“Ravagers” written by Howard Mackie; “Superboy” written by Tom DeFalco.
Woo! Caitlin gets a front cover!
Ravager starts right after the ending of The Culling, with Caitlin helping several kids escape from The Colony. These kids were trained to kill and fight for survival across several years, so she’s worried whether she can help them rediscover their humanity. They need to complete their escape first, though. They’re in the middle of Antarctica, chased by the Ravagers and exhausted. The groups is composed by Caitlin, Beast Boy (morphs into animals), Terra (controls earth), Ridge (was mutated into a super strong monster), Thunder and Lightning (twins with electric powers). Windshear and Brighteyes also escape with them, but they don’t stay with the group for long. By the way, Terra’s hair is a curious thing. It looks blond during the first issues of The Culling, but it turns purple in the final chapter. Then it looks brown during this set of issues, but afterwards it turns to blond again. It’s just curious.
The conflicts start immediately: Windshear and Brighteyes don’t trust Caitlin after she infiltrated N.O.W.H.E.R.E., because that means she worked for the organization. Windshear can fly — and apparently that’s his only power — so he takes Brighteyes and they take off. Terra and Beast Boy feel they don’t own anyone nothing, so they also go away. The rest decide to trust Caitlin for now; she promises she can fix them. They’ve been so messed up they don’t even remember their lives before The Colony, but Caitlin has seen their files before they were taken, so perhaps she has a shot at making things right.
Anyway, the Ravagers Rose Wilson and Warblade hunt down Windshear and Brighteyes. Windshear’s power is flying and Brighteye’s power is blinding people with a flash of light from her eyes, so yeah, they’re captured.
Meanwhile, Caitlin’s group runs into a security detail from N.O.W.H.E.R.E., but they aren’t there to hunt the kids down. They never wanted to work for the organization; they were just following orders. They try to surrender, but Thunder won’t have any of it. She’s too mad at anyone from N.O.W.H.E.R.E., and also she’s a psychopath after all her time in The Colony, so she convinces her brother Lightning to help her attack the unarmed men. Soon all the other kids join in the punching action. Caitlin is about to power up to stop her kids- but she defuses the situation using her words, and convinces the kids to not become the killers their captors wanted them to be. After that, Caitlin manages to hack a ship, but it gets taken down by the Ravagers. Warblade and Rose start slaughtering the children around them – Warblade is savage like that! Some of the children were surrendering — and then they start going towards Caitlin’s group. Caitlin is forced to think fast. She uses Thunder’s power of shooting a ray beam from his chest to break the ground around them and separate them from the Ravagers, but this causes the good guys to drop down towards Antarctica’s frozen waters!
Luckily, they all land safely. Ridge’s monster body can breathe underwater, so he uses his tail as a rudder to propel the chunk of ice the group is on, and they head towards a ship. Meanwhile, Harvest wastes no time and sets up a new base in the Hhentii mountains, Mongolia. While Warblade and Rose bring in their captures Windshear and Brighteyes, they discuss how Harvest has plans within plans. It seems he planned everything, from his Culling failing to the kids escaping to ordering the Ravagers to capture them back. He wants to test his kids in the real world, kind of like that time Ivana took the DV8 to New York. The Ravagers take the kids to “Keeper” — a guy who look like a robot with a baby protruding from his chest who seems to control the adult body. He tells them the capture of Caitlin has been assigned to Shadow Walker, Harvest’s first recruit. We keep seeing new people in Harvest’s team. Harvest explains he wants Caitlin to spread his children across the globe, but he doesn’t want her to guide them to the path of goodness and ruin his plans.
Back with the heroes – when the ship’s crew notices they have intruders they point guns at Lightning, and this drives Thunder crazy so all the kids start attacking back. They end up almost sinking the ship they were depending on. After all that’s over, they travel for seven hours to Seattle. Caitlin scolds the kids for going crazy, so Thunder and Lightning get mad and run away. They only know things as they were on the Colony – you either killed or got killed.
Being on their own, the brothers become easy pickings for Shadow Walker. He reveals he hid a piece of his shadow body within all the kids from The Colony, so he can track any of them. Caitlin doesn’t have a piece, though, so Shadow Walker tells Lightning she must lead him to Cait if she wants to see her brother again. She agrees, walks up to Caitlin and Ridge and backstabs them. When she’s taken to Thunder, though, he doesn’t want to escape.
He says they aren’t going anywhere without their teammates. Lightning “sees the light” and apologizes for betraying them, just in time for Shadow Walker to explain he can influence and manipulate anyone with a piece of his shadow in them. This convenient explanation frees Lightning of any guilt: she was controlled! Filled with a desire for vengeance, Lightning supercharges Shadow Walker and makes him explode. Damn, that’s brutal. Caitlin starts fearing perhaps the release of the kids was part of a plan to unleash them upon an unsuspecting world.
