Wednesday, June 30, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. '96 #17

R.E.B.E.L.S. '96 #17 (March 1996)
writer: Tom Peyer
penciller: Derec Aucoin
inker: Phyllis Novin
colors: Stuart Chaifetz 
letters: Gaspar Saladino
editor: Dan Raspler
cover: Derec Aucoin & John Dell

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, along with Stealth, Telepath, Phase, Borb Borbb, Strata, and Garv, former L.E.G.I.O.N. officers. 

They set their ship's course for the planet Cairn, where they intended to mount a last-ditch assault against L.E.G.I.O.N. leader Lyrl Dox, Vril and Stealth's power mad son, who was cementing his rule by broadcasting a powerful mind-control wave throughout the galaxy. The assault failed and just as the wave was about to engulf them, Vril Dox pulled out a pistol and fired at Stealth.
Dox and Stealth are being held prisoner by their son, who is trying to deal with the Argite uprising on Cairn. Stealth is furious at Dox for shooting her, but he explains that it was the only way to prevent her from falling victim to the mind-control wave. He reminds her that they were hit with it before on Devan-6 and the fact that they were in pain at the time prevented it from working.
Lyrl orders Phase to put down the Argites permanently while he spends some time with his parents. Lyrl tells his mother that he studied everything known about her unique physiology, including her reaction to certain drugs. He injects her with one that causes her body to lose stability and turn into a liquid goo. 

Meanwhile, Comet leads an army of Argites to the doors of L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters where they are met by Phase, Davroth, and the rest of the brainwashed L.E.G.I.O.N. officers. While they battle, Vril recalls the words of Neron, who warned him that to defeat Lyrl he must remember who his father is. He tries to appeal to Lydea for help, reminding her that the last time she was under mind control, she murdered her own mother. The horror of this memory seems to momentarily break through to her.
Vril catches his son off guard, and after a brief fight, is able to break through his exoskeleton. He injects his son with the same vial the boy used on his mother, which causes Lyrl's body to become unstable. Vril checks the computer and quickly determines that Lyrl had used his own enhanced charisma software as the basis of his mind-control wave. He reconfigures the wave and turns it towards Cairn.
Comet soon breaks through to the room where Vril Dox is located and is surprised to find Lyrl already defeated. It turns out that Vril's adjustment to his sons mind-control wave has made everyone worship him now instead. Fortunately, he has no intention of taking advantage of the situation and soon cancels out the effect.

With Lyrl defeated, Dox hands control of L.E.G.I.O.N. to Captain Comet, who issues a formal apology to all worlds that had any dealings with the previous regime. 
The one thing Comet says they will not provide is vengeance, as all L.E.G.I.O.N. personnel who participated were not responsible for their actions. He adds that the true culprit has been incapacitated and prosecuting him would serve no purpose. So whether then dwelling on crimes of the past, they will work towards building a better future.

After Comet concludes his announcement, they gather to say a temporary goodbye to Stealth, who is returning to the asteroid home she now shares with Vril and their son. Lyrl's mental state was not entirely clear to me, but it appears he now has the simple mind one would expect of a typical infant. She reminds Dox that he never told her whose soul it was he sold to Neron.
Dox assures her not to worry, as any descendant of his should be able to outsmart Neron. She wishes them good night and heads for bed, but Dox has a question first.
Well, one of my biggest concerns over the last few issues was how rushed the conclusion would feel. And it certainly did feel rushed. Nevertheless, I would call it satisfactory. Nothing epic, but...satisfactory. Looking back over the entire series, I feel like it had an intriguing premise but rarely managed to live up to its potential. Much of it felt too small in scale, particularly early on. Once we saw the return of several characters who had missing for a while, particularly Comet, Marij'n, and the new recruits, it started to recapture some of the magic of L.E.G.I.O.N. Unfortunately, that was too late to save the series. 

Several storylines were obviously cut short in anticipation of the series ending, and I am curious to see where they might have headed had it continued. As much as I disliked how Garv's hatred of Dox seemed to be driving him off the deep end, it did not feel natural how quickly he came back into the fold. Marij'n and Comet's relationship got pushed to the side almost immediately after they were reunited as he turned his attention towards aiding the Argites. Presumably, they remain a happy couple, but it would have been great to see them that way again. Also, we barely got to glimpse the new recruits or Bek while they were under Lyrl's control, and I would have enjoyed seeing their dynamic in that situation explored further. In fact, much of our cast from L.E.G.I.O.N. felt neglected here. Phase and Strata were along for the ride, but were rarely given much of a showcase. Lydea merely served as muscle for Lyrl the entire run. Again, there was a lot of potential here that feels wasted.

In the end, I almost wish they had just ended the L.E.G.I.O.N. series with the team intact and available to be used for guest appearances in other series until such time as DC might have been willing take another chance on the title. Putting them through all of this upheaval did not really pay off here. However, a decade or so later, this concept was revisited in a second R.E.B.E.L.S. series written by Tony Bedard. Some, but not all of our core cast returns, with quite a few new members along for the ride. And yes, I will be covering that series as well, so please continue checking back each week as I review that version of R.E.B.E.L.S!


  1. So, doesn’t this mean he sold Brainiac 5’s soul to Neron? I can’t remember that ever coming up in the Reboot books...

    1. Back when half of the reboot Legion was trapped in their past/our present (in the late 90s) they team up, Brainy in particular, with Dox to stop Brainac plan of taking over Colu. At the end of the story theres a small reference to this with Dox realizing Brainy is the one who will have to deal with the consequences of his deal, but decides not to tell him about it because he is an ass. (Dox, not Brainy though he was a bit of an ass at the time). I dont think any Legion writers afterwards did anything with it though. Unless you consider Brainys mom being a total psyco a consequence of it.