Wednesday, June 9, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. '95 #14

R.E.B.E.L.S. '95 #14 (December 1995)
writer: Tom Peyer
penciller: Derec Aucoin
inker: Mark Propst
colors: Stuart Chaifetz 
letters: Gaspar Saladino
editor: Dan Raspler
cover: Derec Aucoin & Mark Probst

Reviewer: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: Vril Dox: Super-Intelligent founder of the interplanetary police agency L.E.G.I.O.N. Now a fugitive from his own organization.

Lyrl Dox: Vril's power-mad son, who wrested control of L.E.G.I.O.N.  by framing his parents for his own terrible crimes.

Stealth: Lyrl's mother, now wanted for assassinating 87 planetary leaders - all victims of Lyrl now.

Telepath, Phase, Borbb, Strata, and Garv: Former L.E.G.I.O.N. officers, now Vril's fugitive comrades.

Lydea Mallor and Gigantus: Two of Lyrl's core team of top lieutenants.

Captain Comet: Evolutionary Mutant from Earth, founder of the resistance movement on the L.E.G.I.O.N. homeworld of Cairn.

Several R.E.B.E.L.S. are discussing the events that occurred in the Underworld crossover, concerned that Dox may have sold his soul to the fallen angel Neron in exchange for regaining control of L.E.G.I.O.N. 
Garv rises to confront Dox, but they are interrupted when Dox gets called to the bridge by Phase. Their ship is being chased by a number of small probes they cannot identify. Before they can figure out what is happening, the probes surround the ship and explode!

Meanwhile, on Cairn, Lyrl is participating in a police terror-sweep through the Argite ghetto. Lyrl corners one of the Argites, and it appears at first that he plans to kill him, but instead his gun has a different effect.
Lyrl returns to Lydea Mallor, who has once again been brought under his control after almost becoming free last issue, to report that his new charisma-wave works. With his satellite in place, he now has the means to enlighten the entire galaxy, and tomorrow he plans to start with the Devan system.

Dox has examined their ship by mentally connecting to it and found only minimal damage, as he expected. Although the saturation bombing impacted all of the ship's structural weak spots, he was able to locate and repair them by overseeing the ship's self-healing capacity. When Phase notes that there were 87 points of impact, Stealth realizes that they were a message because 87 matches the number of planetary heads of state that Lyrl framed his mother for killing after his plan to brainwash them failed. Dox proclaims that they are going to begin straightening this mess out by convincing at least one of their 87 worlds of their innocence. They will start with Devan-6, since its always been keen on cluster bombs and probably sent this bunch.
On Cairn, a L.E.G.I.O.N patrol is attacking an Argites but is stopped by Captain Comet. One of the L.E.G.I.O.N. officers onboard turns out to be Gigantus, who realizes that his actions amount to murder and a betrayal of his history as a hero on his own homeworld. Comet is hopeful that Gigantus has overcome Lyrl's brainwashing but when he suggests that they can overcome Lyrl's tyranny together, the programming kicks back in and Gigantus proclaims his love for Lyrl.

The population of Devan-6 are beginning their official morning for President Bolon Fehr when Dox and the others arrive in disguise. They are unaware that Lyrl has just activated his charisma-wave, which is headed directly towards that same planet. Dox and the others are discovered by a Presidential Guardsman, but they are able to reach the new President.
The President agrees to help them by broadcasting what Lyrl did to the other 86 planets. He takes Dox and the others to a communication room, but one of his people notices an energy wave approaching the planet. Dox takes a look and immediately recognizes the pattern. He quickly informs the others it is time to leave and thanks the President for his help. The President is confused since they have not begun their broadcast and the Presidential Guardsman goes after Dox. 
Before they can get very far in their ship, the Guardsman attacks and brings them down. They stagger out of the wreckage, disoriented, but desperate to escape before the wave hits. They are too late and the wave slowly passes over the planet, washing over all of its citizens. The wave has its desired effect.
I was worried after last issue that the conclusion to this series was going to feel rushed, but fortunately, thats become less of a concern. When Lydea and the others appeared to break through Lyrl's brainwashing, I thought Peyer was perhaps feeling pressure to wrap everything up too quickly, but here they were in this story, safely back under his control. It is clear from Gigantus appearance that the brainwashing is far from perfect, but at the end of the day, their loyalty to Lyrl remains strong. 

I was also wrong to think things may start to get too easy for Dox and the gang. Despite the difficulty of their situation, I fully expected them to escape Devon-6 before the wave hit so this ending was a surprise. I suspect that whatever solution Dox finds to their current predicament will turn out to be helpful in defeating Lyrl (we only have a few issues left after all), but I appreciate that Peyer is still keeping things suspenseful.

Stealth's recent attraction to Dox is still unsettling, as much for him as for me apparently, and its seems obvious that there is no scenario in which they end up a happy couple. So this storyline feels a bit unnecessary, and I have a hard time looking at it with anything but a skeptical eye. But I do have hope that Peyer will manage to reach an interesting conclusion. I just hope Borbb's bouts of jealousy do not send him off the deep end. I always liked his character, and I'd hate for a broken heart to end up as his super-villian origin story.

Its great to have Garv back among our team, and while I was never quite comfortable with how obsessed he became over his hatred for Dox, I am glad that he has not let it go too suddenly now that he is back. It would be too pat and unrealistic for him to let go of that too quickly, despite his happiness over reuniting with Strata.

Its crazy to think we have only 3 issues left since it feels like I just started covering this series. But hopefully, I will remain as pleasantly surprised as I have been with my reread, at least after the first rough couple of issues. So please check back with me next week for the beginning of the end!


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