Wednesday, April 14, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. '95 #6

R.E.B.E.L.S. '95 #6 (April 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's bloody campaign of Imperial expansion.

Their first mission, to rescure the peaceful planet Ontaeus from a L.E.G.I.O.N. takeover, has ended in failure...a failure that has convinced Dox that his small group's struggle against the far-flun organization is futile.

A bar fight has broken out and we see several aliens knocked out but cannot identify who their combatant is. After one of the pulls a gun and is shot in the head, we are finally given a glimpse of who pulled the trigger.
Drunk and angry, Dox approaches the bar and demands something stronger. Another alien tells his pony-tailed companion that he recognizes the drunk as a cop, Vril Dox, who used to be in charge of the L.E.G.I.O.N., until they nailed him for something and he went on the run. Another alien, Redec, approaches and shows them a L.E.G.I.O.N. flyer indicating that anyone with useful information would be rewarded with no questions asked. The men tell Redec to go away, as Raxull's is a free planet and they do not take kindly to police propaganda.

Elsewhere on the planet, Stealth, Phase and Strata seek information that could lead them to Dox, but they are warned that answering questions on Raxull can get someone banished, and asking questions can get them killed. 

Back at the bar, Dox is joined by Lobo, who is glad he has finally seen the light. Lobo explains that he believes that a person gets one life, and they can struggle their way through it, like Dox used to do, or they can just sit back and let the whole fraggin universe go to Hell. And just have a good time. Dox complains that he is Coluan, and that no matter how much he drinks, he cannnot seem to make himself half as oblivious as Lobo is sober.
Dox has had enough and knocks Lobo across the room. Lobo retaliates by stabbing him in the leg and Dox orders him to get out. Dox says he never wants to see him again, which is music to Lobo's ears, because he has only stuck around this long because of the deal Dox tricked him into early in the L.E.G.I.O.N. series run.
Redec, the bug-like alien who was holding the L.E.G.I.O.N. flyer, approaches Dox and offers him a drink. It turns out to be drugged and Dox begans to experience hallucinations of old friends he has lost.
Lyrissa Mallor appears next and accuses Dox of failing her and dishonoring her memory. His father, Brainiac, also appears and says that he always knew Dox would end up like this, a flithy bum playing out a grand psychotic episode in a cheap hovel. Even though he is beginning to see life as it is, he still isn't good enough, but fortunately, Brainiac has higher hopes for his grandson.

In the bar, the pony-tailed man who blew off Redec realizes that he deliberately drugged Dox so he could turn him in for the reward. 
Redec flees Sins and the bar, but runs into two aliens outside. He has apparently called L.E.G.I.O.N. already and the two invididuals have come in response. They use a scanner to confirm that Dox is still inside and tell Redec that there is one more thing he must do for them. They give him what they say is a small communicator and tell him to go back inside the bar to wait for their signal. He is frightened but they assure him they can protect him. Once Redec enters the bar, one of them double-checks their orders, which indicate that once any agent makes contact with Dox they must institute overkill.

This one took me longer than I expected to summarize. When I read it, the issue felt like such a fast, breezy read, I expected my write-up to be very short, but I guess more happened than I realized. One of my biggest complaints of this series, in comparison to the L.E.G.I.O.N. series, has been how many characters have been pushed aside to focus mainly on Dox. So I probably should not have liked this issue as much as I did. But I could not help but enjoy seeing Dox brought low given how much his huge ego has played a consistent part of both series.

I do hope its just a bit of a pause to how the series has been progressing, because we have seen Peyer start to spread the focus out a bit over the last few issues. I have given up hope that we will ever revisit the "new recruits," but I would still like to see the core cast of Stealth, Phase, and Strata get more focus. And if I am really lucky, the series may explore Borrb more since he was the only one of the new recruits to graduate to the main case.

But regardless, I did find this issue to be intriguing in how Dox has almost given up, despite how immensly determined and confident he has always been in the past. I guess it makes sense that if anyone would ever really challenge him, it would be his own son. Even someone as unpleasant as Dox cannot help but elicit our sympathy for a situation so out of his control. In the previous series, he was raped and murdered by Stealth, reborn in a new body only to discover he has a son, and that son turns out to be evil. For someone who strives to be in control of everything, thats about as out of control as he could find himself.

I still hope that the series will broaden its attention more, but this issue was a very satisfactory one that I enjoyed. We are now past the point I read it during its initial release so I have no idea if Lobo is indeed gone or not, but I am fine if he is. He wore out his welcome with me a long time ago and he has not served any purpose beyond comic relief for a very, very long time. But in any event, please check back with me next week so we  can see what pulls Dox out of his pity party!

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