Or – “The Title That Embodied What I Find Wrong With The Post-Flashpoint DCU.”
When this book debuted, I had a moment of interest upon hearing that it would be relaunching parts of the New Teen Titans with parts of Gen 13, two books that were occasionally awesome in their original incarnations. Things quickly turned sour for me, for a number of reasons (many related to Howard Mackie) and I dropped the book before issue #4. Will this final issue satisfactorily wrap things up with a big ol’ bow? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
THE RAVAGERS #12
Plotter(s): Tony Bedard and Michael A. Nelson
Scripter: Tony Bedard
Penciler: Diogenes Neves
Inker: Vicente Sifuentes
Colorist: Tony Avina
Letterer: Dezi Sienty
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously, in The Ravagers: Escaping from the cloning vats of NOWHERE, The Ravagers set out into the world to try to find themselves, but only found conflict. Beast Boy, Terra, Thunder, Lightning, Fairchild and Ridge have been caught up in conflict after conflict, but they’ve never had a fight as tough as Deathstroke, The Terminator!
There are 20 pages in this comic book, and about 6 pages worth of content, so I’m going to take a moment to talk about the biggest failing of The Ravagers for me: Turning Beast Boy red. The character is one of DC’s more recognizable second-tier characters, thanks to his run in the Teen Titans cartoon, and has been more-or-less green since the 70s. (He was occasionally purplish-grey in the Silver Age, if memory serves.) While hardly an iconic character on the level of Batman or even Aquaman, the fundamental change in switching him to red (especially in order to create a marginal tie-in to ANOTHER character’s backstory, in this case Animal Man’s morphogenic powers) seems arbitrary, designed only to create the illusion of unity in a universe cobbled together out of decades of disparate stories. And that, Faithful Spoilerites, is what this entire issue, and the team within it is: cobbled together disparity. As we open, Deathstroke has engaged our protagonists in mortal combat, and half the team is murdered on panel in the first three pages, leaving an angry Beast Boy alone against the vicious artist-formerly-known-as-the-Terminator… What chance does he have? Giant slavering wolf-chance, that’s what!
(ALSO: DOO DAAH! DOO DAAH!)
As the angry were-Logan rips into the elder Wilson, the younger Wilson (Rose) shows Caitlin Fairchild the truth about herself: She’s nothing but a clone, and Harvest has vats FULL of less successful mutated versions of herself, causing Cait to flip out and smash Rose about. Sadly, this also frees her cloned selves, who swarm their “sister,” and leave Rose to be stabbed through the heart by her own father! The dramatic declarations fly fast and furious, and even having kept up with the goings-on here out of affection for Fairchild, Terra and B.B., I find myself not caring as the creators engage in a process known as “clearing the decks.” Caitlin also gets gutted by Deathstroke, before the story gives us a coda explaining the REAL story of who hired him and the fate of the Ravagers (it involves magic, and the execrable Harvest), while Slade takes custody of his daughter again. As the issue ends, Gar Logan lies bleeding in a pile of rubble, as an old friend descends from the sky, seemingly ready to collect him, and even that nostalgic twinge is colored by the realization that this issue is nothing but housekeeping, sending everyone on their way for their next story. Indeed, the last issue of Ravagers ends with a note that Beast Boy’s story will soon continue in Teen Titans, the one really enjoyable moment in the book for me.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A TALKY EXERCISE IN PUTTING PIECES IN PLACE FOR THE NEXT STORY…
Normally, I try to be open-minded to the realities of publishing, to the fact that people work very hard on books like this, and that there’s usually a reason why these sweeping change issues occur. But with The Ravagers, I find no sympathy. This book rolled out of a dull crossover between two dull books, and has been nothing but melodrama and 90s-style declarations every issue. The art this month isn’t bad at all, to be honest, and Deathstroke looks as consistent as I’ve seen him, which earns some goodwill, but the fact that the major emotional reveal here is nothing more than a footnote to an issue of Team 7 already published, and that a very frustrating reset button gets hit 2/3 of the way through, there’s really not much left to say. The Ravagers #12 wraps things up logistically, but doesn’t really give any emotional heft to things, and feeling more like a Marvel comic from 1993 than a DC book twenty years later has any business feeling, earning 1 out of 5 stars overall. I will, however, probably check in with Teen Titans to see if Beast Boy’s tale goes anywhere…
DID YOU READ THIS ISSUE? RATE IT!