Elsewhere, Beast Boy and Terra are sleeping. Since separating themselves from the main group they somehow made it to the city and started living from stolen food. Beast Boy has a nightmare; it is a prophetic dream of Brother Blood coming for him. He doesn’t understand what it means, but readers know he’s a supervillain who needs Beast Boy’s blood to open a portal to a place called “the Red Place”. Now, this plot requires a little DCU knowledge. Brother Blood is a longtime Teen Titans villain, so he’s facing Beast Boy and Terra who were Titans in the old continuity. Also, The Red Place is where the avatars of animal life live, as opposed to the Green Place for vegetal life. You get the idea. This gets explored in the pages of “Swamp Thing” and “Animal Man.” Anyway, Blood wants to open a door to this place so that his “lord” can enter Earth.
Back with the heroes, they take a break from going to Caitlin’s safehouse to shower in a river, and Ridge disturbingly reveals he has no genitals when he gets naked. They’re interrupted by Brother Blood’s acolytes, who are chasing all the kids because they get their information from vague visions, so they don’t know which kid is going to open the portal. Our heroes start getting outnumbered, but the fight is stopped by Brother Blood himself. He wants his human tributes to be unharmed, not losing any blood. Using mental manipulation, he gets to bring Lightning to his side. Man, Lightning is a traitor yet again? Meanwhile, Beast Boy and Terra turn back from the direction they were going because Beast Boy’s visions have gotten too powerful. He knows they’re prophetic, so when he sees the other kids trapped by Brother Blood, he and Terra rush to save them. They run into some civilians being rounded up by the Brother Blood acolytes – they need more blood to fuel their ceremony. The sight of blood triggers some memory in Beast Boy’s amnesic mind, so he “goes red” with anger and defeats all of the cultists.
Back with the main group, Brother Blood captures them all and has them brought to his base under the nearby city’s church. He plans on using their blood to open his doorway, though he’s still missing the key to open it: Beast Boy. Blood uses his mental powers to freeze everyone in place as he starts draining the blood out of Thunder’s body, controlling the blood with his mind and making it come out of his skin cuts. Meanwhile, Beast Boy and Terra find the town which has been taken over by the Blood cult. Beast Boy can sense they’re under the church, so Terra uses her earth-bending powers and lifts the whole floor to make way for them. Apparently, they were under dampeners in The Colony, so ever since they escaped the kids’ powers have been stronger than ever.
When they land in Brother Blood’s ritual room, he recognizes Beast Boy from his dreams; as it turns out, their connections with The Red caused them to enter the place in dreams and that’s why they had dreamed about each other. Blood recognizes Beast Boy as the key he needs, so they start battling it out. And when Terra frees the rest of the kids, they join the fight against the acolytes. The good guys start murdering the bad guys… to Caitlin’s dismay. Beast Boy realizes none of their enemies is trying to kill them; Brother Blood needs his captives alive to use their blood. By the time Beast Boy realizes the best thing they could do is get away, Brother Blood opens the doorway. They need a really good distraction if they want to get out of that place. Feeling guilty for all the times she’s been manipulated, Lightning decides it’s up to her to fix things, so he throws herself into the portal with one of Brother Blood’s women.
As expected, the portal destabilizes and crashes down with an explosion. Brother Blood gets trapped under all the rubble, but Lightning is gone! The team gets out, with Beast Boy and Terra joining them. Everyone’s shocked and exhausted, especially Caitlin. She didn’t expect such disregard for life from the kids. She used to see them as abused kids, but all she can see now is ticking time bombs. All in all, it’s a messy story with too little to do with Wildstorm characters.
Anyway, the group reaches Caitlin’s safehouse, where they’re greeted by ally Niles Caulder. At that moment, though, they’re interrupted by the sudden arrival of Superboy! We see this scene from his point of view in “Superboy” Vol.6 issue #13.
That issue begins with Superboy meeting Detective Jocelyn Lure to ask her about Caitlin; he trusted Jocelyn with Cait back in issue #5. Jocelyn is forced to admit she couldn’t find Caitlin anywhere after she ran off to the Colony during “The Culling”. Jocelyn agrees to look for Cait.
Although Superboy doesn’t know it, Jocelyn comes from the 31st century and has links to the Legion of Superheroes. She uses her advanced tech to track down Caitlin, and helps Superboy reach her with a portal. That’s how we reach this moment of gathering, and that’s our cliffhanger!
Next: Deathstroke Vol.2 issues 9 – 12, written by Rob Liefeld.