Drax, Arthur Sampson Douglas, The Destroyer
Powers:Extreme level of Superhuman Strength, Stamina, and durability; Powerful Cosmic energy projection (Comparable to the Hulk, Pre-resurrection).
Abilities: Can travel through normal space and hyperspace without the need for air, food, or water. Can sense Thanos across vast distances. Resurrected version: Is able to detect those who had been in contact with Thanos, and can foresee those who will be in contact with Thanos in the near future.
Occupation: Adventurer, Harbinger of Death for Thanos
Weapons: Knives (post-resurrection)
Drax first appeared in Iron Man #55 1973 but his origin is explained in Captain Marvel #32 1974, a year later. A very interesting character, and arguably the most powerful; singularly worthy of a stand-alone film prior to a GOTG release. Drax is the product of necessity against a war against Thanos, one of the most powerful cosmic beings in Marvel history. If you read my piece on Knowhere; I touched upon the concepts of how it came to be, and revealed information on the Celestials. Mainly, the point about the Celestials creating a group of superhuman people from nascent Human genetic experimentation, called “The Eternals”, and placing these beings on Titan, one of Saturn's moons.
One of the Eternals, their leader, “Mentor” had two children. Thanos and Eros (Starfox). When Thanos rebelled and attacked Titan; Mentor asked his father Kronos to aid him in creating a being capable of destroying Thanos. The being we know as Drax The Destroyer.
Drax was originally a human being, named Arthur S. Douglas, and was attacked by Thanos on Earth, while he was driving with his family. Everyone died, except his daughter. Mentor intervened, adopted Arthurs daughter, and encased his spirit in a body that Kronos created. Drax was born, and his daughter eventually grew up to become Moondragon.
Drax, early on, with the help of Iron Man succeeded in his mission to kill Thanos. As a consequence, his daughter ended up psychically attacking and killing him. Only to be resurrected in later comics. This resurrection saw much of his power reduced down. Adam Warlock put restrictions on his mind, which left his intellect slightly muddled. Warlock eventually gained Drax into his Infinity Watch; another set of comics I have recommended in reading specific to Thanos.
Why is this character important to the MCU
The most important reason is (obvious) he is an instrument designed, bred to fight, to kill Thanos. He is able to pass through the Mad Titans force fields; for one. Even with his resurrected reduction in powers, he is still amazingly formidable and is seen favoring a set of knives in combat; however, as a result, is almost completely dimwitted. Even in this state, he was given the Infinity Gem of Power to protect, which gave him unlimited gains to his strength. Although he was unable to really make proper use of it with his current state of mind.
It should be interesting to see if the film is going to utilize a resurrected version with lowered powers; or if he will still retain the ability to fly and project cosmic energy blasts from his hands. I don’t want to speculate; but I haven’t seen any knives in any promo material. If we don’t see knives, he’s the beyond Hulk level powered behemoth. If we see the knives he’ll likely be the "Earthfall" version we see in the earliest comics in the Annihilation series.
Edit: Marvel's original promo image is with him carrying the knives. I must have been fanboy filtering in hopes to get the original overpowered version XD (Thanks Batzack for smacking me with the reality stick.)
Where can we find some of his other appearances…
Drax can be seen throughout the 70’s from his first appearance in 1973 all the way through the 1980’s (& 90's) where he gained a recurring role in the Silver Surfer comics, appearing in Issue #35 where he was resurrected, until Issue #50. His death by Moondragon, as mentioned above, didn’t actually occur until Avengers #220 in 1982. Prior to joining the Infinity Watch with Adam Warlock he appeared in the 6 issue series, The Infinity Gauntlet.
In terms of his current appearances, following all of the events in the GOTG Guide, he eventually becomes a member of the Guardians and continues to help them with their efforts in the third volume released this year.
Although technically Drax was killed, yet again, during The Thanos Imperative; he is seen two years later in Avengers Assemble, and the writers don’t rectify how Drax came back to life. This can either be, the writers didn’t realize he was dead in the continuity (brainfart...it happens in comics a lot), or they have plans to flashback how he came back to life in later issues of Vol. 3 of GOTG; or some other undisclosed comic issue.
NOTE: If this has happened already, please mention it in comments, I've yet to read an issue explaining that particular resurrection.
Overall Drax has had an illustrious career kicking epic cosmic ass, and is a huge threat against Thanos. Has already succeeded killing him in the past, and has become a mainstay among the guardians.
There is a lot of contextual back-story throughout Annihilation, and Annihilation: Conquest for this character. All of the comics listed here can help you gain a better sense (and knowledge) of the person he is, as well as the juggernaut being he is supposed to be. I'm hoping he is not completely dumbed down as simple muscle in the film, he is technically the most powerful member of the Guardians as they stand.
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