Drax the Destroyer thirsts for battle once more in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. where he’s played to intense and hilarious perfection by Dave Bautista in both movies. For many casual Marvel and comic book fans in general, Drax is a bit of a B-level mystery, but the character has just as rich and important of a history in comic books as many of his more well-known super powered peers traversing the endless galaxies of the Marvel Multiverse. Therefore, his notable inclusion and importance to the Guardians films is really a no-brainer!
Drax’s cosmic adventures have greatly impacted the stories of Marvel’s grand space operas since his first appearance in 1973. During those early years, the character was actually fairly different in manner and appearance than the popular, more modern version that movie audiences have become acquainted with. However, the core of what makes Drax so cool, compelling, and fun to follow has always remained true. From Captain Marvel to the Avengers to Thanos, Drax’s adventures and quest for revenge against the dark forces of the universe have been the fodder for some truly remarkable science fiction tales. It doesn’t take the Mind Gem to to realize how awesome Drax the Destroyer is, but here’s a reminder!
15. ARTHUR DOUGLAS: REAL ESTATE AGENT
Like so many of his fellow comic book heroes before receiving their great powers and/or great responsibility, Drax the Destroyer lived a very mundane life. During an intense space battle in 1966’s Captain Marvel #32, Thanos restored the Destroyer’s full, tragic memory of his origins in order to break Drax’s spirit and crush him once and for all.
Enter Arthur Douglas, mustachio’d real estate agent from Burbank, California and saxophone player. Arthur, on the way to Los Vegas with his wife and daughter to catch an Elvis concert, spied Thanos’ scout ship in the night sky. The Mad Titan, not wanting to be discovered, destroyed the car and thought Arthur and his family killed. Little did Thanos know that he had all but assured the creation of one of his most dangerous enemies.
14. CREATED TO KILL THANOS
That car crash may have destroyed Arthur’s body, but his soul was intercepted by Mentor, Thanos’ father, who wished to create a warrior powerful enough to bring down the Mad Titan. With the help of Kronos, they wiped poor Arthur’s memory and threw his soul into a new body of their own design. Thus, Drax the Destroyer was born. His only purpose in life: to defeat Thanos!
Forcing Drax to remember these painful memories in Captain Marvel #32 was another big mistake on Thanos’ part, as recalling the loss of his wife and child only drove the Destroyer’s purpose to battle and to defeat Thanos to new heights, and the two resumed their star-spanning battle. Drax can even use his telepathic powers to sense and relentlessly track Thanos through the galaxy.
13. FATHER OF MOONDRAGON
Little did Drax know, but his daughter, Heather, had also survived the fateful crash and was taken in by Mentor to be raised on Titan. As Isaac Christians, a.k.a. Gargoyle, explains in The Defenders #138, Heather was given over to the Priests of Shao-Lom where she pushed her telepathic abilities so far that they drew the notice of an ancient and malevolent being known as The Dragon of the Moon. Heather believed she had defeated the Dragon’s mental attack and took the name Moondragon to honor her triumph, although its influence and the allure of greater power would continue to plague her for some time.
Moondragon aided the Avengers, Drax and Captain Marvel in their efforts to defeat Thanos in Captain Marvel #33. After bringing peace to the war-torn planet of Ba-Bani in Avengers #219, Moondragon killed her own father after Drax realized she was using her mental powers to control the populace.
12. BFF’S WITH THE AVENGERS
Drax has teamed up with the Avengers to conquer a wide array of cosmic foes including Thanos. Well, mostly Thanos. His first comic book appearance was actually in Iron Man #55 where the Destroyer used his powerful telepathy to download a hefty amount of Thanos-related exposition directly into Tony Stark’s brain, which is apparently a great way to break the ice among superheroes. Honestly, a lot of it was Drax just bragging about how awesome he was too.
After losing a pretty trippy reality-warping battle with Thanos, Drax would go on to join forces with best-bud Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers to stop the Mad Titan and his pursuit of the very dangerous, very awesomely-named Cosmic Cube in Captain Marvel #31.
11. BATTLED CAPTAIN MARVEL
Needless to say, Drax was a little perturbed after someone else killed Thanos back in Captain Marvel #33, and spent his time screaming, obliterating random worlds, more screaming, ripping the cores from various suns, and screaming some more. He felt that Mar-Vell had robbed him of his one and only purpose by striking the final blow that felled Thanos.
