The Ravagers #1: Just Kinda There

Superboy and Teen Titans spin off a new book about refugees on the run from mad scientists.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

The Ravagers #1

Having read only the first issues of both Superboy and Teen Titans, I have a very vague understanding of what's going on in The Ravagers #1. The evil science establishment called N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and a jerk named Harvest have been experimenting on young people in captivity, and one of their eggheads named Caitlin Fairchild, who is apparently She-Hulk without the green skin, has just sprung a whole slew of them – and got them stranded in the frozen tundra of Alaska. Freeing these kids hasn't really gone very far in getting them to trust her, though, and tense bickering pervades the entire story.

The first issue of this new series from writer Howard Mackie and artist Ian Churchill drops us right into the middle of things, creating a manic sense of confusion. That sort of fits, since we feel as befuddled as the characters do with their newfound freedom amidst desolate surroundings, but it's also hard to care much for anybody here since we don't really know any of them. Fairchild is trying to wrangle the kids, while being constantly undermined by a lizard-man named Ridge, who was once a "Ravager" for Harvest – the fate from which they're both trying to protect these kids. Beast Boy and Terra split the group instantly, as do a flier I'm guessing is named Windshear, who takes off with a woman named Bright-Eyes, who apparently exists to show her tits and die. That's entirely off-putting on a teen book… although maybe these aren't all teens. It's hard to tell.

Soon, Rose Wilson and Warblade, two nasty Ravagers currently in willing service, are hunting down the escapees, killing a few and sabotaging Fairchild's escape plan, and making for a confrontation we will apparently see more of in #2, with the brother/sister team of Lightning and Thunder playing a large role.

The crux of the book seems to be the age-old comic book premise of righteous vengeance vs. rising above hate. These people want to punish and murder the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. troopers who try to surrender to them and apologize for what they've done, while Fairchild desperately tries to keep them from being the killers Harvest apparently wanted them to become. It's a mad scramble of a first issue, and unless you've been reading the books they spun out of or have a long-standing fondness for what was once Gen13, it's hard to feel invested here. Churchill's art gives us a lot of button-nosed ladyfaces and a lot of similar expressions on everybody, and while it's not bad, it's also not particularly varied or interesting.

The Ravagers #1 seems to exist entirely to branch out from the Superboy/Teen Titans storyline and not really to involve new readers. It's just kinda there. Not a yay, not a nay, just a meh.