whom they found turned out to be a robotic double.

Classic Drax flies toward Thanos

The real Thanos was away, on a quest for the Cosmic Cube. Death helped him find it, but Drax somehow got there first. Thanos engaged the Destroyer in something called a “time-mind sync-warp”, apparently some form of spiritual combat. Thanos’ goal was to render the Destroyer insane so he would stop harassing him.

Thanos won the fight, and took the Cube over the Destroyer’s unconscious body. Drax tore his mind free from the sync-warp and recovered, but too late.

The Cosmic Cube, part 2

The Destroyer came to warn Captain Mar-Vell at Avengers’s Mansion, and the great hero and the Avengers formed a strike force to stop Thanos. They failed, and Thanos used the Cube to become a god. Undaunted, the Destroyer attacked Thanos new cosmic, wraithlike form, but was demolished by return fire.

Minutes later, the Destroyer recovered and attacked again. Thanos restored the Destroyer’s memories of being Art Douglas, hoping to incapacitate him. This only made the Destroyer even more driven as he now also wanted to avenge Heather and Yvette.

At this point only Drax and Mar-Vell were left standing. Mar-Vell had the Destroyer keep Thanos busy like a wasp harassing a large animal. The legendary Kree warrior then used this respite to find the Cube and use it to destroy Thanos at long last.

Deprived of his all-consuming goal and not knowing what to do, the Destroyer awkwardly left for outer space.

Return of the Mad Titan

The Destroyer grew to hate Mar-Vell, who had deprived him of his reason for being. These feelings stemmed in part from mental manipulation by the Kree Supreme Intelligence, as part of its constant plots against Mar-Vell. When the Destroyer stumbled upon Mar-Vell deep in Kree space, he immediately attacked.

While Mar-Vell was nimbler and a better fighter, he couldn’t stop the Destroyer – but he too had his aggression enhanced by the Supreme Intelligence. The fracas was interrupted by a third party, Fawn. Fawn was a virtual being created by Rick Jones as his image of a perfect woman, and she had come to get Mar-Vell’s help to save the dying Jones.

She snapped him out of a pointless battle? Fawn then told the Destroyer that Thanos was back – which Drax sensed was true.

Classic Drax attacks Thanos as a cosmic wraith

Thanos had found some means to partially cloak himself from the cosmic senses of the Destroyer. This had bought the mad Titan months to advance his new plan – synthesising a “star gem” that could tap some of the power of the Infinity Gems.

When the Destroyer found Thanos he ploughed right through the spaceship flown by Thanos’s assassin Gamora, nearly killing her. Thanos nevertheless detained or banished Drax in some manner.

Drax was thus not present when Thanos’ new plot was stopped by Earth’s defenders at the last second. They resurrected Adam Warlock as a being of seething cosmic energy, who turned Thanos into a granite statue.

…but we only have 48 hours to save the Earth !

Not sensing Thanos anymore, Drax eventually found his flagship Sanctuary II, and the statue. The Destroyer assumed that Mar-Vell was again to blame for taking his goal away from him, and flew to Earth to find him. However, his new assault on the Kree hero was interrupted by a message from Titan.

Titan’s computer system ISAAC told the combatants that remnants of Thanos’s followers were attacking Mentor’s base there. The two gave up fighting and left for Titan.

The cosmically-aware Mar-Vell knew it was a trap, and that ISAAC had been reprogrammed by Thanos’ servants. He told the Destroyer, who agreed to fight Thanos’s men. The two prevailed with the help of a renegade servant of Thanos, the griffons-mistress Elysius, then left for Earth to stop Stellarax, the last minion.

Classic Drax flies across the cosmos

On Earth, the Destroyer attacked Stellarax’s ship, defeating all aboard and freeing Rick Jones. Jones had Drax clear a path toward the craft’s cockpit and rushed the controls, tilting the craft away from Earth before it fired its planet-busting ray. The Destroyer then let go of his vendetta against Mar-Vell.

