Wednesday, March 24, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. '95 #3

R.E.B.E.L.S. '95 #3 (January 1995) 
writer: Tom Peyer
penciller: Derec Aucoin
inker: Mark Propst
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. But it appears their common struggle has ended. Angered by their refusal to follow his orders without question, Dox has bitterly severed all ties with his cohorts and embarked alone on a secret mission behind L.E.G.I.O.N. lines.

Dox locates a secret garage nearby and tells them he wants to buy some equipment. When he mentions that he does not want to attract any L.E.G.I.O.N. attention, they suddenly recognize him. Believing him to still be in charge of L.E.G.I.O.N., the gang pull out their weapons. He tries to explain that he was expelled from the organization, but they do believe him and insist that he tell them what he is really up to. A squad of L.E.G.I.O.N. troops burst in, which they assume at first to be Dox's back up.
One of the troops recognizes Dox and pulls out a Death's Egg grenade, which is powerful enough to vaporize the garage and everyone in it. Apparently, any officers who made contact with Dox were instructed to institute overkill to ensure his death. Dox runs to the grenade and starts pressing buttons. The gang assumes he is trying to deactivate it, but instead he picks it up and tosses at the L.E.G.I.O.N. troops who had fled outside. After it explodes, the gang turns its focus back on Dox.
Back at their ship, Stealth and the others discuss whether to abandon Dox or not. Strata believes he has been acting like a maniac and that they should leave, but Phase argues that they should wait his mood out and try to talk to him. An alarm sounds and they notice a squad of L.E.G.I.O.N. troops approaching the ship. Stealth wants to fight but Strata reminds them that L.E.G.I.O.N. will just keep sending more, so Phase has Borbb teleport them away. The troops enter the ship and one of them finds Telepath chained up. Telepath tries to tell him that he is still loyal to L.E.G.I.O.N. and is being held prisoner by Dox, but the trooper thinks he is lying. 
Some of the other troops stumble onto Lobo and make the mistake of waking him up. He kills all of the ones he sees and goes back to sleep. Elsewhere, another officer hears the noise of Lobo's battle but before he can check on the source, he is grabbed by several wires from the ship. The wires pull him down into the pilot's seat and slowly protrude into his head.

In the nearby city, Phase and the others find the streets deserted because of a curfew being enforced by L.E.G.I.O.N. They also see one lone citizens who is protesting start to get abducted by a L.E.G.I.O.N. craft.
Strata grabs one of the limbs extending from the craft and uses it to pull the entire ship down, destroying it. Six more arrive and quickly grab both Stealth and Strata. Phase orders Borrb to teleport inside the cockpits and disable the officers but he makes the mistake of trying to free Stealth first and gets abducted himself.
Phase fears that her comrades will be killed once the L.E.G.I.O.N. officers discover who they are. She fears she has no time to locate Dox and decides to try to rescue them on her own.

On another planet ,Ontaeus, their leader is speaking with Lyrl about whether to accept L.E.G.I.O.N.'s services. He explains that theirs is a quiet world and that they learned long ago to exist without crime or even the need for law. Lyrl suggests they are still vulnerable to attack from interplanetary aggressive species, but the leader responds that even if gas-breathers ever coveted their water world, he doubts they would be equipped to occupy it for very long. This is the eight invitation to a planet that Lyrl has sent that has been declined and he has had enough. He orders Lydia to assemble their fleet because he wagers the other seven planets will quickly sign up once they have seen Ontaeus boil.

Dox awakens Lobo, who is tired of having his sleep interrupted so he throws Dox across the room. Dox wants an explanation as to why there is a sudden infestation of dead L.E.G.I.O.N. troops throughout the ship. After Lobo explains that they tried to wake up him, Dox takes him to see the other body slumped across the pilot's seat. Dox explains that the ship appears to render the mind's alpha-waves into a powerful energy source and that it was running low, which is why it extended wires into the brain of the one L.E.G.I.O.N. officer. It sucked the energy out of his mind, which would have happened to Dox had he been sitting there. Dox hears about the capture of Phase and the others over the trooper's communication device but decides to let them stew for a bit and focus on getting the ship moved. But the ship begins to move on its own and Dox realizes that its no longer responding to him.
It looks like the series is still trending in the right direction after the uptick last issue. Peyer has continued to give characters other than Dox some focus, which hearkens back to his writing on the L.E.G.I.O.N. series. But it would be nice if he gave them something to do other than just fight people and argue over Dox. The prior series always had several subplots going along but the only one so far in this title is the fate of Strata and Garv's relationship. I did not mention it in the summary because there was not much to it but we did get a glimpse of Garv on his way to find her, and I do look forward to their reunion even if I feel like Garv has been acting out of character of late. But Phase, Stealth, and Borrb seem to simply be along for the ride here, and while I appreciate that they gotten a little bit more to do, it still feels like they are being neglected. 

Worst of all has been the treatment of Telepath, who had become an integral member of the team in the prior series. Here he has just been chained up in a room because he is still under the control of Lyrl, and the rest of the team do not seem particularly concerned about him. If he was unceremoniously killed in this issue like it appeared I am going to be very disappointed. It already feels like Captain Comet and Lady Quark were tossed aside at the end of the last series and I would hate to see that happen to Telepath as well.

Despite my criticism, I did think this was a decent issue overall. I enjoyed seeing Phase and the others rush to the rescue of the protestor and the development at the end regarding their mysterious ship was interesting (and disturbing). I can see why this series did not hold my attention very long when it originally came out, but there is some gradual improvement happening, so hopefully that will continue. So please check back with me next and we will see if that momentum keeps up.

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