ClanDestine was a short-lived Marvel comic created by writer/artist/ninja master Alan Davis about a family of immortals with incredible powers who are the descendents of an indestructible knight and a genie.
The Destine family live in secret, guided by the “Relative Stranger Protocol” that demands they keep their powers on the down-low – which tidily explains why the regular Marvel super heroes have never interacted with them. In the series, strange assailants begin attacking the Clan, forcing them to band together with their progenitor, Adam Destine, who just returned from a self-imposed exile in outer space. There’s a great sequence in one of the books where The Silver Surfer finds Adam Destine drifting through space in a hippy VW bus, sitting behind the wheel staring blankly into the void. I loved that scene.
Anyway, it’s a pity that Alan’s creation didn’t endure – because it was a bright spot of creativity in Marvel’s publishing line-up at the time. It lasted for twelve issues, and then there was two-part X-Men/ClanDestine crossover, one last desperate attempt to kindle interest in the reading public. Alas, ClanDestine retired to four-color limbo, to make way for a Bishop mini-series or some shit. But hey, if kids want to read about Bishop and his hair extensions instead of this work of art, who am I to say that’s wrong?
Stupid fucking kids ruining comics for everybody…
In case I haven’t mentioned this previously, I am a huge Alan Davis fan. He’s a frickin’ master, particularly when paired with inker Mark Farmer, as he is in this issue. Everything about his work is quality – panel layout, page design, the sure-handed mix of words and pictures, the precise line-work – quality, I tell you. Alan Davis rarely missteps, and ClanDestine #8 is no exception.
In this issue, patriarch Adam Destine and his kids Dominic and Walter reminisce about heroic deeds in times past. It’s basically three short stories held together by a somewhat thin framing sequence, but the stories are well-crafted and fun. That’s right – fun.
In the first story, Dominic recalls a strange adventure in the 60’s when he performed as a magician/escape artist. Dominic is this exotic immortal whose senses are so hyper-developed that it’s often painful to him. Isn’t there an issue where he gets all drunk/high after eating a piece of chocolate? Dominic is an excellent character with a unique design – he sort of reminds me of Nightcrawler, The Creeper, and Ziggy Stardust.
Here's Dominic performing as “Hex” in swingin’ sixties New York:
Dude! Dominic! Put the box down! Haven’t you seen Hellraiser?
Moving on: Dominic gets sucked into trippy Ditkoland, a psychedelic landscape that should be familiar to Dr. Strange readers. To make things worse, a bunch of Mindless Ones chase after him.
Run Dominic, run!
How about… Alan Davis drawing giant Nazi robots?
The panels above are from the second of the three stories. Walter Destine tells a tale set in WWII, when he had a front-row seat for a big battle: The Invaders (Captain America, Namor & The Human Torch) versus a giant Nazi robot. During the battle the robot manages to take out The Invaders, and Walter has to transform into his big blue hulk form and kick some Nazi robot ass.
Nothing wrong with that. The third story is the least interesting, but it’s still well-done. Adam Destine recalls a time during the middle ages when he encountered some mean aliens scouting on Earth in preparation for an invasion. The aliens try to kill Adam, but don’t have a lot of luck:
Adam manages to defeat the aliens, who, thinking that the indestructible Adam is a normal example of the dominant species on Earth, call off their invasion plans. Hah! Stupid aliens.
Well, there you go. A nice, self-contained little bit of comic book goodness. It’s a pity that ClanDestine was cancelled. Thanks, everybody that read Bishop or whatever instead of this!