Wednesday, July 14, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. #2

R.E.B.E.L.S. #2 (May 2009)
title: "The First Recruit
writer: Tony Bedard
penciller: Andy Clarke
inker: Andy Clarke
colors: Jose Villarrubia 
letters: Steve Wands
editor: Brian Cunningham
cover: Andy Clarke

Reviewer: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: Vril Dox crash-landed on Earth while fleeing from a group of mercinaries, which included former L.E.G.I.O.N. recruit, Amon Haak. Supergirl stumbles on their battle and Dox convinces her to help him. Elsewhere, the Omega Men were being pursued by L.E.G.I.O.N. peacekeeper robo-troops at the colony on Lunestus, and Tygor wondered why the L.E.G.I.O.N. would even be paying attention to such a small community. Then they received a L.E.G.I.O.N. broadcast announcing that all member worlds were now considered L.E.G.I.O.N. property and that a reward was being offered for the capture of Vril Dox. On Earth, Supergirl took Dox to a remove outpost at the South Pole, where he received a message from his descendant, Brainiac 5.
Supergirl and Dox flee as the scientific outpost they were using comes under attack from Amon Hakk and his fellow mercenaries.
While Supergirl carries Dox away, he continues communicating with the facsimile of Brainiac 5 that has been implanted in his mind. Brainiac 5 explains that the 30th century archives contain no mention of Dox after this moment but he must survive if he is ever to be born.
Dox is...skeptical. And irritated at being called Brainiac 2. But he seems to quickly consider the new possibilities that this situation presents. Brainiac 5 notes that Dox already has Supergirl, and he can help him with the rest.

In the real world, Supergirl is struck by the mercinary Tribulus and she drops Dox. He confronts his former teammate Amon Hakk and asks what happened to one of his best and brightest recruits. Hakk says that Dox happened and he accuses Dox of ruining his life. Dox tricks Hakk into firing his plasma sleeve at his teammate Getorix, who has a device on his head that controls Tribulus.
Dox grabs the device and instructs Supergirl to use her x-ray vision to nestle it precisely between the cortical hemispheres of his brain, just above the cerebellum. This gives him control of Tribulus and he immediately orders the creature to knock out Supergirl.
Dox tells Brainiac 5 that Supergirl would never have let him abscond with the creature that attacked her city but assures him that she will recover. He promises to use Brainiac 5's personnel files to build the rest of his strike team but also requests that he kindly deactivate.

The Omega Man have taken their ship to the Rann Nebula in hopes that Zeta radiation will keep L.E.G.I.O.N.'s robo-troops away. They receive a message from Dox who explains that an unknown party has taken over the L.E.G.I.O.N. supercomputer Silica and he is asking their help in stopping them. When they decline, Dox reports their position to the L.E.G.I.O.N. in retaliation.

Dox heads to Starhaven, a lost colony made up of the Anasazi tribe of Earth, which had been abducted by Athranian gene farmers.  Dox meets with their Chief Night Sky and tells him that the people of Earth believe them extinct. He offers to tell them of the breathtaking civilization they have built but asks to take one of them along. 
The Chief introduces her as Wildstar, the shame of Starhaven, a crazy woman who always talks about strangers passing far above their skies. Dox suggests that she may posses the latent talents he mentions, which the Chief interprets as possibly curing her, and he agrees to let her depart with Dox.

Once they are away, Wildstar tells Dox that she knows he is lying as to why he came, just as she knows that there is a monster sleeping aboard his ship. He tells her that his scans confirm she posses the tracking trait he is seeking, and asks her what she would do if he could give her new wings.
This continues to be an excellent start for this new incarnation of R.E.B.E.L.S. The most delightful part was Brainiac 5 providing Dox with his files on the Legion of Super-Heroes as an inspiration for forming his own team. Yeah, Dox is going to do things in his own morally-gray way, but it does establish a much firmer connection to the LOSH than we got at the start of the L.E.G.I.O.N. series. And that is reinforced by his trip to Starhaven and recruitment of one of Dawnstar's people. (And I love me some Dawnstar.)

Supergirl was disposed of a little too quickly for my tastes, although I do realize that was the point. But given my fondness of her, I still winced a bit at seeing her tossed aside so dismissively. On the other hand, it was touching to see how much that troubled Brainiac 5.

It was fascinating and very in keeping with Dox's character that he would take the information provided by Brainiac 5 and immediately connect Tribulus with what he now knows of the Fatal Five. Of course, Dox has always been focused on power and control so he would see the advantage of having his own Validus at his disposal. Brainiac 5 is understandably aghast at his ancestors plans, but it lets new readers know exactly what sort of person Dox is.

That is one thing I had to keep reminding myself, that many readers of this series likely had no or very little knowledge of the past L.E.G.I.O.N. and R.E.B.E.L.S. series. But I think Bedard did an excellent job of engaging those who did read those series while also taking the time to introduce Dox and establish the sort of man he is. And I liked Andy Clarke's art immediately when these issues were originally coming out. It reminded me very much of Gary Frank, who I had come to like during his Hulk run.

This series is off to a strong beginning and I am very much looking forward to next issue where we will see the return of my favorite member of L.E.G.I.O.N., Strata! 

1 comment:

  1. The first time I read this story arc, I had not read the 1980s/90s LEGION/REBELS series, and I still really enjoyed it.

    One that bothers me, though, is that Brainiac 5 advises Vril Dox to get a Dawnstar analogue for REBELS... but there was no Dawnstar in the threeboot that this Querl must originate from!