Wednesday, October 20, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. #16

R.E.B.E.L.S. #16 (July 2010)
title"What Happens in Vega...Part 2"
writer: Tony Bedard
penciller: Claude St. Aubin
inker: Walden Wong
colorsJose Villarrubia 
letters: Travis Lanham
editor: Brian Cunningham
cover: Kalman Andrasofszky

Reviewer: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: With the defeat of Starro the Conqueror, Dox wanted to rebuild the L.E.G.I.O.N., but was surprised to find that the population of Maltus blamed him for Starro's attack. He decided that they need a new world for the headquarters so Adam Strange took him to the planet Rann, which had recently been decimated by a God-like being. The surviving population fled and the planet no longer had an atmosphere.

On the planet Kalanor, Desparo was about to execute Starro, when his former soldier, Storm-Daughter arrived to rescue him. She used her powers to restore Starro's strength and they fled Kalanor together. Meanwhile, Starfire was visiting the site of her homeworld Tamaran, which had been destroyed. She was in tears, watching the asteroids that once made up her world, when a bright light appeared and suddenly a planet was sitting where Tamaran once did.

After seeing her destroyed homeworld seemingly reappear, Starfire confronts Wildstar and Ciji, who she finds working on the surface.
Fortunately, Adam Strange knows Starfire and soon arrives to stop their battle. He tries to tell her that this planet is not her homeworld, Tamaran, but realizes that Vril Dox could do a better job of explaining.

He takes her to Dox, who gives her the background on his effort to restore the planet Rann, and why part of it involved moving it to Tamaran's prior location.
Within five weeks, the atmosphere of Rann is restored and vegetation is growing on the surface. The Rann refugees are returning to resettle on their homeworld and Dox uses these developments to get some positive publicity for L.E.G.I.O.N. Unfortunately, Starfire's sister, Blackfire, watches the news reports and sees in the events on Rann an opportunity.

Meanwhile, Dox meets with those who helped him in the fight against Starro to layout his plans for L.E.G.I.O.N.
In the same sector of space, two members of the Green Lantern corps are pursuing a stolen vessel when they are interrupted by a L.E.G.I.O.N. patrol, which successfully captures the vessel. Green Lantern Salaak later complains to Dox that one of his patrols almost killed one of their rookies, and warns that he should not attempt to start a turf war with the Corps. Dox explains that he has a contractual obligation to his shareholders to grow L.E.G.I.O.N. aggressively and that Salaak should "stick [his] reprimand where no lantern shines."
While Blackfire plots her attack on Rann, Captain Comet visits Adam Strange to tell him that he is leaving. He cannot shake the feeling that the whole revival of L.E.G.I.O.N. will be a disaster that will eventually blow up in Dox's face. 
Comet and Starfire go off flying together to get better acquainted but their discussion is interrupted by explosions. Blackfire's ships have come in under the cover of the refugee ships returning to Rann but Starfire quickly recognizes her people. She also soon locates her sister, who she believed had lost her powers.
I am thrilled that we are finally returning to the days where our cast is part of a functioning L.E.G.I.O.N. The first R.E.B.E.L.S. series ended just as Dox had defeated his son and the organization was reformed under Captain Comet's leadership, and we just went through 16 issues of Starro running the show. L.E.G.I.O.N. is a wonderful concept but by this point, it had been a long time since it was the focus of a series.

I was scared for a bit that Comet might actually leave, which would be a shame since he was one of my favorites in the initial run. Particularly after losing Strata a few issues ago. I like the newer characters, but since Dox is the only original member remaining, I appreciate at least having long-time members like Comet and Amon still on board. And Comet has always had an interesting dynamic with Dox, who tends to find Comet annoying specifically because of his strong moral code. Comet was always one of the members most worried about making sure L.E.G.I.O.N. stayed on the side of the angels.

One of the most interesting aspects of the original L.E.G.I.O.N. series was how it incorporated various alien races from different corners of the DCU. Making Rann their new homebase and bringing in the Taramanians are both very positive developments in this regard, and it makes the DCU feel more real. I also appreciate it when significant developments in one series are acknowledged and further developed in other series, showing that there are actual consequences to what happens in these comics. What happened to Rann and Tamaran have more value and meaning if the aftermaths of those events are further explored and developed here.

My only complaint about the series of late is that quite a few of our cast have been pushed into the background over the last few issues. It has been some time since Wildstar has done more than serve as muscle for Dox, and Cici remains something of a blank slate. And as a dominator, Xylon has a ton of potential that has yet to be explored. Seeing the L.E.G.I.O.N. rebuilt is a great opportunity to focus on these other characters more and I really hope we see that over the next few issues. I understand the temptation to give the spotlight to more established heroes like Starfire and Adam Strange, but it was developing all of the new characters that made the original series great.

Please check back with me next week to see the resolution of their battle with Blackfire and whether some of our others heroes get some much-needed attention!

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