In the Marvel Comics universe, the Reavers are a team of cyborgs dedicated to the destruction of the mutant super hero team X-Men. A number of the cyborgs especially want to take revenge on one particular X-Man, Wolverine, for the destruction of their human bodies, and forcing them to resort to such drastic measures for survival.

The first of the Reavers to encounter the X-men was Donald Pierce in Uncanny X-Men #229, the former white king of the inner circle of the Hellfire Club. At the time he bore only a cyborg arm. Pierce sent three Hellfire mercenaries, to capture and kill Wolverine. They failed miserably and suffered near fatal wounds in the adamantium claws of Logan, who left Cole, Macon, and Reese for dead. The Inner Circle, who had the three turned into cyborgs, recovered the mercenaries. The three then captured Wolverine when the Inner Circle attacked the X-Men’s Westchester County headquarters, but Wolverine overcame the three men once again. Lady Deathstrike, who had just been transformed into a cyborg herself by Spiral, recruited Cole, Macon, and Reese. She unsuccessfully led them in an attempt to destroy Wolverine.

Additionally, a criminal gang of cyborgs known as the Reavers lived in a small, otherwise deserted town in the Australian outback. By using an aborigine mutant Gateway, who they held captive by reason of threatening his people’s holy ground, they teleported to various locations in the south pacific to wreak havoc and mayhem. On one occasion, the Reavers robbed the Hoan International Bank in Singapore, murdering most of the Hoan family in the process. They abducted Jesse Hoan, who was an executive working at the bank. Jesse Hoan would later become the crime lord Tyger Tiger, and would forever cite this instance as the reason to turn to a life of crime.

In response to the assault on the bank, the sorceress Roma transported the X-Men to the Reavers’ base in Australia. There, the X-Men defeated the Reavers once again. Bonebreaker, Skullbuster, and Pretty Boy, three Reavers that escaped capture during this battle, used Gateway to teleport away. The remaining Reavers were convinced to pass through the Siege Perilous, a magic doorway that judges people and gives them a chance to redeem themselves, and have not been seen since. The X-Men then decided to adopt the Reavers’ base as their own, using Gateway in a friendlier fashion to travel from the desolate location to various other parts of the globe.

Donald Pierce reassembled the Reavers under his own command as a team consisting of himself, Lady Deathstrike, Cole, Macon, Reese, Bonebreaker, Pretty Boy, and Skullbuster. They returned to the original Reavers compound in the outback when it was unoccupied, and ambushed Wolverine when he returned. After a short battle, they captured Logan and crucified him on a giant X as an omen to the rest of Xavier’s team. Wolverine freed himself, recovering by means of his mutant healing factor, and escaped. Eventually the X-Men abandoned the Australian base, feeling that their numbers were too small to defend against the Reavers. As a means of escape, most of the remaining X-Men stepped through the Siege Perilous and began new lives elsewhere in the world.

Pierce and his Reavers attempted a number of failed attacks against the X-Men. The Reavers were attacked and annihilated by giant robot Sentinels controlled by the mutant time-traveler Trevor Fitzroy. Pierce, Deathstrike, and Skullbuster has since reappeared, apparently being the only members of the team to have survived the attack.

Although they gained and lost a few members throughout their tenure of terror, the Reavers have had the following members:

Donald Pierce- piece-by-piece Pierce became less human and more cyborg. From these implants he was given super-human strength, a higher stamina, more durability, heightened sensory abilities, and the ability to deliver shocking electrical charges through his arms.

Bonebreaker- The original leader of the Reavers, Bonebreakers lower extremities were replaced with a small armored, and heavily armed set of tank treds.

Pretty Boy- another original Reaver, he could shoot steel coils from his body to ensnare his target. He could also project fiber optic cables from his eye sockets and "reprogram" other people's minds.

Skullbuster-One of the three original Reavers, he possessed mechanical legs, and super-human strength.

Cole, Macon, and Reese- After each battle with the X-men (or more specifically Wolverine) these mercenaries became less human and more robotic. It was unclear if their enhancements granted any other abilities than that of more armament.

Lady Deathstrike- Driven by thought of revenge on Wolverine, Deathstrike augmented her body, giving her retractable cyborg claws that could span two feet in length, computer enhanced electronics that let her better connect to her memories, and a healing factor.

Cylla-Built by Pierce, she continued to pursue Wolverine after the Sentinels massacred the Reavers. Her partner Bloodscream, who drained her of her life force, destroyed her.

One of the things that made the Reavers an interesting nemesis to the X-Men was that even though they were severely outclassed at times, they refused to accept their defeat. Much like the zombies in Night of the Living Dead, they just kept coming. They notched their place in comics history by forcing the X-Men through the Seige Perilous, and thus changing the face of the classic team forever.

The Reavers are one of the primary antagonists of the science fiction show Firefly, and of the subsequent movie Serenity. The Reavers actually only appear in two of the 14 episodes of the television show, but play a more important role in the movie.

To call the Reavers "antagonists" is somewhat of an understatement. The Reavers are pure aggression and violence, self-mutilated and capable of every type of torture and cannibalism imaginable, and presumably many that are unimaginable.

In the pilot "Serenity" (not to be confused with the motion picture of the same name), the Reavers are first mentioned, and it is said that they went insane from being exposed to the darkness of space. They are never shown directly, although their ships, and the results of their raids, are shown. What role the Reavers would have played had the original series been allowed to develop is unknown. It could be that the origin story told in the movie was planned from the start, or it could be that they would play a different role in any arc that was planned for the show.

In the movie "Serenity", it is shown that the Reavers were the accidental product of an experiment in social engineering. The planet Miranda, when being terraformed, had a drug introduced into the air that would dampen people's aggression. For most of the people on the planet, it did just that, dampening their aggression until they became totally apathetic and died. However, for a small number of the subjects, the drug had the opposite effect and drove them to madness, and these were the first Reavers.

The Reavers come across as very frightening, although most of the fright comes from people's reaction to them. Like many frightful things, the terror they cause is worse than seeing them directly. I was actually somewhat disappointed during the first full appearance of Reavers during the climactic scene of "Serenity", because they appeared to be fairly standard "zombies" of a kind that has been done before in many movies.

"Serenity" does put the Reavers into a more clear thematic perspective. Much of the television show "Firefly" seemed to mostly be a story of the conflict between the structured civilization of the Alliance, and the much more wild life of the criminal protagonists. "Serenity" then expands that continuum, showing the protagonists of the ship as lying between the authoritarian, civilized alliance and the insane aggression and violence of the Reavers.

There are two large issues I have with the Reavers, one internal to the story, the other external. The Reavers live in a large colony, and operate technologically advanced space ships, and seem to have enough cohesion to make plans, move in groups and coordinate their actions. Given their penchant for overwhelming, unstoppable violence, it seems unlikely that they would be able to continue as a society, even for the purposes of war making. The other question is one that is rather tenuous, but unavoidable: given the fact that Firefly/Serenity is a "space western", the presence of bestial humans who are merciless and can therefore be killed with impunity, has some obviously unsettling implications.

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