Hawkman: Wanted

This entry covers the entire “Hawkman: Wanted” crossover, in this order:

  • Savage Hawkman issues 13 and 14
  • Deathstroke Vol.2 issue 14
  • Savage Hawkman issues 15 – 16

Plot by Rob Liefeld; Script by Frank Tieri in Hawkman and by Josh Williamson in Deathstroke

Wildstorm concepts:   Pike WildCATS - Daemonites

All-star WesternThis little crossover picks up where we left off in Hawkman, with Hawkman’s ex, Shayera having captured Carter and being about to bring him into her ship. She also holds Carter’s current girlfriend, Emma captive, simply because Carter cares for her. When they’re about to enter the ship, they’re surprised by the sudden appearance of supervillain Xerxes, who wants the NTH metal. Both Shayera’s and his army start fighting for the captive, but Xerxes is a bit more powerful and knocks Shayera out. In the middle of all the chaos, Pike feels things have gotten too messy for him and starts escaping, but Emma sneaks into his ship and holds him at gunpoint. Seems there was more to her than being a damsel in distress! Meanwhile, Carter starts fighting Xerxes and proves the superiority of the NTH metal by beating him once again. In the end, Emma and Carter tie up all of their enemies (Shayera, Pike and Xerxes) and line them up to decide what to do with them. Carter displays his usual intelligence and decides to leave them there, throwing their ships into a lake to keep them stranded. As they fly away, their enemies predictably decide to team up and resume hunting Hawkman. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, et cetera. The adventure continues in “Green Arrow”, but no Wildstorm characters appear in that one, so we can skip it.

The following chapter begins in Seattle, where Hawkman has teamed up with Green Arrow to fight off the Thanagar warriors going after him. He wants to find Shayera to see if she’ll restore the missing gaps in his memory, and perhaps he will be able to use that to prove he didn’t kill Corsair and end this hunt. Man, didn’t Pike say this was about Helspont attacking Thanagar? Did we forget about that? Oh, well. After defeating some winged warriors in a warehouse, our heroes notice they have portals connected to Thanagar with which they bring weaponry into Earth. Clearly there are more Thanagarians on Earth than they thought, and it can’t be all about Hawkman. Interrogating a Thanagarian, he admits they’re using Earth as a neutral ground for their war against the daemonites. Our heroes steal a phone device from the Thanagarians and track its signal to New York; that’s their new objective.

Little do they know, Shayera is staying in Aeria, the royal mobile castle-city of Thanagar, which remains cloaked in Earth’s upper stratosphere. Some soldiers need to report to their emperor… Corsar! It seems he wasn’t killed by Carter after all.

As it turns out, Thanagar’s scientists managed to keep Corsar alive by replacing much of his body with machinery. He opted to remain hidden though, knowing the charges against Hawkman were his best bet at getting Carter caught so that he could extract the NTH metal from him. Even after all this time, he’s still obsessed with the metal.

Corsar is reported that Hawkman hasn’t been captured yet, so he orders to open up a bounty to Earth bounty hunters. Pike is back, baby! But he’s not the only one who wants to take that prize. Hawkman must face Deathstroke first. Slade picks the job because he feels he needs to fix his reputation after he left Deadborn escape, but he won’t kill Hawkman. He only accepted because of the NTH metal involved; Slade’s armour is built of NTH too, and he’s always wondered where it comes from.

Hawkman doesn’t want help, though. The two of them fight for a while until Deathstroke forces Hawkman to tell him everything he knows about the metal. Slade doesn’t learn much beyond learning it’s of alien origin, but that’s enough for him. When he’s about to leave, the two of them are ambushed by Pike and Xerxes’ agents. Deathstroke is mad that Pike doesn’t know who he is, feeling his reputation should have preceded him, so the two mercenaries start fighting it out. Meanwhile, Hawkman handles Xerxes and his men. At some point, Carter decides to stop holding back – if they’re going to keep treating him as a murderer, maybe that’s what he’ll be. He starts slaughtering Xerxes’ forces, together with Slade, and he actually enjoys it. Hawkman embraces that he was built for battle and that it’s only in battle that he’s truly himself.

