Ravagers #1

"The Culling" crossover in May will return some fan-favorite Teen Titans characters and concepts to the DCnU, including Beast Boy, Terra and the origin of Kid Flash.

And yes, that red, furry character is a new Beast Boy.

The crossover officially begins on May 2nd with the 48-page issue Teen Titans Annual #1. Then the story continues through Superboy #9 and Legion Lost #9, with a conclusion in Teen Titans #9.

The new "Second Wave" title The Ravagers, by writer Howard Mackie and artist Ian Churchill, will be released on May 30th, spinning out of the event.

Ravagers writer Howard Mackie confirmed to Newsarama that the new team — revealed on the first issue's cover — will include Caitlin Fairchild, a brother and sister named Thunder and Lightning, the "monstrous" Ridge, a red Beast Boy and a new version of Terra. While Mackie wouldn't share details about the cover's featured characters, he revealed to Newsarama that Beast Boy's color change has something to do with Animal Man.

"The Culling" crossover and the subsequent Ravagers title is the culmination of a plot that has been coursing through Superboy and Teen Titans since writer Scott Lobdell launched both comics in September. An organization named N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and its leader, Harvest, is capturing superpowered teens.

And in May, the Legion Lost heroes get involved when Harvest goes after them as well.

"So now you have two teams of teenagers meeting for the first time, under the very worst of circumstances," Lobdell said. "And it doesn't go very well."

Legion Lost #9

Legion Lost writer Tom DeFalco said that because his team's from the future, they will not only recognize the "Teen Titans" name, but they'll also see a familiar face among its members. "There's a certain character in Teen Titans that people have been wondering about his origin," DeFalco told Newsarama. "And you know, one of our characters is going to recognize him... and this could lead to some very interesting twists and turns."

"And remember, this is the New 52," Lobdell added, "so Red Robin and the others are skeptical of the Legion's claim that they are from the 31st Century — 'Um, yeah.' And the Legion wonder why the Teen Titans is being formed some 20 years before their history books claim there was a team by that name — 'Teen Titans, huh?' So yeah, off to a rocky start!"

"Just imagine how Red Robin's going to react when he finds a bunch of teens who claim to come from the future," DeFalco said. "And just imagine how these guys are going to react when they look at a group that call themselves the Teen Titans, and they know something about the Teen Titans that the Titans don't even know."

Lobdell said the story will reveal many of the secrets behind the Teen Titans that readers have been asking since the DC relaunch. He said DC Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras was the one who decided it was time to "start spilling all the secrets about N.O.W.H.E.R.E., Kid Flash and the villain known as Harvest."

"I have to say, though, as people start to read the story, I think they are going to be very surprised by the tone of this crossover," Lobdell added. "Usually when fans think of Teen Titans, they think of superheroes, and when they think of the Legion, I think people expect elements of sci-fi. But instead, the 'Culling' has more of the tone of horror."

Teen Titans

Annual #1

Many of the new and "revamped" characters that are being introduced during the crossover will emerge from N.O.W.H.E.R.E.'s "Colony," the horrific place where the teens are imprisoned.

"This is a sad and dirty place the Teen Titans and the Legion Lost and the all-new Ravagers are trapped in," Lobdell said. "So anyone that was thinking N.O.W.H.E.R.E. was little more than 'a shadowy government agency' is going to be in for a surprise."

"These kids [who are part of The Ravagers] have been living in hell for the past few years," Mackie said. "The Colony is basically a death camp combined with a boot camp. Every day was a battle for survival. Their youth was ripped from them. Their bodies where tortured, enhanced, tortured again, and they knew that they had two choices... survive or die."

Some of the horror also lies in the portrayal of crossover's villain, Harvest, whose dark, winged image was just revealed. According to DeFalco, Harvest's power levels will surprise readers, and the villain won't be stopped easily.