With Stellarax gone, Mar-Vell, the Destroyer, Rick Jones and Jones’s then-girlfriend Gertie raced back to Titan to clean ISAAC of its hostile programming. They were outfought by ISAAC and its troops, and in the fray Mar-Vell interposed his body between Drax and a powerful blast.

Amazed by Mar-Vell’s heroism, the Destroyer went bersek and beat back most of ISAAC’s forces.

Mar-Vell exposed everyone to his life-affirming lifeforce, thus clearing the death-affirming programming suffusing Titan. As a side-effect the Destroyer was made conscious of the vacuity of his monomaniacal, dead existence.

After Mar-Vell and his allies triumphed, Drax once again awkwardly left, alone and wondering what to do with his non-life.

Death of Captain Mar-Vell

Drax wondered if the only logical thing he could do was to seek his own destruction. When he happened on a strange alien race threatening to destroy anybody who’d breach their ecosphere, he thus charged in, taking them at their word. An heroic alien sacrificed itself, attaching itself to Drax’s face.

Though it couldn’t kill the Destroyer outright, it kept psionically  hammering him, keeping him neutralised.

By this point Moondragon had learned that the Destroyer was her father. She thus sensed his predicament and brought him to Earth Thor separated the alien from the Destroyer, though he had to fight the psionically-controlled Drax to do so.

Defeated, the heroic alien asked that he be killed, since life away from its hive was unbearable. Understanding the sacrifice it had made to stop the Destroyer’s reckless assault, Moondragon and the Destroyer return to space to reunite it with its fellows. They then adventured in space together.

Classic Drax smashes a living statue of Thanos

When they learned Mar-Vell was dying of a cancer, Moondragon and Drax came to visit him on Titan. They brought with them a Skrull emissary, General Zedrao, who wanted to express the Skrulls’s respect for one of their greatest enemies.

The Destroyer, seemingly at peace now that he had been reunited with his daughter, told Mar-Vell what death was like before the Kree would pass away.

Moondragon

Drax then explored the cosmos with his daughter, who helped him find purpose beyond the destruction of Thanos.

They stumbled upon Ba-Bani, a war-torn world. Moondragon used her vast psionic power to bring peace. Though he deeply wanted to trust his daughter, Drax couldn’t help but realise that she was on a colossal ego trip and was imposing her will upon an entire planet. Unsure of what to do, he asked the Avengers for help.

By the time the Avengers came, the whole planet was under Moondragon’s mental influence — including Drax. Drax shook his conditioning and flew off to confront his daughter, but was opposed by Thor, whom Moondragon had seduced and hypnotised.

The creation of Drax the Destroyer

Despite this Moondragon had to paralyse everyone in a large radius to stall Drax – and the Destroyer overcame even this. In a fit of megalomania and denying that anything could resist the will of the self-proclaimed goddess of the mind, Moondragon temporarily burned out her mental powers to telepathically kill Drax.

Thor had Moondragon judged by his father Odin. Meanwhile Iron Man, the Wasp and Captain America gave the Destroyer a Viking funeral of sorts, putting the body in Moondragon’s ship and programming it to explode in space.

Undead²

Years later Drax the Destroyer was among the Legion of Unliving assembled by the Grandmaster. Allegedly, these Legionnaires had been plucked from the realm of Death. But as with all Legions of the Unliving, the exact nature of those supposed revenants is unclear.

A possible hypothesis is that they come from the Dimension of Manifestations, and have little to do with the actual dead persons.

This version of Drax seemed as powerful as the real thing, with the added ability to siphon lifeforce into its undead body. Along with an undead Mar-Vell, it defeated Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau), then broke the She-Hulk’s spine. The living players of the “game” were later healed or resurrected, and the dead Legionnaires banished away.


Description

Drax’s voice has been described as “steel-hard” and his words balloons look unearthly.


