Wednesday, March 17, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. '94 #2

R.E.B.E.L.S. '94 #2 (November 1994) 
writer: Tom Peyer
penciller: Derec Aucoin
inker: James Pascoe
colors: Stuart Chaifetz 
letters: Gaspar Saladino
editor: Dan Raspler
cover: Dave Johnson

Reviewer: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: Vril Dox, founder of the interplanetary security agency L.E.G.I.O.N. has been ousted and branded a criminal by his power mad son, Lyrl. Now he and a small band of loyalists flee their former comrades in a mysterious alien spacecraft from another time. Having enlisted Green Lantern to reinstall him as L.E.G.I.O.N. commander, Dox is betrayed when fellow R.E.B.E.L. Strata leaks information that turns the powerful super-hero away from their case. This setback provokes Dox to take severe measures against her just as he has already done with Telepath.

Telepath is chained in a secluded part of the ship because he remains under the brainwashed control of Lyrl. He thinks of how they are all angry at him and insist that he is being mind-controlled by the son of Dox, even though Telepath knows the child would never do such a thing. Sometimes he feels the ship jolt and hears explosions, but no one has the courtesy to tell him of whats hapenning. But its alright with him because a Telepath does not need to be told.

Elsewhere aboard ship, Dox accuses Strata of undermining and delaying their mission by turning Green Lantern against him. He questions who else she may have informed on them to and whether that is why they were so easily tracked by Lyrl's fleet. He directs that she be put into chains with Telepath but Phase and the others refuse. So he turns to Lobo.
Lobo battles Stealth first, and she pokes him in both eyes, but he throws her to the side. He goes for Phase, who intends to remain intangible until he wears himself out. Which is fine with Lobo since she cannot stop him from reaching Strata that way. Fortunately, Borrb's strength and ability to teleport gives him a surprising edge over Lobo. 
Dox congratulates them on freeing themselves from his cold, compassionaless, tyrannical leadership, without regard to the lives that will be lost. This finally pushes Strata over the edge and she begans choking Dox. She stops short of killing him and leaves in disgust.

On Cairn, Lyrl stumbles upon L.E.G.I.O.N. troops who have just captured two Argite children for stealing from their food store. They are on the way to central processing but Lyrl tells them not to bother with the expense and just exterminate them. He notices that Garv is approaching and quietly orders them to do it elsewhere. Lyrl invites Garv aboard his craft, which is being driven by a brainwashed Lydea Mallor. He tells Garv that he is very impressed by his service record and that he is grateful for the chance to work with him. Garv remains impassive and insists that he only wants Strata back. Lyrl tries to explain that there is more at stake here and shows him the damage that was caused when Dox fled with the other R.E.B.E.L.S. He is working to color Garv's opinion even more strongly against his father before they arrive at the gunship they are providing him.
Lyrl shows Garv a device that will track the unique alpha-signature of Dox's ship. He also provides him with updates files on L.E.G.I.O.N. arrest regulations but Garv smashes them and reminds Lyrl that his only concerns are retreiving Strata and pounding Vril Dox to a pulp. He orders Lyrl and Lydea to get off of his ship and let him do his job. Once they are outside, Lydea questions why Lyrl suffers the brute's belligerance when he could so easily control his mind. Lyrl explains that mind-control is unnecessary as he is already obsessed with retrieving his wife and punishing Vril Dox. In short, he tells her, Garv has brainwashed himself.

Dox approaches a L.E.G.I.O.N. satellite and takes advantage of their ships indesctrucable hull to ram and obliterate it. He lands the ship on a nearby planet, but does not tell anyone what he is up to. 
Lobo is ecstatic to be free from his deal until Dox informs him that he is the only one remaining with him. Phase insists there must be some way to get Dox to listen to reason, but Stealth believes he will not last long without them. Dox soon locates a secret garage nearby and tells them he wants to buy some equipment. They warn him to leave but he tells him he just wants to avoid trouble and do business without attraction L.E.G.I.O.N. attention. The mention of L.E.G.I.O.N. spurs something in everyones' memory and suddently they recognize their intruder.
This one was a noticable improvement over last two issues. It did a much better job of giving some attention to characters besides Dox, and reminded me of what I liked about Peyer's writing on L.E.G.I.O.N. Strata also got to be more than the one-note character. She remained furious with Dox, but had a nice moment of recognition that she was about to go too far when she stopped short of choking Dox to death. Phase and Steatlh felt far more involved in the developments of the issue than they had in a while, and Borrb was given a stand-out moment when he defeated Lobo. I did think that Lobo's final defeat was a bit unbelievable and silly, but I am used to Lobo having moments like that so it did not take away from the story.

One area I would really like to see some story development is on Cairn. Most scenes there are essentially Lyrl acting like a James Bond villian, and everyone else is in zombie mode. I realize that we are still early in the run but I really feel the absence of characters like Lydea and Amon. Seeing them act as slaves to Lyrl certainly drives home how terrible he is, so I understand its purpose to the story. But I wish there had been more of a mix between the newer and older members of L.E.G.I.O.N. when the team got divided so we would not have to say goodbye to so many characters that we had only just begun to know. And Lyrl has been a bit too cartooney in his portrayal recently to be of that much interest. I get it, he is one very evil super-genious baby, but I would at least like to see a bit more going on around him on Cairn to make his scenes more compelling. Especially now that Garv is gone.

Still, this was the first issue where I could really glimpse the potential of the title and feel the tension of their situation. If Peyer can continue to spread the focus around more among the cast, I think it could pick up momentum very quickly. These are still people I care very much about and I want to enjoy following their adventures. So please check back with me next week to see if we continue on the upswing!

No comments:

Post a Comment