With two souls in one body, Drax the Destroyer of the Guardians of the Galaxy is a more complex character than the MCU gives him credit for.
Warning! Spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy #18 ahead!
A casual remark by a fellow member of the Guardians of the Galaxy has reaffirmed that the comics version of Drax the Destroyer has complexities and layers extending beyond his portrayal in the MCU. The cinematic version of Drax is presented as a vengeance-obsessed strongman and occasional comic relief, whereas the comics version is more nuanced. In fact, when reflecting on this version’s motivations and very existence, there is a sense that Drax originally lost more than his dead family and that he has since evolved into a complex being.
Drax’s origin story in the comics contains a tragic and human element that is lost in his cinematic portrayal. Rather than starting out as an alien out for vengeance after his family was slaughtered by Thanos, Drax begins his quest with his own death and rebirth. Thanos’s father Mentor constructs a killing machine to destroy the Mad Titan and, to bring this single-minded avatar to life, uses the spirit of Arthur Douglas, one of Thanos’s victims on Earth. Douglas and his family lost their lives to Thanos, slaughtered merely to cover his tracks while visiting Earth, but his quest for vengeance as the spirit animating Drax is not entirely of his own choosing. To compound this loss of free will, Mentor blocks Douglas’s access to any memories from his old life, instilling a hatred for Thanos that is all-consuming. When Drax is created, his noble intentions to kill Thanos, who is a prolific murderer in his own right, are muddied by the fact he was willing to slaughter whatever and whomever is in his way.