Wednesday, July 28, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. #4

R.E.B.E.L.S. #4 (July 2009)
title: "From Beyond"
writer: Tony Bedard
penciller: Claude St. Aubin
inker: Scott Hanna
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. With Supergirl's assistance, he fled to a science station at the South Pole. There, he received a message through time from his descendant, Brainiac 5, who explained that there was no record in his era of Vril Dox after this day. To ensure his survival, Brainiac 5 provided him with the complete personnel files of the Legion of Super-Heroes to maximize his chances. Instead of recruiting Supergirl, as Brainiac 5 expected, Vril Dox stole a device from the mercenary Getorix that gave him control over the giant beast, Tribulus. He then travelled to Starhaven, home of the Anasazi Tribe of Earth, who had long ago been abducted by aliens and resettled. There, he recruited the outcast native, Wildstar, and used technology to awaken the latent tracking talents of her people.  Unfortunately, the effects of the process mean that she must now wear a special containment suit for the rest of her life.  They then travelled to the planet Cairn in hopes of recruiting former L.E.G.I.O.N. officer, Strata, and discover that she just survived an attack by L.E.G.I.O.N. robo-troops.

Amon Haak and the other mercenaries were taken by Supergirl to Slabside Maximum Security Penitentiary in Antarctica, but they are soon to be extradited to the Khundian Empire. A Khund ship arrives and they are quickly brought on board to meet the Captain, who turns out to be a child. Amon scoffs but the telepath, Skwaul, tries to warn Amon that he has read the child's mind and she is not what she seems.
Meanwhile, on Cairn, Dox explains to Strata that he does not know who took control of L.E.G.I.O.N. but that he has been given a template for creating the perfect team for taking it back. Despite her skepticism, Dox convinces her to help so long as her companion Bounder can join them.

On Maltus, the new home of L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters, the Omega Men appeared successful in their effort to stop the supercomputer Silica, but discovered that she was being controlled by a Starro. They now find themselves under attack by a new arrival.
They escape the building but soon learn that the entire population of Maltus is under Starro control, including a mob that is attacking their drop ship.

A new group enters the series as we move to the homeworld of the Dominators, where their Emporer has been told that a stable wormhole to another galaxy was just discovered nearby.
The Omega Men take shelter in the offices of a media company and use its broadcasting equipment to send a distress call. Their call is picked up by Dox as his ship is approaching Maltus, but their message does not get the reaction they were hoping for.
Dox insists that Maltus is already lost and that going there would be suicide. Their argument is interrupted when a docking station attaches to their ship, and they receive a message from the Durlan captain, Ciji, announcing that they are about to be boarded.

The building in which the Omega Men are hiding has been overrun by Starro-possessed civilians and for a moment it appears they have no way of escaping.
Their rescuers turn out to be a group of Psions, a race of super-scientists with whom the Omega Men have an unpleasant history. The Psions insist that they mean no harm and, in fact, need their assistance in dealing with an incoming threat emerging from the wormhole near the Dominator homeworld.
This issue was not quite as enjoyable as the last few but does a decent enough job of keeping the momentum going. The addition of the Dominators was nice to see since it was their attack on Earth in the Invasion! series that led to the events that created the first incarnation of L.E.G.I.O.N. Similarly, including a Durlan was likely a nod to Dox's Durlan companion from the early days of L.E.G.I.O.N., a character who ended up being transported a thousand years into the future where he took the name R.J. Brande in the Legion of Super-Heroes continuity at the time.

The one aspect of this series that has felt a bit off to me so far is the inclusion of the Omega Men. I realize this series came out at a time when DC was pushing many of their space-based characters, and that the Omega Men are a regular part of this run for some time. Nevertheless, including a whole other team in the cast from the beginning like this gives the feeling that these issues have all been part of a major crossover rather than the launch of a new title.  On the other hand, I admit to being a bit of a hypocrite since the fact that our cast interacts with the wider DCU to a greater degree than it did in the past two series is one of my favorite parts of this run.

We lost Andy Clarke for a few issues, but St. Aubin does a great job filling in and the style is consistent enough with Clarke's to keep the change from being jarring. My only nitpick is that I prefer the classic Silver & Bronze Age look to Starro over what we have been getting here. We will see something much closer to that soon, but I still think it would have been fun to see the classic look consistently clashing with the otherwise very moderns designs in this title. 

I am really looking forward to next issue as Dox meets face-to-face with the Durlan and the Dominators confront the invading army. So please check back with me next week for "The Stars We Are!"

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