The Ravagers #7
Ghosts of Future Present
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The Ravagers has been a mediocre series with promises of something great and hints of rot around the edges. Despite its lackluster record, I am actually quite excited to read this issue because the last two issues have been pushing the team in a new, more heroic direction. Also, the giant teaser at the end of the last issue which left The Ravagers facing Rose and Warblade is hard to resist. Will these two teams finally have a deciding clash over what it means to be a true Ravager, or will this epic battle end with a simper?
In this issue, a new player enters the arena and Fairchild’s Ravagers are either corrupted or killed.
Okay, I’m going to discuss something from this issue you will probably figure out if you have read many comics or you are fairly intelligent, but it technically comes in the back half, and I always try to avoid spoiling anything past the mid-point, so I am going to spoiler warning you on the next paragraph, but if you can see the obvious coming, there is really no reason not to read it.
This issue uses the classic dream/vision sequence ploy where we get an extended look at what might occur is presented as reality only to have it suddenly revealed that it was all just a dream. This is one of the most infuriating tropes of comic books, and it really needs to be dumped from the comic book writers’ toolbox.
As I said, you will see this coming from a mile away because the girl is clearly a precog, and the setup and delivery of the scene makes it obvious. This maneuver could be used to an okay effect if there is a significant revelation that came from the precog experience, but as best as I can tell, nothing has been revealed except that The Ravagers might go evil and cause great destruction for the sake of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. which was a fundamental premise of this story from the beginning, so what was the point of taking up half the issue revealing the obvious.
Furthermore, the action is undercut to deliver this vision of the future, and though Caitlin apparently changes the battle’s outcome, I do not see what she did to change things.
All in all, this trick just took away from the action and added nothing to the overarching story.
Caricatures of Characters
I enjoyed the last issue more than most in the series thus far because it actually took the time to develop some of the Ravagers as something more than warriors, but all that is lost on this issue. I do not believe Thunder talks throughout the whole issue, and at least half the characters say nothing really worth hearing. Terra is treated in this issue as if she has some important character development, but in reality, she has the exact same attitude she has displayed in other issues. Fairchild seems overwhelmed which has pretty much been her status since the beginning. Beast Boy is nice, Rose and Warblade are killers, and The Chief is at odds with Fairchild. Yawn.
Now Ridge is the one character who actually has some growth this issue. For one thing, he is pictured as having resisted the evil Ravagers and having died as a consequence, and it is surprising to see him as the lone, moral holdout. In addition, he seems to be the only who actually wants to think before acting which is not a side of him I really saw in earlier issues. He might have a worthwhile future.
Beyond Ridge though, the characters seem to be stagnant, and I think the cause is pretty clear; there are too many characters to easily provide a conflict and character development for each. This cast is nearly ten characters weak. I think the creative team needs to drop a few and actually develop the ones they keep.
Good Old Fashioned Bloodshed
If you strip away the narrative trick in the first half of this issue, you are left with a pretty satisfying fight scene. It was nice to see Rose finally kill Superboy, and thought the battle was not as long, detailed, or relevant as I would like, it was still fairly entertaining. I was not crazy about Terra’s display in this issue, but it was visually satisfying.
The precognitive is an interesting character. Since this series already has more characters than it can effectively manage, I do not want her to be a regular member, but I am sure she will pop up again, and I look forward to her reappearance.
(Spoiler) Apropo of nothing, Deathstroke appears at the end and we are told that the next issue will focus on Rose and Warblade. This is a mixed bag for me because I definitely think Warblade and Rose need some serious character development, and I do not mind taking a break from the Ravagers to learn more about them, but do we really need Deathstroke inserted into this mess? I know he is probably Rose’s father, but we have enough bad guys dancing around. If he does appear in the next issue, I hope he has a short tenure and will not be involved in The Ravagers regularly scheduled programming.
The art and dialogue is solid in this book.
On the small scale, it does everything right, but on the large scale, The Ravagers seems to be spinning its wheels.
This is the second book today I have trashed the whole review and then given a decent grade. Here’s the deal; The Ravagers does more things right than it does wrong. It’s only real failing is having to many irons in the fire at once. Much like Teen Titans, it needs to take a break from the action and focus on creating a tighter cast of characters. Until I know who these people are, I probably will never be too excited about their adventures.
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