Previously, in Victor LaValle’s Destroyer #5
Destroyer came to its inevitable, violent conclusion once the creators came face-to-face with their monstrous creations. Dr. Josephine Baker wasn’t fueled only by the pain of losing her son to a police officer’s bullet, but also the anger many Black women feel towards a society that continues to tell them they are less than while it profits off their works and trauma. She was operating in Scorched Earth mode all along.
The family reunion between Josephine, Pliers, and Akai is at times sweet and funny, but quickly becomes hostile. Josephine has no idea Pliers stayed away because The Director threatened her life; she just knows he wasn’t there and she’s not about to let him judge what she did with Akai. Their bickering is interrupted once they find the remains of The Director and the Monster attacks Akai.
Pliers and Akai learn just how far Josephine is willing to go — and how long her plans have been in motion — when reveals an override that allows her to take control of The Bride. Even though Akai appears to be getting through to the Monster, the only other being in existence like him, Josephine uses The Bride for what she truly designed it to do: reprogram the Monster so he’d be another weapon in her arsenal. In the end, it kills Pliers and Josephine, and Akai kills the Monster. Before she dies, Josephine downloads her consciousness into Akai.
Josephine can use Akai to dismantle the world, and by the time the series ends she’s well on her way to doing so by educating him on society’s many crimes against the marginalized. But will she be successful? The final page shows Akai enjoying a little league baseball game, his face awash with wonder and joy. There are signs of the child Akai was, like when he feels bad about disabling Josephine’s override capabilities over him so she can’t reprogram The Monster. Can that part of Akai carry out Josephine’s plans?
I would think not, but the Monster was also once trusting and naive and society soon beat that out of him.The motivations may be different, but Josephine may just end up repeating the mad history of her ancestor.