As a result, Drax caught up to the Kree captain in Captain Marvel #43 and they duked it out across an asteroid field before the Destroyer suddenly felt Thanos’ presence somewhere out in the cosmos. No harm no foul? Except there was harm, because Drax tried to burn Captain Marvel up in a planetoid’s atmosphere. It wouldn’t be the last time Drax blamed Mar-Vell for one of Thanos’ deaths.
10. MODERN LOOK
The modern and well-known version of Drax differs greatly from original co-creator’s Jim Starlin’s Drax of the ’60s who sported a purple cape, bright green skin, and a more sophisticated demeanor and attitude.
Writer Keith Giffen, who took over Starlin’s final Thanos series, would usher in the modern era of Marvel’s “Cosmic” properties with his Drax the Destroyer: Earthfall book. In Earthfall, Giffen would give Drax the tattoos, preference for no shirt and knives, and rolled back his intelligence to a child-like level (not the first time this had happened to poor Drax). Drax of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy films, played by Dave Bautista, is much closer to the Giffen Drax in terms of manner and appearance, but through the years, all of Marvel’s cosmic writers have stayed true to much of what made the original character so unique, dramatic and compelling. All Draxes love three things: combat, killing Thanos, and presumably a low-carb, high protein intake.
9. INFECTED BY THE TRANSMODE VIRUS
2007’s Nova series saw the cybernetic Phalanx conquer the Kree. They also turned their transmode virus which alters living matter into artificial technology on the likes of Drax, Nova, and Gamora. In Nova #7, Drax and Gamora were enslaved to the collective controlling mind of the Phalanx and sent to apprehend the rebellious Nova.
While Gamora and Nova suffered a bit of a violent and passionate lovers’ quarrel due to the virus’ influence, Drax didn’t seem all that different. The Destroyer was still as single-minded and focused as ever except for the fact that instead of jonesing for Thanos’ head, he was jonesing for whomever the Phalanx desired him to kill. It sent him after Nova and the battle-loving former real estate agent followed orders with a familiar Draxish zeal. The transmode (or “techno-organic”) virus is one nasty bug, though. It has no cure and can even reanimate dead matter.
8. MASTER OF DWI THEET
Drax has proven to be a master of many forms of combat and is a practitioner of what is called “Dwi Theet.” In 2008’s Guardians of the Galaxy #5, after an explosion tears through the Knowhere space station/dead Celestial head, killing many innocent civilians, Drax is accused of being a Skrull saboteur and goes into hiding.
He uses Dwi Theet to particular effect when he takes down the three Luminals sent to apprehend him, Impact, Massdriver, and Brightstorm, in a vicious melee. Drax completely surprises Impact, also a Dwi Theet master, by using Brightstorm as a shield and lands several blows that completely neutralize his foes. The fight demonstrates Drax’s superior combat skills and keen tactical mind that proves he is a beast no matter what team he’s with, which book he’s in, or what version of the Destroyer is currently kicking butt for Marvel.
7. GUARDIAN OF AN INFINITY GEM
After the Living Tribunal granted Adam Warlock leave to pick the Infinity Gems’ guardians and disperse the might of the Infinity Gauntlet, Warlock chose to give the pink Infinity Gem of Power to Drax the Destroyer. At the time, Drax possessed the intellect of a child due to the damage caused by his battle with Moondragon and could not understand how to willingly draw upon the gem’s power. He did manage to swallow it though, and when given the choice between the Infinity Gems and watching Alf, Drax almost chose Alf.
While in possession of the Power Gem, Drax’s already impressive superhuman strength was greatly increased. In Warlock and the Infinity Watch #13, Drax was able to match the Incredible Hulk blow for blow when they got into a tussle in Reno, Nevada after Drax’s memories returned to confuse his already limited and damaged psyche.
6. POWER SHIFT
Drax’s powers and abilities have drastically changed throughout the many years of the character’s galactic galavanting. The “classic” Drax was able to zip along through the vacuum of space at near light-speed. He also possessed an insane strength level and durability. Literally, Drax punched his way through planets and destroyed stars …from the inside out. Drax probably enjoyed it! He also can communicate telepathically across vast distances, such as when he sent a dire warning to Tony Stark in Iron Man #55. With the Infinity Gem of Power, all of his already supremely powerful abilities skyrocketed to unfathomable proportions.
Drax’s modern skill set makes him no pushover either. Although he can no longer fly or produce energy blasts, Drax was able to defeat Thanos in 2006’s Annihilation. Well, “defeat” isn’t a strong enough word, as Drax produced some sort of energy aura when he closed in on his mortal enemy and ripped Thanos’ still-beating heart from the Titan’s chest.
