Wednesday, October 27, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. #17

R.E.B.E.L.S. #17 (August 2010)
title"What Happens in Vega...Conclusion"
writer: Tony Bedard
penciller: Sergio Ariño
inker: Scott Hanna
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 their 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.

She learned that Dox had transported Rann to its location to prevent a disaster from the loss of so much mass in the solar system. Starfire chose to join the L.E.G.I.O.N. while her sister, Blackfire, took advantage of the influx of refugees to mask the invasion of Rann by her army of Tamaranean survivors.

This issue opens with Blackfire's memories of her childhood, and her abduction, with her sister, by the Psions. They were forced to undergo cruel experimentation to see how much energy a Tamaranean could absorb before they exploded. But the process inadvertently gave them both special powers, which they used to escape. When the Psions destroyed their homeworld, Starfire fled to Earth while Blackfire gathered the survivors of Tamaran to lead them to a new homeworld. Years later, her powers were taken away by Hawkman.
The issue jumps to the present day, where Starfire is defending Rann from an attack by her sister. Captain Comet leads L.E.G.I.O.N. forces against Blackfire while Adam Strange calls for reinforcements. Strange reports the situation to Vril Dox, who instructs him to handle it because he is in the midst of delicate negotiations in the Polaris system.
Blackfire does not see herself as evil, but rather as someone who has pulled her people back from the bring of extinction. She is not the petty conqueror she used to be, and her people know it. Their battle is interrupted by two Green Lantern, Altin Aomos of Okarra, and Gorius of Psion. Neither Starfire nor Blackfire are comforted by the arrival of a Psion Green Lantern.
The Green Lanterns take a confrontational attitude that neither the Tamaroneans nor Rannians take a liking to. But Starfire is troubled by their declaration that they enforce the laws of Oa because the Corps was never welcome in the Vega Sector before. She urges Adam Strange to help her regain control of the situation by transporting them and the Green Lanterns into space. Their discussion is interrupted by the arrival of Thanagarian warbirds, who invite them aboard under a flag of truce.
Neither Adam Strange nor Blackfire are happy about the arrival of the Thanagarians, who they see as enemies. The Thanagarians have stopped the battle on the planet and taken the Tamarians captive but Dox calms Blackfire by assuring her that Rann is a big planet and that he can provide her people with land on the Southern hemisphere.
Elsewhere, Lyrl Dox is observing a pulsar to conduct an experiment. An experiment that appears to create something.
I absolutely love the interplay of the L.E.G.I.O.N., the Tamaraneans, the Rannians, and the Thanagarians in this issue. This is exactly the sort of interplanetary politics that made the premise of the original series so appealing, although even there we did not see it play out at one time with so many alien races that were important to the DCU.

I especially enjoyed seeing a more mature Blackfire, one who still had her self-inflated view of herself as shown by her memories, but who generally seemed to be working for the betterment of her people. That sort of gray area fits perfectly into the dynamic of the series. Things are playing out to the benefit of her people, which she seems to be working towards, but at the same time, we do not know if we can entirely trust her, which keeps us in suspense for the future.

The plan for Rann also seems fraught with peril, with both the Rannians and Tamareans settling on the same world. On the one hand, the L.E.G.I.O.N. could serve as a stabilizing influence, but on the other hand, we know because this is a comic book that nothing is going to remain stable.

I still hope for some individual focus on more of the team members, but I understand that this issue was intended to set up a new status quo so I can forgive the delay. Hopefully, that will come soon. So check back with me next issue to see if that happens and if we get a further glimpse of Lyrl's plans!

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