Wednesday, April 7, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. '95 #5

R.E.B.E.L.S. '95 #5 (March 1995) 
writer: Tom Peyer
penciller: Derec Aucoin
inker: Mark Propst & Pam Eklund
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 while Dox has been preoccupied with studying the mysteries of the bizarre sip and motivating the team, his son has embarked on a bloody campaign to expand L.E.G.I.O.N.'s dark influence.

Lyrl has ordered L.E.G.I.O.N. to attack the water world Ontaeus out of revenge for their leader rejecting his organization's protection. To justify the attack, Lyrl has portrayed their monarch as a despot and L.E.G.I.O.N. as the people's liberators. But the attack is a massacre and the citizens are being slaughtered.
Some of the population has managed to escape into deep fissures where they discuss the need to regroup and organize. They also see a need for leadership since their Monarch has given them no means to defend themselves.

Dox is getting used to controlling the ship by the new interface that connects to his consciousness but the others are growing concerned that it is taking him too long. He takes the ship through a meteor shower and he manages to get them through it despite a frightening ride. Phase is trying to treat his leg wound when he receives an encrypted L.E.G.I.O.N. message indicating that they are following wartime protocols. He ignores everyones' questions and immediately sets course at maximum speed.

On Cairn, Lyrl is taking a bath when a L.E.G.I.O.N. officer arrives to provide a status update from the front. 

Dox visits Telepath, who they have imprisoned because he is still a victim of Lyrl's brainwashing. Dox explains that he is heading into a war zone and cannot afford to carry any passengers. If Telepath is to stay aboard, he has to contribute, but Telepath claims he is still too weak from a gunshot wound he recently received. Dox insists that the wound is fully healed and that his only weakness comes from his son's mind-control. Telepath still denies that he is being controlled, so Dox takes a new approach.
On the planet Crell, Garv continues his search for Strata but is informed by a local officer that he missed her. The man explains that she caused them a lot of problems and that while L.E.G.I.O.N. may be most concerned with recapturing Dox, it is Strata they have given top priority. Garv insists that Strata is a hostage, not a terrorist, and when the man scoffs, Gary throws him aside and bursts out the wall of his office.

On Onteaus, the Monarch is given an update on the conflict and a warning over his inaction.
Elsewhere, one of the citizens has stepped forth to fill the leadership vacuum and is rallying citizens to counterattack. A L.E.G.I.O.N. craft has located the group and attacks, but Dox's ship collides with it, causing a rupture that lets the ocean water flood in. He sends Phase on a mission aboard the sunken craft and she is disturbed by the sight of the dead bodies of those they used to serve with. She locates the undersea gear he sent her for and she returns to their ship. Dox is speaking with the Monarch but their conversation is interrupted by a call from Lyrl, which gives Stealth her first chance in a long time to speak with her son.
Dox, Stealth, and Phase don the water gear and depart with Lobo, leaving behind enough energy for Strata to run the ship without it needing to siphon energy from others. Dox goes to meet with the Monarch while the rest of them come to the assistance of some locals, but Lyrl unleashes a barrage of genetically engineered creatures against them. 
The Monarch tells Dox he gratefully accepts his offer of help and asks for the whereabouts of his ship and fighting force so they can coordinate a defense. Dox realizes he has walked into a trap and that they have accepted Lyrl's deal. Several L.E.G.I.O.N. troops step out of the shadows but Borrb is able to teleport Dox away.

Dox has Borrb retrieve everyone and return them to the ship, although Stealth is furious that they forced her to retreat from the battle. Dox tells her the war is over and that there is nothing more they can do.
Another issue that continues to pick up steam! This one involved the sort of moral conflicts and intrigue that I really enjoyed in the previous series. And while Dox was still front and center, I felt like some of the other cast got a good bit of focus in this issue. We got to see into the minds of Phase and Stealth to a degree that we have not for some time. While we may not have several subplots ongoing like we did in the previous series, I feel like we are on the right track. 

Garv is out there heading to a meet-up with his wife, and while I have had issues with how this series has handled their relationship, I am more hopeful now that Strata has made peace with Dox. While I do not necessarily think I will love the resolution, I am relieved that Strata is not just throwing tantrums over Dox anymore.

One major plus in this arc is the use of the water world as the setting. Its allowed for a lot of really nice touches and attention to detail that would not be present on a typical world. This is the sort of thing I love about Tom Peyer's writing and I am happy to see it here. The intrigue present in the main story combined with the unusual setting that Peyer exploits is exactly what this title should be doing.

My only pause is that I do still wish we could revisit some of the characters from the earlier series more, particularly some of the new recruits that were tossed aside. But I think I'm starting to sound like a broken record and that I need to let it go. Overall though, this issue was definitely a step in the right direction and I hope it continues.

No comments:

Post a Comment