Personality

During much of this era, Drax is the Noble But Savage Space Avenger. He has a dramatic manner, and something of a Byron/Shelley Romantic  cast to his dialogue and brooding ways.

The Destroyer is utterly consumed by his quest for vengeance against Thanos, no matter what the odds. He can attack forever, hoping for a lucky break. More generally he’s stubbornness made humanoid. It usually takes a ridiculous amount of evidence for him to change his mind.

At this stage he’s a very simple character to play. He makes grandiose monologues about how he is going to foil Thanos, then attacks like a rabid pitbull on PCP.

If Thanos is not currently alive, the Destroyer instead laments his terrible fate like a cursed Romantic poet on a windswept cliff during a dark and stormy night. He then does something violent, since all he has is his great power and anger.

Near the end of his unlife, the Destroyer was more peaceful, though he remained pompous. He was finally destroyed after he had slipped back into his old form, furious at the realisation of what his daughter had become and unleashing… the wrath of the Destroyer !


Quotes

“I’ll break free of your evil domination, Thanos — then I’ll fulfil my sole life-mission… to annihilate you, Thanos — utterly !”

“I exist only to see you die — and for as long as I live, your eventual death is a certainty !”

“True, Thanos — but there is one who can crush your schemes ! I, Thanos — born not of woman, nor of man ! I — THE DESTROYER !”

“Your new-found might may humble the others, but I was born to be your enemy ! So, no matter what the odds, I fight on, for… I AM THE DESTROYER !”

“You have robbed me of purpose, Mar-Vell ! You have cheated Kronos – destroyed the fabric of his grand design ! And for these reasons, you force me to commit the hollow action of slaying you !”

“No one can destroy the Destroyer !”

“Let them come, Rick Jones. The Destroyer welcomes them ! The Destroyer always welcomes… a chance to destroy !” (CRUNCH !)

“Still I remain a useless force in the cosmos – a spark of life without goal or purpose !”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

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Drax

Dex: 08 Str: 14 Bod: 14 Motivation: Destroy Thanos !
Int: 05 Wil: 04 Min: 10 Occupation: Destroy Thanos !
Inf: 07 Aur: 05 Spi: 12 Resources {or Wealth}: 000
Init: 019 HP: 045

Powers:
Awareness: 14, Density increase: 02, Detect (Thanos): 15, Energy blast: 13, Flame immunity: 04, Flight: 36, Invulnerability: 24, Telepathy: 05

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Awareness only applies to events closely related with Thanos.
  • Density Increase is Always On and Already Factored In.
  • Detect has a Special +55 Range Bonus.
  • Invulnerability takes about three or four minutes to kick in.
  • Invulnerability works for both BODY and SPI damage.
  • Telepathy is Seriously Marginal and can only be used to communicate – but it drops to Minor Marginal if the Destroyer is only trying to reach ISAAC.
  • Telepathy has a Special +35 Range Bonus.

Skills:
Artist (Saxophone): 04

Advantages:
Familiarity (Early 1950s rock ’n’ roll, Real estate management), Iron Nerves, Life Support (Full), Near-Immortal, Misc.: Drax has a special +5 OV Bonus against any attempt to mentally or spiritually deter him from his mission.

Connections:
Mentor (Low), ISAAC (Low), Captain Mar-Vell (Low).

Drawbacks:
CIA toward Destroying Thanos, Distinct Appearance (at least on planets without many space aliens).


Can you feel it ?

Drax’s special senses can err on the “whatever advances the story” side, hence the choice of a loose power – Awareness. GMs are thus encouraged to be a bit lax.

An obvious roll would be “Thanos has been resurrected” at about 04/04, but one point the Destroyer got to roll against a 10/10 for “Thanos’s greatest enemy, Captain Mar-Vell, is nearby”.


Design notes

The Familiarities and Skill were not demonstrated during that period, but from later events he should logically have them.


By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel Universe.

Helper(s): Darci.

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