Once the killing is over, Slade notices a trail of blood left by Pike and Xerxes when they ran off. The heroes go separate ways, as Slade decides to go after the trail and Carter flies away to meet Emma in their safehouse. However, the place has been compromised. Carter enters to find Emma taken hostage by Thanagarian warriors, and Shayera waiting to ambush him. He gets captured, but when Shayera is about to make him board her ship, they receive a surprise visit: Corsar. Shayera is outraged that his brother wouldn’t tell her that he was alive, and now that it’s been proven Carter is innocent of his murder charges he wants to let him go. Corsar won’t have that though. They fly to Aerie, the royal city, which changes locations from Earth’s stratosphere to the sun’s orbit.

None of the experiments to pluck the NTH metal from Carter’s body work; Corsar is driven so mad that he turns against his sister, and starts choking her. When Hawkman tries to help her, he’s stopped by Thraxas, one of the great wise old men of Thanagar which acts as advisor to the emperor. He’s been the mastermind behind Corsar’s descent into madness. He suggests teleporting the NTH metal from Carter’s body directly into Corsar’s, a dangerous experiment which could risk both of their lives. No one in the room dares disagree, though.

When they begin the experiment, they neglected to notice Shayera had sabotaged the machinery, so the whole thing gets interrupted. Having switched to Carter’s side, she helps him and Emma escape. Regrettably, the sabotage also caused the mobile city to lose stability, so it starts falling into the sun. As their doom gets closer, Shayera decides to sacrifice herself and throw Carter and Emma into an escape pod. Our heroes can’t do anything but to watch as Aerie gets consumed by the sun’s flames, while their pod heads to Earth.

So that’s it for this story. Sadly, we never see if Deathstroke finds Pike, but I suppose it’s safe to guess he never did.

Next: “Ravagers” issues 5 – 7, written by Howard Mackie.

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“Savage Hawkman” issues 10 – 12 and 0

Plot by Rob Liefeld; dialogue by Rob Liefeld and Mark Poulton

Wildstorm Concepts:     Pike WildCATS - Helspont WildCATS - Daemonites

All-star WesternWhen Rob Liefeld takes over a book, you can bet Daemonites or Kherubims will soon show up. This story shows us as Hawkman gets chased by a powerful mercenary… none other than Pike!

We start off in the middle of an arc not related to anything Wildstorm but important for later, with villain Xerxes having trapped our hero Hawkman, Carter Hall, throwing him in the middle of some gladiator games to show off the Metal NTH of Hawkman’s armor to potential buyers. This metal is especially rare, coming from Hawkman’s homeworld and being apparently unbreakable. It has recently fused with his very body, allowing him to turn his costume on and off with a thought and to be extra powerful. Hawkman disposes of everyone in the arena with little trouble, and afterward beats up Xerxes too, saving his damsel in distress, Emma. While they fly away, someone among the public isn’t happy… he was hoping he could buy the NTH metal from the gladiator arena, you know, “the civilized way.” Now he’ll resort to hiring the “kherubim mongrel.” Pike is on!

This version of Pike keeps his old backstory of being a crossbreed, presumably born from the Kherubim slaves who fell to Earth from Lobo’s ship. He features something new, though; he’s a joker. He keeps cracking good quips, and he’s overall more entertaining and superior than his old shallow WSU persona, in my opinion. He travels in his Spartan cycle; a Kherubim flying vehicle very much like Lobo’s motorbike. The Spartan has a mind of its own and can speak, using a female voice to constantly flirt with Pike (is the name Spartan coincidental? Hmm). This Pike is also experienced with the Bleed, having traveled it to obtain all kinds of bleeding edge technology.

In any case, Carter decides to visit Rome to see if an old historian reverend can help him shed some light on the origin of his NTH armour, because he’s lost his memories. Reverend Thomas has a bit of a radical reputation, though. Carter shows him some old scrolls depicting ancient arrivals of Thanagarians on Earth – aliens from Thanagar, where Carter comes from. The blasphemous suggestion that the ancient mentions of angels might have been referring to aliens makes something snap in the reverend, who summons a protector for his church: a crazy masked man called Saint Bastion who swears to kill all the blasphemers. Carter wastes no time to suit up into Hawkman.

