Wednesday, September 8, 2021

R.EB.E.L.S. #10

R.E.B.E.L.S. #10 (January 2010)
title: "The Son & Stars, Part One"
writer: Tony Bedard
penciller: Andy Clarke
inker: Andy Clarke
colors: Jose Villarrubia 
letters: Steve Wands
editor: Brian Cunningham
cover: Kalman Andrasofszky

Reviewer: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: Vril Dox found himself on the run after the new leader of L.E.G.I.O.N. put a bounty on his head. He received a message through time from his descendant, Brainiac 5, who warned 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. Vril Dox then stole a device from one of the mercenaries chasing him that gave him control over the giant beast, Tribulus. He also travelled to Starhaven, home of the Anasazi Tribe of Earth, where he recruited the outcast native, Wildstar, and used technology to awaken the latent tracking talents of her people.  He then went to the planet Cairn to recruit former L.E.G.I.O.N. officer, Strata, and her companion, Bounder. 

At the same time, the Dominator homeworld came under attack by an invading army from another galaxy led by Starro the Conqueror. Dox's ship appeared to be under attack by a Durlan, Captain Ciji, but it turned out that she was there to appeal for his help on behalf of the Council of Durla. Dox activated the "iron curtain" protocols that commanded all of the peacekeeping robo-troops of L.E.G.I.O.N. to abandon their posts and create a barrier in space around Maltus, the location of L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters. Dox then recovered his son, Lyrl, who claimed that his mother, Stealth, was murdered by L.E.G.I.O.N. troops. Dox is also contacted by Adam Strange, Captain Comet, and the dictator Kanjor-Ro, whose planet was conquered by Starro. They united on the planet Vrool to discuss their next action.

This issue opens with a recap of Stealth's history, from her early days of helping to form L.E.G.I.O.N. through when she was overcome with a biological imperative to mate, which led to her raping and murdering Vril Dox. We see the birth of her son, Lyrl, his takeover of L.E.G.I.O.N., and following his defeat, her resignation from L.E.G.I.O.N. to join Dox in raising their now age-appropriate son. We also see her murder three days ago by a L.E.G.I.O.N. robot strike team, and now, her resurrection.
As noted on the cover, this issue is a tie-in to the Blackest Night crossover, in which deceased superheroes are being reanimated as Black Lanterns in a bid to eliminate all emotion and life from the universe. 

On Vrool, Adam Strange and Captain Comet warn Dox that the Green Lantern Corps have become locked in an all-out war with several new ring-slinging armies. Yellow Lanterns, Red Lanterns, Blue Lanterns, Orange Lanterns, and now, worst of all, Black Lanterns.
Dox sees Starro as the more immediate threat they need to deal with but he is distracted when Bounder says that Lyrl has disappeared. 

Elsewhere on Vrool, Lyrl, Strata, and Garv are confronted by Starro's top super-soldiers, the High Vanguard. Their commander informs Lyrl that his master has need of him, and he orders the others to eliminate Lyrl's friends.
Dox sends Wildstar to track his son and she reports that his scent is fading. She locates Strata and Garv, who report that Lyrl agreed to cooperate with the High Vanguard if their lives were spared. Dox is furious and declares that they have placed the entire galaxy at risk by letting them take his son.

On Maltus, Lyrl is taken before the Starro, who offers him a place among the Vanguard.
Dox explains that his son possesses the most dangerous intellect in the galaxy, and once Starro removes his cognitive blocks, it will take Lyrl less than a day to deactive the force field that is keeping most of Starro's forces on Maltus. He says it is too late to save his son and that the kindest thing that can do when they next see Lryl is to blow his head off.

Their ship comes under attack by the Vanguard, although their attack is soon interrupted by the arrival of Stealth. Dox uses the distraction to take them to hyperspace, although not in time for Wildstar to join them. Amon detects a massive energy spike and Dox orders a full stop. They see a group of Yellow Lanterns battling the Black Lantern version of Harbinger, and when the Yellow Lanterns' attempt to use the R.E.B.E.L.S.'s ship as cover, Harbinger rips it in two. 
Cici, uses her Durlan shape shifting abilities to envelope and protect Amon, Strata, and Garv. Dox protects himself with a forcefield, while Comet, Strange, and the Dominator are safe in the depths of space, and Kanjar-Ro slowly suffocates. Harbinger renews her attack on the Yellow Lanterns while Stealth attempts to break through Dox's protective field. However, when Harbinger succeeds in killing one of her prey, his ring finds his nearest eligible replacement in the Yellow Lantern Corps.
This issue is a masterful example of how to weave a crossover into your ongoing story without killing the momentum of the story. We still get an important progression of our ongoing storyline in Lyrl joining with Starro, but also the fascinating development of Dox getting a yellow power ring. Of course, Dox being a Yellow Lantern will not last, and he expressed disdain for the whole concept of a Lantern Corps earlier in the issue. But he is also not one to turn away power and he excels at taking full advantage of every opportunity. I have virtually no memory of how the next tie-in issue goes, but I cannot wait to see more of Dox as a Yellow Lantern.

Given Lyrl's past as a power-mad child who took over the L.E.G.I.O.N. in the prior series, Dox has every reason to be concerned, and those concerns immediately crossed my mind when Lyrl first encountered the High Vanguard. But it is noteworthy that Lyrl made a point to save Strata and Garv before his abduction. While a return of his prior personality is a danger, it has clearly not happened yet. When he approached Strata and Garv last issue seeking their help to leave Vrool, we saw that he still shares his father's boldness and his knack for turning any opportunity to his advantage. But he was also grieving his mother and saw his father as culpable in her death. To date, or at least prior to bonding with Starro, we had every indication his motives were not evil.

Although Claude St. Aubin has been doing a great job on art, it is always a treat when Andy Clarke returns to the series. As the artist who helped launch the title, I cannot help but have a soft sport for how he draws these characters. It was especially nice to see him drawing the flashback scenes on the first few pages because it was his first opportunity to portray this much of the classic L.E.G.I.O.N. 

I am far more excited for next issue than I typically am for a crossover tie-in. Lyrl bonding with a Starro very much has me wondering whether Starro may have made a huge mistake and I have to think that seeing Dox wield a power ring is going to be fun. So please check back with me next week for the second and final tie-in to Blackest Night!


  1. I don't like that they killed off Stealth. She was probably the most unique characters in the DC universe at the time.

    Also, what ultimately happened to Phase? Did I miss that?

    1. Phase was revealed to be one third of Phantom Girl.