STORY: Howard Mackie
ART: Ian Churchill and Norm Rapmund
If you (at all) have been following my coverage of Superboy and Teen Titans since January, you’ll know how much I’ve come to dislike both series for their condescending narrative tones oddly juxtaposed against overly-complicated plots. These issues have been persistent since the ‘New 52’ relaunch back in September when each series relied on one another to keep a single, but painfully fractured story moving forward. Of course, two series wasn’t enough for Scott Lobdell who pens both TT and Superboy – over the past month, “The Culling” has spanned both of Lobdell’s series as well as Legion Lost to (not really) flesh out a story that ended with a fizzle. Apparently, even that wasn’t enough and now, The Ravagers takes some of the most disposable characters from Lobdell’s ridiculous imagination and spins them out into their own title.
Fan-favorite Caitlin Fairchild from Wildstorm’s Gen13 takes center stage as she attempts to keep the victims of Harvest’s culling safe in the real world after the Titans and Legionnaires managed to annoy him enough to make him run off to one of this other super-awesome underground facilities. Notice I did not say they defeated him. Other characters include the mysterious, lizard-like Ridge; the brother and sister duo, Thunder and Lightning; along with Terra and Beast Boy, two characters who have panel time only as fan service and nothing else. Seriously, both Terra and Beast Boy are little more than cardboard cutouts placed into panels so other characters can talk at them. They rarely interact with anyone else, and they go off on their own within the first five pages. DC pulled a big grift with this one, pulling buyers in with the promise of two beloved characters from an awesome TV show. These two will be the main reason I read The Ravagers at all, but if their panel time continues to be this sparse, it won’t be worth the effort at all.
Thunder and Lightning are pretty stupid too. I mean, I’m no expert – nor even a scholar of Lobdell, and now Mackie’s, work – but shouldn’t these two have developed more control over their powers if they’d been fighting in the
Scarlett Letter The Crucible all those years? A lot of tertiary characters are out of sight and out of mind, as well. Fairchild led dozens of kids away from Harvest, and now we only get to see six or seven of them.
What’s worst about The Ravagers is that it’s boring. When N.O.W.H.E.R.E. agents arrive and offer a surrender, many of the kids go off on their former captors, spewing ridiculousness like “I’ll make you pay!” and “I’ll have my revenge!” While Mackie doesn’t insult the reader with his charmless syntax and diction like Lobdell, his overall narrative is so long in the tooth that it seems pointless to read it again. Why would I need another series about emotionally scarred super-kids to follow? I’ve already got countless X-Men titles, the constant awkwardness of Teen Titans, and the amazing quality of Young Justice over on Cartoon Network to keep me sane.
The Ravagers is just unnecessary, and that’s a big weak point when it comes to a series that’s supposed to be all-action all the time. The series is called The Ravagers, yet these MAIN CHARACTERS are not Ravagers! Rose Wilson and Warblade are Ravagers, and they appear and attack Fairchild & Co., but the entire title of this book is a total and complete misdirect. Who knows, maybe Mackie has amazing plans for this title down the line and I’ll just need to sit it out and wait. Unfortunately for me, I have to endure characters like Ridge until DC gets it’s shit together.