This situation is silly to the point of being ridiculous, and the following pointless fight ends with the church in flames and both villains knocked out. Our heroes leave flying, leaving the bad guys “to a fate of their own choosing”. Woah, did they just let them get burned to death? Hardcore. Carter and Emma land in a roof and start discussing that they might have been recommended to that crazy reverend on purpose, to lead them into a trap. Pike chooses that moment to make himself know, shooting Carter straight through the chest.

Pike knows the NTH metal provides a healing factor; he’s counting on it. After all, his boss wants Hawkman alive. They start fighting and Pike hops onto his Spartan ship. Still, the vehicle is of no help for Pike, who gets overpowered by Hawkman. Him and Emma tie him up and track one of his devices to his base, a huge spaceship. Defeated, Pike reveals why he was hired: Planet Thanagar is victim of a daemonite attack, so the royal family needs their prince more than ever. That’s right, Hawkman is a prince! Pike had been hired by Hawkman’s Thanagarian lover, from his past life. Pike explains Helspont has moved to attack Thanagar after his stay in Earth, so the Thanagarians need Hawkman’s NTH metal.

Activating a trap within his ship, Pike releases a toxic gas and knocks out our heroes. The moment they stepped inside the ship, a calling beacon was sent out to his boss, who arrives in majestic ships. Hawkman witnesses as his old love steps out from the ships – and all his lost memories come back to him. He remembers how his real name was Katar Hol; how the Daemonites poisoned Thanagar and killed its king, throwing their planet into a state of war. They led their newly elected king, Corsar, crazy from all the pressures. He was Katar’s brother, and he became paranoid and obsessed with finding the legendary NTH metal that could help Thanagar become the most powerful empire in space. When the metal bonded with Katar instead, Corsar lost it and started attacking him; he ended up getting himself killed. When they found Corsar’s body, Katar became a fugitive. As he escaped from the planet, his ship received heavy fire; the damages caused him to crash on Earth and to lose his memories.

So that’s why his old lover, Shayera, has come hunting him. Corsar was her brother. Now begins “Hawkman: Wanted.”

Next: The entire “Hawkman: Wanted” crossover, including “Savage Hawkman” issues #13 – 16 and “Deathstroke” Vol.2 issue #14, written by Rob Liefeld, Frank Tieri and Josh Williamson.

“Deathstroke” Vol.2 issue 13

Plot by Rob Liefeld; dialogue by Joshua Williamson

Wildstorm Concepts: WildCATS - Zealot

All-star Western.pngThe writer from “Voodoo” joins the book to make things even more Wildstorm-centric! This little story shows Deathstroke haunted by the mercenary Deadborn, who had been hinted at in the first page of issue #9.

Deathstroke is sometimes called a workaholic, and you can’t argue with that when he thinks a night without a job is a boring night. His night gets a lot better when he’s surprised by Zealot, who got the hint from the last issue and is down for some sleeping around. Sadly, after the fun is over Deathstroke is bored again, because he’s not the type to cuddle. He’s never been happier to see a missile coming his way; and his room gets blown to pieces by Deadborn. Of course, Deathstroke is so cool that a little missile is nothing to him. They start fighting, and Slade is pissed that his reputation keeps bringing people to try to kill him.

Deadborn is actually Deathstroke’s biggest fan, even having modelled his costume after him. When he gets into a tight spot, Deathstroke gets saved by Zealot, so he ditches her because it’s important for his reputation that he wins this fight alone. Seriously? Anyway, Deadborn reveals he’s the government’s latest attempt at creating a super soldier after they were done with Deathstroke; in a way, they’re the same. In fact, he’s not looking to kill Deathstroke at all. He had been hired to do a trial run, to test if Deathstroke was at the top of his game. He gets defeated and loses an arm, but Deadborn leaves feeling like he’s won. It had all been a plot by Deathstroke’s wife and son, who are working together against their relative! We saw details of this during issue #0, from the “Team 7” era. That’s the cliffhanger we leave off in for now.

