Comic Book Review: "Teen Titans #9: The Culling: Part 4: If This Be Victory--!"
“The Culling” crossover story arc comes to an explosive conclusion in Teen Titans #9. “The Culling: Part 4: If This Be Victory--!” written by Scott Lobdell art by Ig Guara and JP Mayer, brings the Teen Titans (Red Robin, Wonder Girl, Superboy, Bunker, Skitter, Kid Flash, and Solstice) along with new allies, Legion Lost (Tyroc, Wildfire, Tellus, Chameleon Girl, Timber Wolf, Gates, and Dawnstar), to a final showdown with the mastermind behind the entire N.O.W.H.E.R.E. labs experiments on meta-human teenagers around the world: Harvest. Here, at the conclusion of The Culling, alliances are forged, and plans are shattered.
“If This Be Victory—1!” begins, in the Crucible. Harvest, holding the lifeless body of wildfire, tells the entire group (Legion Lost and the Teen Titans) that he takes no pleasure is killing anyone. All who die in the crucible are “like a dagger in my heart”; he’s trying to make a better world.
Superboy, Red Robin, and Kid Flash agree that nothing Harvest has done so far is for the best for anyone. Timber Wolf asks Tellus if Wildfire is really dead. Tellus says that he’s alive but needs time to heal.
Red Robin and Tyroc use their psychic link to devise a strategy: if the rest of the Titans attack Harvest Tyroc can use the time to bring down the whole place by destroying the central Power Core. The two agree on the plan even though they know they will surely die.
Bunker and Dawnstar have reached the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. labs with the rescued teens hoping to escape the artic lab and the Crucible. They run into Dr. Caitlin Fairchild and Ridge. The two offer to help.
The Titans attack Harvest all at once. Red Robin tells him that he will pay for all the lives lost. Harvest replies that they are just postponing the inevitable.
Kid Flash quickly run off and hands Wildfire over to Timber Wolf, and asks if they are okay with each other; Timber Wolf says it is.
A mile above the Crucible, in the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. complex, Bunker, and the rest are loading the last of the teens onto escape pods. Dawnstar gets a call from Tyroc telling her to rejoin them. Bunker says he’ll say behind to find Skitter; she’s been missing since the beginning of The Culling.
Dawnstar says she must have escaped because she couldn’t find her when they searched before. She asks about Bunker about Gates. Apparently, Gates found some kind of gizmo and hasn’t been seen since. Dawnstar and Bunker decide meet the rest of the group in the Crucible.
In the Crucible, as the Titans fight Harvest, Wonder Girl and Superboy work together using her lariat to direct his psionic powers to attack Harvest. Harvest is glad to see that “can do” spirit from the two working together.
In the Power Core, Tyroc and the other legion members are about to destroy the power core. They wonder where Gates is; they’ll need his teleportation powers to escape. Timber Wolf is ready and throws a chunk of metal at the Power Core.
After the last escape pod is released, Fairchild is relieved that they got everyone out of the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. lab. She tells Beast Boy, Ridge, Terra, Lighting and Thunder that they can all work together from now on.
Terra says that just because they worked together to help everyone escape doesn’t mean they can trust an ex-Ravager (Ridge) or anyone who worked for N.O.W.H.E.R.E. (Fairchild).
Back at the N.OW.H.E.R.E. complex, Rose Wilson and Warblade, are planning make Fairchild pay for her betrayal (In Ravagers #1).
In the Crucible, the Titans use everything they have against Harvest, but it still doesn’t work. He tells them, that now that the Teen Titans are there, the Legion is doing their part, and Fairchild is doing hers (releasing the meta-teens onto the world to unknowingly spread free and chaos, making the world’s desire for an organization like N.O.W.H.E.R.E. in the first place) all is going to plan.
Red Robin and the rest of the Teen Titans refuse to believe that they were all just conned by Harvest to enact his master plan. Harvest starts to flee.
As the Power Core begins to explodes, the Legion finally finds Gates who has a time bubble. They all use it to escape (hoping to get back to their own time with it).
Back at the Crucible, Red Robin tries to fly after Harvest, but Wonder Girl tells him that they’ve saved all meta-teens, destroyed the base, foiled Harvest’s plans; that should be good enough for now, it’s time for the Titans to save themselves. He relents. Superboy says he can use his telekinetic powers to burrow down far enough to escape the blast and get away.
On the artic surface, the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. lab explodes. After what seems like an eternity, the Teen Titans wake up on a mysterious island, just as a dinosaur approaches them.
The conclusion of “The Culling” is like many other endings to adventures: as one door is closed another one is opened. The Teen Titans “win” against Harvest, his army of Ravagers and N.O.W.H.E.R.E.’s evil plans (even though Harvest claims this was his whole plan to begin with), the Lost Legion is able to return to their own timeline, and Dr. Caitlin Fairchild and her newfound allies are able to free the meta-teens and start a new team of Ravagers. So, all’s well that ends well, at least, so far. Of course, some burning questions remain: Does Harvest really know the about a war in the future? Are his diabolical plans really for the true benefit of the future of the human race? Is he from the future or does he just have extensive knowledge of future events? And where is Skitter? These questions and more are sure to be answered in future issues, but for now, the Titans have an island filled with dinosaurs to contend with. It will be interesting to see how (and if) the team can survive “Lost” style.
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