This entry covers the entire “The Culling” crossover, in this order:
- Superboy Vol.6 issue 7
- Teen Titans Vol.4 issues 7 – 8
- Superboy Vol.6 issue 8
- Legion Lost Vol.2 issue 8
- Teen Titans Vol.4 Annual 1
- Superboy Vol.6 issue 9
- Legion Lost Vol.2 issue 9 and
- Teen Titans Vol.4 issue 9
written by Scott Lobdell and Tom Defalco.
The Culling is a long crossover between the series of Superboy, Teen Titans and Legion Lost, bringing together the storylines these books had been developing since the beginning.
Picking up where we left off, Superboy gets tired of all the mysteries and secrecy around him and starts trashing N.O.W.H.E.R.E. again. He’s stopped by Rose Wilson, a mercenary tasked with taking Superboy down if he ever lost control. What these two don’t know is they’re are also prime Ravagers candidates. Rose is also the daughter of Deathstroke, the Team 7 member, and although it isn’t revealed yet, she’s a metahuman. She has the ability to dampen other people’s powers, making her the perfect candidate for stopping Superboy, should the need ever come.
After Superboy’s outburst the organization deems him a failed project and decides to dispose of him, but the Teen Titans break into the place to rescue him. This was exactly what Harvest needed; to have all these youngling together for their capture. The big boss appears and stops the Titans, dealing with all of them at once. He sends the Titans to The Colony to be tested against all the other captured teenagers, but he leaves Superboy in the laboratories. He decides to give him another chance at becoming an effective weapon under the tutelage of one of his Ravagers: Grunge!
The Grunge of this timeline is like a dark, twisted version of our old Percival. This Grunge hates to be treated like a joke, reacting violently to it, as if he hated to be reminded of what he used to be in the old universe. Like the original, he used to need to touch things to gain their properties, but after he won a Culling and became a Ravager, N.O.W.H.E.R.E. filled his body with technological implants to amplify his abilities. By the time he meets Superboy he’s a full-fledged metamorph, capable of turning into anything just by thinking about it.
Superboy isn’t too thrilled about learning how to be a stone cold killer, so he fights against Grudge and the brawl turns so violent that he’s forced to kill Grunge to survive. Harvest is impressed; it seems Superboy wasn’t such a failed project after all. He decides to send Superboy to The Colony with the Titans, and to let Rose occupy the new vacancy in the Ravagers. At the same time, Caitlin wakes up in the hospital after N.O.W.H.E.R.E. captured her and fired her. Still worried about all the kids in danger, he rushes to The Colony, hoping to make it in time.
The Legion of Superheroes is captured shortly after, when Harvest sends seven members of the Ravagers to retrieve them. Now that all the teenagers are in The Colony, this year’s Culling is ready to begin. It is a very convoluted story with a ridiculous amount of characters, so here’s the breakdown:
Kids from the Colony
|Red Robin (leader)
Yeah, it’s a cast of 33 characters, and that’s not even counting Harvest and Caitlin. It seems very random that they would include two Wildstorm characters among the Ravagers, especially considering they don’t retain anything about their old personalities or backgrounds. Fuji doesn’t even get any dialogue and Warblade doesn’t look at all like his WSU version, and that’s strange when you consider he was specially designed by Jim Lee.
Despite the amount of characters and dialogue throughout the story, things develop in a fairly traditional way. Harvest sends the Teen Titans against the Legion of Superheroes, but after an initial conflict both teams decide to work together against their shared enemy. The Ravagers are sent after them, but the heroes manage to triumph. As it turns out, Harvest didn’t send all of his men – we’ll see in following books that he kept several powerful agents under his sleeve. He actually planned for The Culling to fail! Indeed, the Legion sabotages the facility’s power core, so the place starts crumbling down. While Caitlin helps all the kidnapped kids escape, the main cast faces Harvest, but he’s so powerful that they end up having to flee away.
Caitlin knows all of the freed metahumans won’t have an easy time learning how to survive in the real world after so many years in the Colony, so she decides to help them. This leads to a new series, “Ravagers”.
Next: Ravagers issues 1 – 4 and Superboy Vol.6 issue 13, written by Howard Mackie and Tom DeFalco.