Ravagers hits you with a dull thud the moment you take a gander at it. The cover is riddled with eye-distracting text, which effectively buries any semblance of artwork beneath its heel. On a related note, I am surprised by the lack of fact checking that took place on the cover. Artist Jeremy Whittington pointed out to me that two of the team members are misnamed, due to a transposition, creating a fairly blatant error that now gets to rest upon comic book shelves all across the country for all to see DC’s wonderful editing skills.
As guessed, the first impressions of Ravagers #1 are not a stellar. The Ravagers spins out of the Titans Titans crossover, The Culling. Essentially, the Harvester (a villain from Legion Lost’s time period) has meta-humans compete in what is dubbed the ‘Culling’ to see which are skilled and strong enough to become his own personal minions, otherwise known as the Ravagers. These individuals are often tortured and experimented on in order to enhance or evolve their power sets. This often has horrible side effects resulting in unstable abilities and memory gaps and/or loss. However, despite all of this, in the closing pages of the Culling a small group of Ravagers escape and try to begin anew in Ravagers #1.
The first issue of this new DC series begins and ends rather sluggishly. Led by Harvester scientist Fairchild aids the beguiled Ravagers to the surface above the underground complex amidst a flurry of snow and broken ice. Almost immediately the loose knit team splinters, pairs off, and takes their own lives in hand in an effort escape.
There is some brief dialogue between the characters, but the comic tries to pick up again when two of Harvester’s more prominent Ravagers (Warblade and Rose Wilson) arrive on site to wrestle the remaining Ravagers back into their cages. In desperation the team reforms under Fairchild’s leadership and instead of fighting the two head on they use Thunder’s unchecked power to cut off a section of the ice shelf successfully separating themselves from their enemies and plunging them into the newly created chasm.
On the whole, the Ravagers is much worse than last month’s G.I. Combat. For a second I almost thought that I was reading a J.T. Krul penned comic, but alas I was mistaken. Like Krul, the dialogue and plot structure are clumsy and ill structured. I see the intent behind some the scenes, but they are injected at odd junctures and try to convey much deeper motifs than can be explained in a single issue.
From my understanding one of the main tenants of the Ravagers’ dynamic is the simple fact that they are essentially tortured meta-humans with a tampered moral compass. As a group they are going to have to ascertain their place upon the good vs. evil battlefield, and instead of setting some underlying narrative to dive into this as the series progresses there are particular snippets that try too hard to explain something too complex for the infancy of the series.
The art is middle of the road. It’s not bad, but it’s not Jim Lee’s Superman either. I was hoping that I would be dazzled with a brilliant splash page or two after slogging through such poor narrative, but alas I was wrong again.
I give Ravagers #1 two-out-of five stars; I’d shelve this one and move on to something more intriguing. DC has rolled out some great titles, but unfortunately this isn’t one of them. Save yourself the trouble and pick up Dial H to satisfy your hankering for something fresh.
Also, don’t forget to check out more of DC’s New 52 at your local Spokane comic book shop, Merlyn’s, downtown on Main Street. They’ve recently changed their pricing to include 20% off of graphic novels and 50% off of back issue comics 2011 and older. It’s a stellar deal, but it’s first come first serve, so stake your claim quick. Stayed tuned for my upcoming review on DC’s first Before Watchmen title, Minutemen #1. Here’s a preview: It’s Awesome!
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