Review by Karl Verhoven
The Culling presents a seven part crossover from 2012 between three titles featuring teenage superheroes.
As seen in Legion Lost, seven members of the 30th century Legion of Super-Heroes are stranded in the present day, and targeted by super-powered agents working for a previously unknown organisation called N.O.W.H.E.R.E. The lack of inspiration when coming up with that lame name indicates we’re not talking high concept, but doesn’t come anywhere near to indicating what drivel this is. N.O.W.H.E.R.E. have also captured Superboy, resulting in his Teen Titans teammates mounting a rescue.
Tom DeFalco and Scott Lobdell are the writers, and Lobdell has a passion for his characters monologuing or explaining themselves. Try this: “I will confess something. I’ve been dying to have you here for some time Wonder Girl. For reasons I do not understand your capture has been one of Harvest’s top priorities. I can only hope you are more powerful than you appear. Quite frankly you would have to be. Now lie still – paralyzed – as I dig deep into your mind and learn the truth.” Unbelievably, a second series of word balloons in the same sequence is even longer, and equally trite. Ig Guara’s sample page supplies more poorly written melodrama. It’s as if Lobdell is taking bets as to how many words he can cram on a page.
While there’s no excuse for the length, part of the reason Lobdell has to shoehorn any character-driven dialogue into unsuitable situations is that The Culling is almost nothing but connected fight scenes from start to disappointing end. A character called Harvest runs N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and claims to want to protect Earth from a threat in the future (eventually revealed in Legion Lost: The Culling). He can’t ask nicely, though, which results in loads of heroes who could have helped out instead being pitted against each other.
R. B. Silva (sample right) is the pick of the artists, having a more refined sense of how to create an exciting page, but Brett Booth, Guara and Aaron Kuder all deliver the necessary action. It’s perhaps the only redeeming note of The Culling that they got to put food on the table.
God help us, a series actually spun out of this mess, beginning with The Ravagers: The Kids From N.O.W.H.E.R.E. It can’t be any worse than this.