Or – “Does Fairchild’s Decolletage Get Top Billing?”
BANG BANG! Deathstroke’s crazy daughter fell down upon their heads!
BANG BANG! Deathstroke’s crazy daughter made sure that they were dead!
THE RAVAGERS #1
Writer: Howard Mackie
Artist: Ian Churchill
Inker: Norm Rapmund with Ian Churchilll
Colorist: Alex Sollazzo
Letterer: Dezi Sienty
Editor(s): Pat McCallum & Eddie Berganza
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously, in The Ravagers: After The Culling, Doctor Caitlin Fairchild has escaped Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. with a batch of superhuman teenagers, all of whom are emotionally scarred by their time trapped in the horror show of experimentation that is N.O.W.H.E.R.E. The question now is: Where are they goin?
THE NINETIES ARE BACK…
If it weren’t for the DC peel in the upper corner of the cover, I would have mistaken this for a 1994-era independent title trying to capitalize on the popularity of Jim Lee. We open with our characters escaping into the open, and a FULL PAGE of captions seemingly designed to demonstrate as many cliches as possible in the shortest time. At first, it seems like only the characters from the cover are present, but a moment later there are seemingly dozens of lost children wandering the frozen tundra. That artistic inconsistency is a big problem, as the only thing that differentiates the female characters is color/style, and many of the characters aren’t identified at all. This is really annoying, given the Shooter-era Marvel technique that Howard Mackie uses at the beginning (“Hey, Fairchild, where are we?” “Well, Beast Boy, you should ask your friend Terra over there!”) Also, weirdly, the girl with the lightning powers is identified on the cover as “Thunder,” while her brother with the concussive powers is labeled “Lightning.” I don’t know if it’s a mistake or an attempt to invert the whole “powered siblings” trope…
A MELANGE OF THE FAMILIAR…
My recent re-reading of Alpha Flight makes it clear where Thunder and Lightning’s inspiration lies, while Terra and Beast Boy (who pretty much only make a cameo here before running off together) are our star-crossed lovers. Also, in the New 52, Beast Boy is red, rather than green for some reason. Ridge is the obligatory Wolverine-type, while Fairchild is the cute-bruiser-with-a-secret and the rest of the team… gets murdered. The villains of the piece are, themselves, iterations of heroes (Warblade of WildCATs and Rose “Ravager” Wilson of the Teen Titans, respectively) and they slashy-slashy through the cannon fodder heroes (explaining why there are so many characters in the wide shots) to show how tough they are. The issue ends with the same cliche that it began with, and the characters falling into the ocean, making me wonder if we’re supposed to hope they’re okay. I really don’t know, because the characters are all pretty fuzzy and indistinct, while the art tries to make up for that by making them visually busy and over-designed.
THE VERDICT: INCONSISTENT AND INCOMPLETE…
The most burning question of the issue comes from the cover: Why is Fairchild (who spends the whole issue bundled up like an eskimo, in her underwear on the cover? Is it merely to make her identifiable to fans who might not recognize her otherwise? Or just to display her formidable super-gazongas and move books? Spinning out of ‘The Culling,’ this issue seems to expect you to have read all that crossover as a compulsory to understanding, which works against the book, and nothing much really happens other than snarling and wholesale murder. Either way, The Ravagers #1 isn’t even the example of the Bad Girl 90’s excesses that the cover might lead you to believe, it’s just not a particularly interesting or well done comic, earning 1.5 out of 5 stars overall.