 

“Deathstroke” Vol.2 issues 9 – 12

Written by Rob Liefeld

Wildstorm Concepts: WildCATS - Zealot

All-star Western.pngWhen Rob Liefeld took over several DC titles, like “Grifter”, he waited no time to introduce several Wildstorm concepts in them, and this book was no exception. This arc sees Deathstroke pitted again Lobo, an alien mercenary. He gained the reputation of being the galaxy’s greatest predator, and it is well deserved, considering he committed genocide against his own species, making him the last Czarnian.

Lobo fell to Earth many years ago, when his ship was attacked by pirates. The Starpoint was a slave ship carrying many prisoners, piloted by Lobo, his lover Sheba and the Khund slave master Karlak. Sheba is also a Czarnian, but Lobo is still the last Czarnian, somehow. Lobo plundered worlds for pure sport, making sure they were all vegan for extra cruelty, and then selling the prisoners somewhere called “The Citadel”. However, when Starpoint was attacked the cargo was compromised and all the prisoners fell around Earth. The ship was next to crash, ending up in New Mexico. The crew fell unconscious during the landing, but they had time to cloak the ship, making it invisible. As thirty years passed, the prisoners who escaped bred with humans and spread for several generations. An organization was founded to provide refugee to all these fugitives, giving them protection over the years: It was cleverly called The Company. They found Lobo, Sheba and Karlak and put them under restraints.

Sadly, the Company’s containment wasn’t tight enough. Mysteriously, Lobo’s restraints opened, and his massive strength helped him escape. As he made his way to the surface he swore to the security cameras that he would find Sheba and use the World-breaker; a weapon within his ship that could lay waste to Earth.

The story begins after these events with Deathstroke, Slade Wilson, visiting his wife’s grave. We know she’s still alive, though, from “Deathstroke” issue #0. Suddenly, he’s ambushed by a group of assassins which includes a few superhumans. But Deathstroke is so badass that he came prepared and suited up, so he handles them with no problem. He even had the graveyard rigged with bombs among the tombs! This book will go really far to convince us that Deathstroke is the coolest guy there is.

After the battle cools off, a guy with glasses among the visitors explains the soldiers were simply a way to get Deathstroke’s attention. Actually, he’s Director Maxim from The Company and they want to hire him for triple his best rate. It’s an outrageous way to make an offer, but it’s an outrageous offer, after all: to hunt down Lobo. Deathstroke accepts, happy to meet his match. He’ll be accompanied by several agents from The Company: the Omegas, a group of young superhumans (they are revamped versions from old DCU characters called Omega Men): Tigorr, Primus and Kalista. Finally, he’ll be accompanied by Zealot! Reintroduced into continuity, she’s still a Kherubim, but she was one of the slaves who escaped from Lobo 30 years ago. She now works as the organization’s security guard. It’s not that she does a bad job, Lobo escaped because he was in a different facility in Colorado. The book keenly describes Zealot as a “space amazon,” showing Liefeld’s wit once again.

The group head to that crashed facility, hoping to get insights into Lobo’s mind. It’s been 36 hours since he escaped. Deathstroke and Zealot step inside, leaving the Omega Youth because they’re too inexperienced. They don’t listen to orders though, and follow after anyway. Deathstroke and Zealot are attacked by Karlak, the Khundian who escaped his cell when Lobo destroyed the place. Deathstroke’s streak of facing aliens begins now, and will become a common motif during Liefeld’s stay in the book. When they see Karlak, the Omegas are filled with rage as they remember their slaved ancestors. Karlak attacks the kids, so Zealot fulfills her duty as bodyguard and stabs him through the chest. Right before dying, Karlak explains Lobo wants to commit genocide on the human species like he did with his own.

That night, Deathstroke’s group reaches the Starpoint right after Lobo does. He activates the ship’s reactor, which starts drawing energy from the Earth’s core to power the World-breaker. Not wanting to stick around to feel the explosion, Lobo hops on his flying motorbike, the “Spazfrag666.” It is worth nothing Lobo was originally created as a parody of the edginess of the 90’s, but under Liefeld’s pen the adoration seems played straight.

