“Ravagers” issues 5 – 7

Written by Howard Mackie

Wildstorm concepts:   WildCATS - Warblade Gen13 - Caitlin Fairchild

All-star WesternOur story begins two days after we left off, with the kids having a tour of the safehouse they’re now staying at. They couldn’t do it before because they were busy cleaning up their wounds from Brother Blood. All the while, Superboy waited anxiously, dying to get a chance to talk with Caitlin and maybe learn something about his origins.

Niles Caulder, who owns the place and seems to know Caitlin intimately, guides the tour; he takes the kids to an arena where they’ll be able to train and improve their abilities. This is uncomfortably similar to what they did in The Colony, so everyone get mad and leave. Caitlin tries to insult Niles, but he says the kids need to be treated like weapons. If Caitlin didn’t think that, she wouldn’t have brought them to him. When Niles leaves, Cait is angered, so Superboy basically picks a bad moment to try to have a heart-to-heart with her. When he touches her, Cait reacts by throwing him at a wall.

Superboy understands that Cait simply needs to work out her frustration on someone, so they agree to brawl while discussing what Superboy wanted. As they fight each other, Cait explains she didn’t enter N.O.W.H.E.R.E. because of Superboy; she can’t shed any light on his origins. She entered the organization to know about herself, because she knows less about herself than she does about Superboy.

Right when Superboy is starting to lose it at the realization that no one can really help him, they’re interrupted by an alarm claiming Code Alpha. Apparently Thunder lost control of his powers and they need to sedate him. Even though they manage to calm him down, he keeps convulsing and passes out. Caitlin and Niles, using their knowledge as doctors, realize there’s an implant in his brain; a kill-switch that has been activated. Now that they know this they manage to find a counter-signal to slow it down. Problem is, removing it would probably kill Lightning, and if Harvest put it there then the rest must have kill-switches too. And that’s not all; the microscopic device read “Colony #18,” like there’s many other Colonies out there. This closes the deal for the kids, who don’t want anyone else out there to suffer their fate. They rush to the arena, anxious to train and improve, finally having become a team. Superboy is accepted into the team temporarily, as he really needs somewhere to belong to.

Now that the team finally has their origin story out of the way, the following issue starts as they train in the arena, in a virtual scenario very much like the danger room of the X-Men. Niles is talking with Red Robin of the Teen Titans, who assures Niles the Teen Titans will have his back if his kids ever lose control. Niles still sees the kids as weapons, encouraging them to embrace their training in The Colony, to become fearful warriors. He wants to keep up the training, but Caitlin, ever the sensible one, says enough is enough and takes out the kids for a day out. They visit Venice Beach, California, where the weird is norm and a monster like Ridge won’t bat an eye. It’s the perfect spot, except they don’t get a lot of time to hang out, because they’re called in for a mission.

Caitlin immediately starts arguing with Niles that the kids aren’t ready to go out into the field, and some gifts aren’t going to change that; Niles has bought them brand new costumes and a high-performance ship. But they must go through with the mission; Niles has got intel on N.O.W.H.E.R.E. making a move on another young kid, so they can’t let that happen.

The team promptly travels to Brooklyn, NY. They need to look for a girl named Lisa – but they’re met by Brighteyes and Windshear, who had been captured back in issue #1. Apparently, Keeper brainwashed them, turning them into Ravagers for Harvest. Capturing the girl, Lisa, is meant to be their first solo mission. A fight ensues. Working together, the good kids manage to beat the Ravagers, but there’s a problem. Rookie Ravagers on their first mission never go unsupervised! Warblade and Rose are right there, and the kids can’t run away this time.

All the while, Lisa has been watching the spectacle, hidden behind a tree. As it turns out, she has the power of seeing possible futures in visions of what might happen. As the Ravagers start attacking the kids, Lisa sees that Caitlin is the key to whether they’re going to live or die. When Cait is thrown near her, Lisa takes the chance and touches her head; this allows Cait to see the visions. Cait witnesses what could happen: She sees the kids getting captured, brainwashed into working for N.O.W.H.E.R.E. She sees Harvest fulfilling his plans of amassing an army of teenage superheroes, thanks to having Lisa in his power and allowing him to see the future. Cait sees the army taking over the world… All of that is what’s at stake that night.

Caitlin doesn’t need any more convincing that she needs to help the kids. Once the vision is over, Cait rushes to the action. She notices Terra isn’t helping, paralyzed by the sight of the Ravagers who tortured her so much. Caitlin motivates her to join the fight, to prove the Ravagers aren’t in control anymore – but Terra takes it as a chance to get revenge. She lets herself go for the first time, unleashing her powers and lifting the whole ground at once. She manages to knock out the Ravagers, but she wants more. Terra wants to kill them. Even though Beast Boy tries to change her mind, nobody manages to get through to her, who impales Warblade through the chest.

But Warblade simply starts laughing. He can morph his body in the strangest ways, a chunk of rock through the chest is nothing to him. He congratulates Terra on having attempted to kill, the first step in becoming a true Ravager. Lisa freaks out: Caitlin was supposed to help the kids, not unleash their cruelty. She runs away, asking not to be followed. And while the kids were distracted the Ravagers escaped too. All in all, an awful night for our heroes.

Caitlin returns to the base shaken to the core, feeling that Niles had been right all along: The kids are potential weapons. The vision showed Cait just how much destruction they can make, and Terra showed her that they can’t be controlled. She’s having a crisis of faith.

Meanwhile, someone is watching the recordings of what happened in Brooklyn: Deathstroke! The last time he saw Caitlin was when he was a member of Team 7, and Caitlin died. So how can she be back? He’s officially interested in the case.

Next: Legion Lost Vol.2 issues 14 – 16, written by Tom DeFalco.

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