Spinning out of “The Culling” crossover between the majority of DC’s teen books, ‘The Ravagers’ focuses on scientist Caitlin Fairchild (formerly of the Image series ‘Gen 13’) formerly employed by the shadowy agency N.O.W.H.E.R.E., who kidnapped and tortured super teens.  Some of them escaped and formed the Teen Titans. Caitlin is attempting to escape with a bunch that weren’t so lucky and are just achieving freedom after the events in “The Culling.” They arrive in the tundra of Alaska. Understandably, most of them don’t trust her or dinosaur-like Ridge, who served as one of their captors.  In fact, two of them, Windshear and Brighteyes, take off.  They are followed by Beast Boy (no longer green) and Terra. (No idea who this version is.  She doesn’t look like either of DC’s previous Terras.) Fairchild seems to be able to grow into a super strong Amazonian type, but like The Hulk, she has trouble holding herself back in that form. She insults Ridge, who informs her that he was a normal human until N.O.W.H.E.R.E. activated his metagene, turning him into his present monstrous form.

When a group of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. minions escapes and attempts to surrender, the teens cut loose with revenge in their hearts. Lightning, the sister half of new duo Thunder & Lightning, unleashes a a ball lightning attack.  The soldiers try to apologize, but these kids have been exposed to frightening and constant pain, physical and mental.

Original drawing of Ridge by artist Ian Churchill

A N.O.W.H.E.R.E. aircraft spots Windshear, who is carrying Brighteyes.  He can’t shake them and her attempt to blind them with her… ahem, Brighteyes fails, so he dumps her and flies off. She smacks into a window on the craft and Warblade stabs her through the glass. Rose Wilson leaps outside and tells Windshear he killed Brighteyes for nothing and attacks him with her swords.

Back at the escape site, things have degenerated into a brawl, with Fairchild unable to dissuade the angry kids.  She manages to get Ridge on her side and they manage to break up most of the fights. Lightning won’t stop however, so Fairchild talks to her brother, Thunder, telling him if she kills him, then N.O.W.H.E.R.E. wins. He intervenes and tells his sister “We aren’t them.  We can be better.”

An escape craft approaches, but crashes. Warblade and Wilson exit. Things look bleak and Fairchild doesn’t have a clue what to do. Several of the teens (the rest that don’t appear on the cover and aren’t ever identified by name) attept to surrender, but Wilson and Warblade slaughter them. They then attack Fairchild and the rest. Rose tells Thunder to unleash his powers full blast, which knocks the bad guys backward. She then attempts an escape that they may not survive.  (But they probably will, otherwise this would be a short ongoing series.)

Original Pencils for page 17, showing Warblade and Rose Wilson

I hate trashing books. I really do. I’m a nice guy!  The writing is adequate. It doesn’t do anything for me, but I’ve read worse, but honestly, it’s so trite. The whole “If you kill them, they win” speech has been given in how many thousands of comics, movies, TV shows, etc.? There are too many characters for any of them to be given a real chance to shine, not even Fairchild, but this book suffers from a problem too many books these days do; none of the characters are likeable. They’re all angry and bitter and mean. That makes for some pretty flat characterization. Even The Hulk is more multidimensional than that, when done correctly. I don’t even feel sorry for them having been tortured all that time. They’re just giant a-holes with chips on their shoulders and there are already hundreds of those in comics. Teens can be emotional and angsty, but not ALL of them and I’m tired of that being the only way creators know how to depict them. It’s a stereotype about a group of people. Last I checked, that wasn’t okay.

The art is good. It’s not my favorite style, I admit, but I never fault an artist because of my personal taste. I have issues with that cover, though. In the comic, Fairchild wears a full-body, armored costume that even has a hood. So why is she in a bra and panties on the cover? Also, Thunder and Lightning are mislabeled. (Their names are flip-flopped.) I mean, this is the cover and no one caught that?

This book just wasn’t for me. If you like the present ‘Teen Titans’ and ‘Superboy’ books, then you may like this one. It’s similar in tone to those. I’ll just keep watching the ‘Young Justice’ cartoon, with an interesting, balanced team of teen heroes.

Verdict: Burn

Written by Howard Mackie
Art and Cover by Ian Churchill