“The Ravagers” #11 got my attention by placing the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man on the extension of the foldout cover for Michael A. Nelson and Tony Bedard’s tag-team writing effort to match the artistic duo of Diogenes Neves and Geraldo Borges. Like this entire series to date, this issue was mildly disappointing, despite the cover’s appeal. Oddly enough, mildly disappointing is certainly an upgrade from the miserably disappointing status this book has held onto since it debuted a year ago.
The potential of a “Gen 13″/”Teen Titans”/”Doom Patrol” amalgamation with a few extra bits thrown in seemed like a concept with legs. Ian Churchill on art seemed like a win, considering the radical visuals such a team could require, but the writing and the shortsighted planning for the art team quickly torpedoed any hope this brought with it when it hit the stands. “The Ravagers” #11 is an encapsulated example of all that disappointment. Lashley’s cover is dynamic and energetic (even though it appears as though Fairchild is wearing bodypaint instead of a costume), but the art inside is considerably more reserved and makes a dynamic shift in anatomy towards the end of the book. Geraldo Borges’ characters all seem to possess Neanderthal-like foreheads that make their eyebrows disappear into their eyelids. The art switch and the general unevenness of it all, with two separate penciler/inker duos splitting the book evenly, gets scratchy when the action begins to roll, sweeping the legs out from under the story as it was beginning to generate some momentum.
The story itself is riddled with silliness, like Rose’s insistence that the Ravagers are going back to the Colony alive, but keeps waggling her swords around. I’m not sure why she doesn’t have a deeper repertoire of weapons, other than the fact that Nelson and Bedard, like the other writers of this series, see fit to leave this character as a shadow of her pre-relaunch self, which really isn’t saying much. Essentially, this issue contains one big fight, with slivers of character personalities slipped in. DC evidently approved all manner of chaos and casualties, clearing this creative team to perform a scorched earth mission on the characters in this title. It takes the last few stalks of hope I had as a “Doom Patrol” fan and ignites them, just as Niles Caulder disappears at the hands of Deathstroke with a fiery “SSHWFFF.” No exclamation points, no screaming, just a fizzle and flash of light. A marvelous summary of this series.
With all of the possible leads to this story’s expansion winding down (“Ravagers,” “Team 7” and “Deathstroke” all ship their final issues in May) I’m curious to see where threads go. Truly the scorched earth metaphor doesn’t seem too far off base. Maybe DC will take a good, hard look at what went horribly wrong with this series and steer something good out of it. Or not. With one issue remaining, “The Ravagers” are certainly doomed and it’s their own damn fault.