"Scott and I got the idea, you know what we'd really like to do? We'd like to introduce a new, top-drawer supervillain," DeFalco explained of Harvest's creation. "A real A-list guy who could go toe-to-toe with Superman. Somebody who whose spans are so monumental that he's got to know that at some point he's going to be dealing with the Justice League. And our feeling is, if you can't at least take Superman, you couldn't be thinking about the Justice League. So we're looking to shake up the whole DC Universe by introducing a major bad guy."

The story of "The Culling" begins when Red Robin and the rest of the Titans try to break into N.O.W.H.E.R.E.'s Antarctic base. "The poor kids get their heads handed to them," Lobdell said.

While the Titans end up as captives there, Harvest dispatches Rose Wilson and the Ravagers to also capture the Legion Lost members. "And [Harvest has] a very special reason for why he wants the Legion, which readers will eventually learn," DeFalco said.

According to Lobdell, it appears that the Hypertaxis virus — which originally lured the Legion Lost team into the 21st Century — was a "carefully planned disaster to bring these very Legionnaires into the here and now in order to help — against their will — Harvest with his long term goals."

That battle will begin in April's crossover prelude, Legion Lost #8. "We get to meet a bunch of really cool, new supervillains, some of which will be playing parts in Legion Lost, Teen Titans and The Ravagers far into the future," DeFalco said of the issue.

Superboy #9

Among the "new" characters that emerge from the crossover will be some that are familiar to readers of the former WildStorm universe, including Warblade. "He isn't much like the last Warblade," Lobdell warned. "Yes, he's still Reno Bryce, but this is a guy who isn't an homage to another famous character 'with claws' — this isn't the berserker or the ronin. This Warblade is a 'surgeon' of sorts, as cold and calculating as the razor sharp edge of a scalpel. Seriously, this is one scary dude."

The characters that star in The Ravagers escape from N.O.W.H.E.R.E. during the crossover, but they're pursued by Rose Wilson and Warblade, who become the team's antagonists. "Rose Wilson and Warblade will play a major role in future stories," the writer said. "In many ways the book is as much about them as it is about the [six characters on the cover]. I wouldn't come to this book expecting to see typical heroes and villains. The roles they all play in the book will remain fluid."

As the first issue of Ravagers begins, the group is on the run, but Mackie said the book is much more character-focused than that premise implies.

"We do not want this book to be strictly about the action — though there will be plenty of that — or about characters on the run from one of the most powerful and ruthless organizations on the planet," Mackie said. "This book is about our characters trying to wrestle with their fate — their destiny — and trying to figure out if they can control it. In order for the characters to figure out who they are going forward they will have a to take a real hard look at who they now, and who they have been in the past."

Teen Titans #9

And while the mysterious line-up for The Ravagers may cause a lot of guessing about the characters, readers should be forewarned that DC is teasing that "no one's survival is certain each month" in the comic.

"Once you read the crossover, once you see what their day-to-day existence was, you will quickly realize that escape was long ago beaten from the deepest corners of their minds," Mackie said. "Needless to say, they all learned to cope in their own ways, but emerging into the 'real world' is going be a shock to their system. There is no one 'emotional state.' The elation of freedom does not immediately supplant fear, anxiety, and the need to survive at any cost."

After the events of the "Culling," DeFalco said three of the four series involved in the crossover will "spin off in weird directions," including Legion Lost.

"Things are going to fall into a deep chaos," DeFalco said of the Legion Lost's upcoming stories. "The team is going to have to be dealing with the fact that they were set up and sent on a mission that no one ever expected them to succeed in. And they've basically been hung out to dry. And like anybody else, they want to find out who set them up and why. And what really is their real mission? Who's been pulling all the strings?

"It's going to pay off big."

Keep watching Newsarama as we share the complete transcripts of our discussions with all three writers involved with "The Culling," including information on Superboy, Teen Titans, The Ravagers, Legion Lost and Tim Drake's role in "Night of the Owls."

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