5. A FRIEND TO NOVA
The intergalactic policing force known as the Nova Corps, which first appeared in 1979’s Fantastic Four #204, has been both foe and friend to Drax recently. In 2006’s Annihilation, Drax and Richard Rider fought against both Thanos and Annihilus, master of the Negative Zone, when the latter attempted to gain control of the Power Cosmic and destroy all life in the entire universe. Annihilus was beaten in a similarly gruesome fashion as Thanos when Nova ripped out his internal organs. Not a pleasant day for would-be galactic conquerors.
While trapped in the parallel dimension of the Cancerverse during 2013’s Guardians of the Galaxy #20, Drax, Nova, and Star-Lord battled both Thanos and an evil version of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Revengers, for the Cosmic Cube. After Drax kindly offered to use his purple booty shorts as a tourniquet, the wounded Nova sacrificed himself and used the Cube (which he vowed to never do) to send the heroes home. Also, Drax was able to wield Mjolnir against Thanos, although it may have been an evil bizarro version of Thor’s hammer.
4. CHAMPION OF THE MICROVERSE
Shrinking along with Pym Particles allows the heroes of Marvel to enter a sub-atomic realm called a Microverse. Drax the Destroyer had his share of adventure, romance, and betrayal during his escapedes in a Microverse starting in 2000’s Captain Marvel #2.
In #6 of that series, Captain Marvel learns from the Microns that due to their enemies Baron and (no duh) Thanos, all of the Microverses have become one and a complicated royal power struggle has ensued. Drax is mistaken for the Hulk, who apparently had been romancing a previous princess there, and is chosen by the current princess, Visalia, as her new prince. Ultimately, Drax realizes that Princess Visalia loves him not and has been using him, so he hurls her off a roof in Issue #6. Drax the Defenestrater. Captain Marvel and Drax do not get along in this story either.
3. TEAMED UP WITH THANOS
That’s right. In 2010’s The Thanos Imperative limited series, Drax was forced to ally with his most hated foe due to the impending danger posed by the invasion into the main Marvel Universe by the enemies from the Cancerverse.
Drax and his fellow Guardians of the Galaxy battled evil versions of the Avengers while in the Cancerverse and soon discovered that there was no such thing as “permanent death” in that reality. In fact, Thanos is the only one seemingly able to completely destroy any of the Cancerverse rogues. Unfortunately for Drax, the Cancerverse throws his “Must Kill Thanos” programming into a frenzy and the Titan is forced to utterly disintegrate Drax with a powerful energy blast in Issue #4. But no one can keep a good Drax down. Or dead. Or alive for that matter.
2. MEMBER OF THE INFINITY WATCH
During the previously mentioned Warlock and the Infinity Watch series and, after obtaining the full omnipotent powers of the Infinity Gauntlet, Adam Warlock distributed the Infinity Gems to Drax, Moondragon, Gamora, and Pip the Troll. The Infinty Watch, as it then became known, took up residence on Monster Isle (no, they did not run into Godzilla). Even though Drax suffered from a limited intellectual ability as a result of his recent resurrection, he still played a major role in many of their adventures and conflicts.
During the events of The Infinity War, the Watch battled Adam Warlock’s evil doppelganger personality (the Magus), teamed up with the Fantastic Four to fight Warlock’s good side (the Goddess), and tried to stop a deranged Thor in the “Blood and Thunder” arc, among other escapades. Ultimately, the Watch would lose the Infinity Gems under mysterious circumstances.
1. HE WAS AN ACTOR IN MEDIEVAL TIMES
In Marvel’s 1602 continuity, Drax the Destroyer is known as Arthur Dübhghlas and is an actor in a traveling troupe of players in 1602’s King James’ England, itself later becoming a domain of Battleworld. This world’s Drax was a member of the Gardiner’s Men which included similarly themed versions of the Guardians of the Galaxy: Madam Gamorrah, Peader O’Cuill, Aroughcun (Rocket Raccoon), and Goodman Root. Rather than preferring knives or punching through suns, this version of Drax liked to use a big ‘ol ax.
In the 1602 Witch Hunter Angela series, the Gardiner’s Men battled the Enchantress of that realm alongside the Witch Hunter Angela. Together, they defeated Enchantress, but Angela was sadly cursed after the bout in Issue #4. Drax and the Gardiner’s Men later portrayed their exploits in a play to honor her sacrifice.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is currently in theaters everywhere. Let us know in the comments if you saw it!