As soon as Deathstroke and Zealot trespass inside the ship, Lobo meets them and starts beating the crap out of them. Deathstroke isn’t happy to discover Lobo can regenerate from anything. They’re suddenly rescued by the Omegas, who paralyze Lobo psychically and shut down the ship’s bomb. Primus reveals he was the one who freed Lobo from his prison in Colorado; he wanted him to lead them to his ship so that they would have a way to get off planet. Getting revenge for what Lobo did to their parents was just the icing of the cake.

Zealot feels aiding a criminal to escape is reprehensible, even if it was to get vengeance. This distraction is enough for Lobo to break free of Primus’ psychic grip, but Deathstroke has had enough time to execute a plan. He boards Lobo’s Spazfrag666, stabs Lobo with it and sends it flying towards space. To finish off he throws his last detonator into the fuselage, making the whole thing explode and scattering Lobo’s remains across the four winds. Deathstroke has completed his mission… Wait, wasn’t his mission to return Lobo to captivity? Oh, well. As Deathstroke falls from the atmosphere, he saves his life by activating a convenient jetpack he was carrying on his back. Never underestimate the value of a well-placed jetpack.

After all’s said and done, there’s still justice to deliver. Primus needs to be held accountable for setting Lobo free; but he explains he only wanted to find a ship to escape the Company! It seems Director Maxim was actually a monster who experimented on The Omegas and looked for ways to turn them into living weapons. While Primus is still going to face justice, Deathstroke punches Director Maxim in the face to feel better. He decides Zealot is going to act as his eyes and ears within The Company, and if Director Maxim acts shady ever again he’s going to get himself executed. Afterwards Deathstroke kisses Zealot for being such an impressive warrior and asks her to meet again sooner rather than later. Finally, he leaves, not letting Zealot get a word in through all of this. He’s macho enough to make the decisions here; women are to be kissed, not heard, am I right? The story ends with The Company erasing all their records of Sheba, Lobo’s girlfriend, so that Deathstroke never finds out that they’re actually holding her too.

I gotta say, this story is one of those so-bad-it’s-good ones. Deathstroke says this mission defined him, let him see his weakness and arrogance by showing him there are threats out there he hadn’t conceived of. Despite all this, in the following issue he’s back to his old arrogant self who can’t wait for someone skilled enough to be his equal match. Good ol’ Liefeld.

Next: Deathstroke Vol.2 issue 13, by Rob Liefeld and Joshua Williamson.

“Ravagers” issues 1 – 4 and “Superboy” Vol.6 issue 13

“Ravagers” written by Howard Mackie; “Superboy” written by Tom DeFalco.

Wildstorm Concepts:   WildCATS - Warblade Gen13 - Caitlin Fairchild

 

All-star WesternWoo! 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. Continue reading “Ravagers” issues 1 – 4 and “Superboy” Vol.6 issue 13

The Culling

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.

Wildstorm concepts: WildCATS - Warblade StormWatch - Fuji Gen13 - Grunge Gen13 - Caitlin Fairchild

All-star WesternThe 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:

Teen Titans

The Legion

Kids from the Colony

The Ravagers
(also called The Thirteen)

Red Robin (leader)
Skitter
Wonder Girl
Kid Flash
Solstice
Superboy
Bunker
Tyroc (leader)
Gates
Dawnstar
Timber Wolf
Tellus
Wildfire
Chameleon Girl
First Point
Thunder
Lightning
Beast Boy
Terra
Artemis
Warblade (leader)
Fuji
Crush
Misbelief
Hammersmith
Rose Wilson
Windstrom
Psykill
Omen
Leash
Templar
Ridge
Centerhall

 

Map of the ColonyYeah, 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.

 

“Teen Titans” Vol.4 issues 1 – 2 and “Superboy” Vol.6 issues 1 – 5

Written by Scott Lobdell

Wildstorm Concepts: Gen13 - Caitlin Fairchild

All-star WesternWe start a new chapter in the unexplored and obscure second Wildstorm universe! The Titans and Superboy are teenagers manipulated by big corporations into becoming super beings, but they manage to escape and be heroes in their own right. Sounds familiar? If this origin story reminds you of Gen13, it’s not coincidental, and it’s no surprise many Gen13 characters appear.

