Ravagers #1 (July, 2012)
“Children of Destiny”
Writer – Howard Mackie
Artist – Ian Churchill
Inker – Norm Rapmund & Ian Churchill
Colorist – Alex Sollazzo
Letterer – Dezi Sienty
Assistant Editors – Sean Mackiewicz & Darren Shaw
Editors – Pat McCallum & Eddie Berganza
Special Thanks – Scott Lobdell
Cover Price: $2.99
Doing a little bit of a New-52! Retrial today. We’re going to discuss a book that, when I first read it, I absolutely hated. Though, to be fair, I was pretty sour on DC Comics by 2012…
Gonna give Ravagers a look with some less angry eyes, and see if perhaps my first impression on it was blinded by post-Flashpoint temper-tantrumy rage.
We open with our crew of kids still fleeing from the baddies from N.O.W.H.E.R.E. This spins out of the… abysmal The Culling crossover early on in The New-52! between the Teen Titans, Legion Lost, and Superboy titles. Man, that story almost made me drop Titans for the first time in… many many years. My damned completionist nature’s the only thing that saved it… hell, it’s the only reason I own this book too. Anyhoo… Terra’s Earthy hoo-doo wears off, and the kids fall to the snow below. Fairchild depowers, and reveals that she might not be up to the task of leading them. I mean, she’s trying… but she is woefully unprepared to reign these geeks in. This is also where we get our Pandora cameo.
And so, she loses four members immediately. Windshear and Bright-Eyes fly off first… then moments later, Terra and Beast Boy go their own way. The monstrous Ridge (Ridge, really?) suggests he might be better equipped to lead. Caitlin ain’t really feeling that… and so, he grabs her by the throat and hoists her up. She then reveals that she saw their files before N.O.W.H.E.R.E. had nabbed them. Thunder tells Ridge to drop the redhead.
The crew is suddenly surrounded by N.O.W.H.E.R.E. agents… who, surrender? Like really, they drop their weapons… and explain that they were “just following orders” before. Thunder and Lightning join hands… and proceed to drop the hammer on ’em.
We rejoin Windshear and Bright-Eyes as they are being pursued by a N.O.W.H.E.R.E. (boy am I typing that a lot) aircraft. Windshear, being a complete jerk, throws Bright-Eyes at them so he can make a quick getaway. Turns out to be a pretty bad idea, however… Bright-Eyes has a run-in in with Warblade (who somehow looks even more “90s” than he originally did) while Windshear finds himself mounted by Rose Wilson.
Back on the ground, the crew is just wrecking the poor (unarmed) fools from N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Fairchild powers up, talks some sense into Ridge… then heads over to try and control Thunder and Lightning. She appeals to their better nature, and finally convinces them to stand down.
Just then, Fairchild’s hacked N.O.W.H.E.R.E. aircraft arrives to pick them up. The rest of the gang ain’t so sure, after all, they just escaped from there… and when they met Caitlin, she was working for them! The point is soon rendered moot… as her craft has most definitely been compromised… and it crashes into the snow.
The culprits are revealed to be, Warblade and Rose Wilson. They start their attack… and wind up killing several “red shirts” as they work their way toward the main cast. I was wondering why some of these characters never got names… wouldn’t want to leave an actual intellectual property bleeding out on the snow.
Fairchild has Lightning use his powers to chop away at the ground… which sends the crew into the water below. Probably not the smartest escape plan… hell, probably wouldn’t have hurt to make it clear they were up on a sort of a cliff before now too. Either way, this is where we wrap up.
Nope, still didn’t like this.
I will say, I wasn’t as mad at it this time around as I was in 2012… but that’s probably less to say about the issue, and more to say about where DC Comics is right now. Still, a pretty lousy read.
I suppose it would be a bit cliche and perhaps a bit unfair to simply say that this felt like an early 1990’s Image comic. While I can’t say that’s untrue… I hate to hang my hat on that, because there is more to dislike about this issue than just that. Not that “being an early 1990’s Image book” is something immediately worth scorn or anything.
At this point in the New-52 it feels like DC is just throwing out all of these second-string properties in order to reestablish them, whether they have a reason to do so or not. It’s just too much. I mean, right here we’ve got new takes on (not counting Wildstorm characters) Thunder, Lightning, Beast Boy, and Terra. I’m willing to bet that there wasn’t any sort of character bible done on any of them… it’s just a matter of “get them out there”, rather than having any sort of plan. It feels so cheap… and kind of a disservice to previously established and integral characters like Terra and Gar.
I think it was seeing those two characters that really turned me off initially… and seeing them now, I feel the same way. Such a waste. I know Terra’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but despite how briefly she was around, she had such a lasting effect on the Titans. She fundamentally changed the team… she forced them to rethink how they operated. Gar is here… and he’s red, because “different”. Though, I suppose it could be a result of his being tapped into “The Red”, from that unending storyarc in New-52 Animal Man.
The characters here are for the most part, unlikable… which makes them fit in with the New-52‘s other teenage heroes. They were all awful to one another… though, at least the Ravagers sort of had a reason to be that way. They had been held by (sigh) N.O.W.H.E.R.E. for as long as they can remember, so a chip on their shoulder is understood. I appreciate their distrust of Fairchild too, as, for all they know… this is just a field test for the bad guys, and not an actual escape.
Speaking of Fairchild, I think she was the first WildStorm character (who didn’t have their own title, Grifter, Voodoo, Stormwatch) I noticed lurking in the New-52. I remember thinking it was pretty cool that they were being integrated, it’s too bad they didn’t do more with them. I guess that’s just another instance of this initiative being half-hearted and not entirely thought out. While on the subject, Warblade’s redesign is pretty lame. Like I said above, he somehow looks even more like a Chromium Age relic than he did initially… and dude had a top knot the first time around!
Overall… I’d say this is skippable. It kinda bugs me to say so, as I have a bit of a soft spot for Howard Mackie. I really dug his (pre-relaunch) Spider-Man work… hell, even liked some of his X-Factor, and (very early on) Mutant X. I didn’t like the story, or the characters… compound that with my overall malaise toward the New-52, I can say it’s certainly not worth my time… your mileage may vary, however. Not to end on too sour a note… I will say, Ian Churchill’s art here is pretty great.