Wednesday, April 21, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. '95 #7

R.E.B.E.L.S. '95 #7 (May 1995)
writer: Tom Peyer
penciller: Scott Eaton
inker: Pam Eklund
colors: Stuart Chaifetz 
letters: Gaspar Saladino
editor: Dan Raspler
cover: Derec Aucoin & Mark Propst

Reviewer: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: Vril Dox, founder of the interplanetary security agency L.E.G.I.O.N., has been deposed and branded a criminal by his power-mad infant child.

Now it appears that the agents of the son have slain the father, removing a formidable obstacle to L.E.G.I.O.N.'s goal of interplanetary dominion and mind-control.

After blowing up the bar on the planet Raxull in which Dox was drowning his sorrows, two bounty hunters search the rubble for any remains they can use to prove to L.E.G.I.O.N. that he is dead.
Despite appearances, Dox has survived the explosion. He awakens alone in a room and finds his hand bandaged. He removes them and sees that one of his fingers has been cut off. When he tries to walk, his knee gives out and he collapses. Dox howls in pain, but one of the men who was in the bar approaches and places a sinpatch on his forehead. 
The man explains that he recognized the death's egg bomb when it was brought into the bar, so he suggested everyone make a hasty exit through an underground tunnel. He knew some evidence of Dox being killed would be necessary to prevent L.E.G.I.O.N. from trying to track them, so he cut off Dox's finger

On Cairn, Lydea Mallor is taking calls from angry representatives of member planets, who are threatening to cancel their contracts because of L.E.G.I.O.N.'s recent authoritarian actions. The meeting is cut short when news arrives of Dox's death. She takes it Lyrl Dox, who is watching the angry message he received from his mother on repeat. 

Back on Raxull, Stealth, Phase, and Strata are asking questions in hopes of finding Dox when Telepath picks up the thoughts of the two bounty hunters who "killed" him. He tells everyone that he thinks Dox is dead and points to the two people who are thinking about the reward they will get for killing him. Stealth starts to run towards them but Borbb stops her. They are recognized and the two men flee.
Lyrl's mood is much improved after hearing of his father's apparent death, but Lydea warns him that their clients are growing increasingly more difficult to manage. He realizes that he can use his father's death to help the situation and calls a meeting with representatives from each planet.
For the first time in many issues, we check in with Marij'n, who is asking the computer to scan the records of random L.E.G.I.O.N. personal to check their frontal lobes for anomalies exceeding the statistical norm. Her investigation is interrupted by Garryn Bek, who believes she is still depressed over the death of Captain Comet. He mentions that he has been tapped to "help enlighten" some very important newcomers, and she asks to come along.

The men who believe they killed Dox have made it to their ship and left the planet. Strata and the others follow in their own ship but the chase is cut short when they run out of fuel. The ship extracts fuel from a human brain, and only a controlled mind like Dox can generate the alpha waves of a meditative state that are necessary. Anyone else risks transmitting the wrong signals, which would result in their death. 
On Cairn, Lryl is greeting the planetary representatives who have come for his father's funeral. Lydea is concerned that Marij'n never underwent the brainwashing everyone else did, but Bek assures her that his ex-wife is too depressed to do anything to hurt L.E.G.I.O.N. When the ceremony begans, Lyrl asks everyone to don the headgear he has provided so that they could all remember Vril Dox together.
Garv has been travelling to Raxull to find Strata, his wife, and arrives just as a fleet of ships launches from the space station to attack her and the others. They are still without fuel and a successful hit from a L.E.G.I.O.N. ship sends them crashing to the surface.

This was without a doubt my favorite issue of this series, and it was the first to really have the feel of the prior L.E.G.I.O.N. series. It helped that Marij'n reappeared and the final page teased the return of the new recruits next issue. My biggest complaint has been how many main characters from L.E.G.I.O.N. have been ignored so their return is very welcome. It helps that more subplots are developing, although it seems odd that Marij'n has been in her right mind this entire time and we just have not seen it. It is intriguing though and I am excited to see where it takes us.

Given their history, it felt surprising at first to see that Stealth was the one having the most difficulty with Dox's apparent death. Yes, they had a child together, but that is because she raped and murdered him when she was in heat. I guess their lives have become intertwined and she is always the most emotional in the group so it does make some sense. And of course, she is also trying to deal with the fact that her son is responsible for everything bad that has happened.

The scene at the funeral was delightfully ominous, because getting control of the representatives' minds is his first step towards expanding such control to their planet's populations. Another complaint I have had with this series is that the scale to everything felt small, even though L.E.G.I.O.N. is supposed to be an interplanetary police force with hundreds or possibly thousands of member planets. This development took a big step towards remedying that and making the stakes feel big.

I am starting to regret that I gave up on this series so quickly in the 90s and I really hope things continue on this path. The return of the new recruits has left me feeling very optomistic. So please check back next week and maybe we can even get our hopes up for a glimpse of Captain Comet too.

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