Comics / Comic Reviews / DC Comics

Teen Titans/Legion Lost: The Culling

By Philip Schweier
July 17, 2012 - 05:59

The Culling is a seven-part story that begins with three preludes published in Legion Lost #8, Superboy #8 and Teen Titans #8. Of these three titles, Legion Lost is the only one I read regularly, so I am only able to speculate as to events in those two preludes.

Legion Lost features seven member of the Legion of Super-Heroes – Timber Wolf, Wildfire, Tyroc, Dawnstar, Tellus, Gates and Chameleon Girl – sent back in time from the 31st century on a mission from which there is seemingly no return. Trapped in present day, they are attacked and captured by the Ravagers, a team of young metahumans in the service of the super-villain Harvest.

In his Antarctic stronghold, Harvest conducts the Culling, a gladiator-style competition among young metahumans designed to elevate the strongest and most powerful into his personal army, supposedly to save the future in some warped fashion.

The three opening preludes – I can only guess that Teen Titans and Superboy also chronicle their respective capture by the forces of Harvest – dovetail into Teen Titans Annual #1, which begins with the inaugural encounter  among Superboy and members of the Titans and Legion. And in the traditional manner of all super-hero team-ups, the first thing they do is fight one another until faced with a greater threat.

The four-part storyline then crossed into Superboy #9, as the Boy of Steel goes toe-to-toe with Warblade, Harvest’s favored Ravager. Meanwhile the idealistic Red Robin of the Teen Titans leads the others in a fight for freedom until the arrival of hisownself, Harvest. The battle continues in Legion Lost #9, where the cryptic master villain drops clues suggesting that he was instrumental in the Legionnaires being brought to the past in the first place, and that he has first-hand knowledge of some of their secrets, as well as a possible means home for them. The story is concluded in Teen Titans #9, as Titans, Legionnaires and Ravagers alike
(raising the curtain for Ravagers #1) make their escapes from Harvest’s complex.

By not over-emphasizing the more dramatic moments, such as death, revelations and redemption, the story can at first seem to be little more than a four-chapter fight scene. Perhaps in the hands of lesser writers, that’s all it would be. But industry veterans  Scott Lobdell and Tom DeFalco have crafted a seamless escalation from capture to defiance to hostile conflict to eventual escape, packed with action, even it does fall back on the aforementioned team-up cliché of having the two group battle each other before taking on the bigger threat. But even that is handled in such a way it seems natural and justified.

The four chapters are collectively penciled by Brett Booth, R.B. Silva, Pete Woods and I.G. Guara. Inkers include Norm Rapmund, Sal Regla, Marlo Alquiza, John Livesay, Bob Lean, Iban Coello and J.P. Mayer. With so many artists involved in the principle story, one might expect an inevitable amount of inconsistency in the art, but that is not the case. Read at one sitting, the artwork flows nicely, reflecting the spirit of teamwork that books like the Titans and Legion should demand.

Some might feel The Culling to be derivitive of The Hunger Games. I’m not in a position to judge, not being familiar with the movie, or the book upon which it is based. But The Culling is a strong chapter that I’m sure will be pivotal for both teams of young heroes – and the Ravagers.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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