Wednesday, October 13, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. #15

R.E.B.E.L.S. #15 (June 2010)
title"What Happens in Vega"
writer: Tony Bedard
penciller: Claude St. Aubin
inkerScott Hanna
colorsJose Villarrubia 
letters: Travis Lanham
editor: Brian Cunningham
cover: Kalman Andrasofszky

Reviewer: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: Vril Dox went on the run after Starro the Conqueror took over L.E.G.I.O.N. and 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. Dox began to gather a new team, including the giant beast Tribulus. the tracker Wildstar, former L.E.G.I.O.N. officer Strata, and her companion, Bounder. 

The Dominator homeworld was conquered by Starro, and a Dominator admiral, Xylon, took refuge with Dox. They were joined by Adam Strange, Captain Comet, the deposed dictator Kanjar-Ro, Despero, and a Durlan, Captain Ciji, who was sent by the Counsel of Durla to seek his help. Dox then recovered his son, Lyrl, who had been on the run since his mother was killed by L.E.G.I.O.N. robo-troops. Lyrl became possessed by one of Starro's starfish, although one that left him with a greater degree of free will than typical so as not to limit his intelligence, and he adopted the title Brainiac 3. However, he was not as under control as Starro believed, and the boy set a trap so that Starro would fall into his father's hands. Dox's weapon failed to defeat the conqueror, but the Omega Men arrived with a poison they retrieved in Starro's home galaxy that succeeded in stopping him.

Dox is furious that he is being blamed for Starro's invasion while Despero's approval rating has gone up twenty points since he decided to take his revenge on Starro through a very public execution on Kalanor. Amon is reminding Dox that it was his robot army that Starro used when a blast comes through the window and narrowly misses them both.
Comet uses his powers of telepathy and teleportation to quickly subdue the assassin, who views himself as a patriot seeking justice for the destruction that occurred on Maltus. Adam Strange suggests that this sort of thing is unlikely to stop but that he knows of a place they could use for a new headquarters.

Meanwhile, in space, a L.E.G.I.O.N. ship has docked with a small freighter to conduct an inspection. However, it is not L.E.G.I.O.N. troops that come aboard, but Tamaranian pirates seeking to steal their cargo. Unfortunately for them, the cargo is not at all what they expect.
Starfire quickly incapacitates the pirates and asks the captain to turn them over to the nearest law enforcement so she can continue her journey under her own power.

Adam Strange takes Dox to his adopted homeworld of Rann, which was recently decimated by a God-like being. The planet is deserted because the surviving population fled, but they are joined by Strange's father-in-law, Sardath, who has been unable to find a way to restore Rann's biosphere. 
On Kalanor, thousands have gathered in a sold-out stadium to witness the execution of Starro by Desparo. But at the last minute, it is interrupted by the arrival of Starro's servant, Storm-Daughter.
Starro is weakened so she uses her power to transfer some of Despero's vitality into the conqueror.  With renewed strength, he wishes to fight Despero but Storm-Daughter transports them away before he gets the chance.

Starfire thinks back to her time on Earth, and her relationship with Dick Grayson, as she arrives at the wreckage of her homeworld, Tamaran. She cries as she floats among the asteriods that she believes to be all that is left her world, but is suddenly blinded by the glare of a large, bright portal that appears in front of her. Next thing she knows, she is staring down at a planet that appears to be her homeworld restored.
This is an odd issue in that it had the feel of taking a breather after the defeat of Starro, but quite a bit actually happened. We got the arrival of Starfire, a prominent DC hero, and the escape of Starro, as well as the introduction of Rann as the likely new headquarters of L.E.G.I.O.N. Bedard did a good job of setting up the pieces for a new direction after a pretty long ongoing storyline that lasted for most of the first 14 issues. (Excepting the two Blackest Night crossover issues.) 

The story suggested that Starro will continue to be a threat, but there was something off about Storm-Daughter's behavior. The fact that she ignored Starro's orders and removed them from battle implies that there is some greater plan at work here than her simply helping her boss, and someone else directing her actions. I have not read this since 2010 so I am unsure what is going on, but the obvious candidate would be Lyrl Dox. If anyone could make Starro their servant, it would be someone from the Dox family.

It was only a few lines but I was glad to see Amon Hakk get at least a little attention as he is now the only main character other than Vril Dox and Captain Comet to remain from the first series. I still feel Strata's absence but it helps to still have Amon there, even if he has lost some of the nobility he carried in that initial run. While he often displayed the crudeness that Khunds are known for, he was also fiercely loyal to his teammates and to L.E.G.I.O.N. This is a more cynical version of the character, but I guess serving with Vril Dox for a long time is known to change people. 

The Omega Men appear to have departed but it seems that everyone else is sticking around, including the Dominator. I hope that is the case at least, because he was the most unexpected addition to the team, at least for me, and it would be a shame to lose him. Starfire would also be a welcome addition, so please check back with me next week as she encounters our team for the first time!

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