The story is based around Harvest, a man from the 30th century. In his future, metahumans had declared war on normal humans and killed most of them, including Harvest’s son. Superman and Lois Lane had had a child called Jor, so Harvest travels to the past and kidnaps the kid, raising him as his own. He teaches this kid to hate all other metahumans so that Jor would help his cause, but eventually a genetic incompatibility between his human and kryptonian genes causes the kid to die. Harvest is overcome by grief after losing both of his sons, so he keeps travelling back in time to find a cure; but he keeps failing and eventually his chronal energy runs out. Now he’s stranded in our present time; If he is to stop the superhumans he needs to do it there, or nowhere at all. He creates the organization N.O.W.H.E.R.E. to continue his efforts to prevent the meta infestation. He can witness the first generation of metas now; he plans to use their own children to kill them. He begins attempting to recreate his son Jor; in this time he can have access to Superman’s and Lois Lane’s genes. The cloning project is called project Superboy.

Harvest sees himself as a hero; he might be harming thousands of teenagers, but it is for the safety of millions. He works for five years in kidnapping all the teenager superheroes he can find, but he needs a place where he can train his young army for his son when he’s able to lead them. He throws the kidnapped kids into The Colony, a huge underground complex under Antarctica where he leaves the younglings alone to survive. The place is filled with volcanic rock, lava and minimum food; it’s a ghetto of despair in which the dozens of teenagers are forced to fight to survive. It’s a place where he will be able to harvest the young warriors he’ll use to build a better future. Every year there is a Culling — a process of thinning the herd. He selects the best inhabitants of the Colony and sends them to The Crucible, a high-tech arena in which everyone must participate in a battle royal where it’s “kill or be killed.” The survivors go on to serve Harvest as his Ravagers.

N.O.W.H.E.R.E. not only kidnaps heroes, it also creates them. Harvest facilitates the creation of the Teen Titans through manipulation and summons the Legion of Superheroes from the future. Meanwhile, project Superboy keeps on growing until he’s a teenager; he’s kept in controlled environments for the entirety of his upbringing, surrounded by scientists and hardly experiencing any affection. The only person who seems to be on his side is a friendly redhead scientist, none other than an adult Caitlin Fairchild.

Wait, hadn’t she died in “Team 7”? As we’ll find out in the pages of “Ravagers”, she’s been cloned time and time again, brought back to life every time she dies. They aren’t exact clones, though, since they added in powers: now she can switch between her normal body and a huge body with super-strength and resistance, even though every time she powers up she risks losing control, and she can’t keep it up for long. It’s like she can only be the Caitlin from the old universe temporarily. She’s very different to the old Cait; she’s an adult and a legit doctor now.

Caitlin infiltrated the organization because she heard about the kidnapped teenagers, so she wants to save them. Also, she holds no memories of her past after being cloned, so she hopes she might find something about her own origins.

However, Superboy has no clue about all these agendas, so he’s never sure if he can trust anyone. He’s sent into a field mission before he’s properly prepared, so he barely survives. When he makes it back to N.O.W.H.E.R.E. he’s pissed off. He takes it out with Caitlin, starting to fight her and forcing her to reveal her super-strength. This blows her cover, so N.O.W.H.E.R.E. takes her away, and Superboy doesn’t even understand if he’s done the right thing. However, he can’t forget about Caitlin’s kindness, so he hijacks the truck transporting her outside the installation and hands her to Detective Jocelyn Lure. Jocelyn takes Caitlin to a good hospital outside of N.O.W.H.E.R.E.’s reach.

Meanwhile, the Teen Titans start forming when Red Robin finds out the kidnapped teenage heroes, so he decides to get to them before the corporation. Little do they know, they’re playing straight into Harvest’s hand, becoming proper heroes for his Culling.

It’s worth noting Teen Titans is drawn by Brett Booth, Wildstorm regular.

Next: We go over the entire Culling crossover, which includes Superboy Vol.6 issues 7 – 9, Teen Titans Vol.4 issues 7 – 9 and Annual 1, and Legion Lost Vol.2 issues 8 – 9, written by Scott Lobdell and Tom Defalco.