Wednesday, November 17, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. #20

R.E.B.E.L.S. #20 (November 2010)
title"Sons of Brainiac, Part 3: Brain-Drain"
writer: Tony Bedard
penciller: Claude St. Aubin
inker: Scott Hanna
colors: Tanya Horie; Richard Horie
letters: Travis Lanham
editor: Brian Cunningham
cover: David Lynch

Reviewer: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: Dox transplanted the planet Rann to the former location of the destroyed planet Tamaran to prevent disaster from the loss of so much mass in its solar system. He also restored the atmosphere of Rann, established a new L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters on its surface, and allowed the surviving Tamaraneans to settle in its Southern hemisphere.

Dox's son Lyrl, now known as Brainiac 3, used a pulsar star to create a powerful entity, Pulsar Stargrave, which he ordered to attack his father's homeworld, Colu, so he could take their data-core. Dox happened to be on Colu visiting the supposedly inert body of his father, the original Brainiac, when he was alerted to his son's action. But before he could respond to his son's invasion, Brainiac awoke from his coma intent on killing Dox. The ruling council was killed in the attack on Colu, and Dox travelled to the Vega system to hire Lobo to help him against Brainiac. 

Vril Dox and Lobo arrive at the planet Colu, and Lobo's offensive manner has Dox contemplating whether it was a mistake to enlist him. 
Dox assumed that the power ring was a trophy but Lobo explains that it was a gift from a Red Lantern. He has not worn it because he is thinking of selling it, but Dox suggests that they may end up needing every possible advantage against Brainiac. They are attacked by Pulsar Stargrave, which has been taken over by Brainiac.
While Lobo deals with Stargrave, Dox tracks down his son to try to convince him to join forces against Brainiac. Meanwhile, Lobo finds his battle more difficult than expected.
Lobo regenerates quickly and resumes his attack on Stargrave, while Dox successfully convinces his son that they must unite against Brainiac.
A blast from Brainiac's defenses appears to go through Lyrl's head, but we learn that the Dox and Lyrl that confronted Brainiac are merely holographic avatars being controlled by them from a ship above the surface. Brainiac soon discovers their ruse and confronts them on their ship.
Brainiac absorbs their minds, their memories, and their experiences, but finds himself overwhelmed. He begins to cry, unable to process the emotions he is feeling, which are like poison to him.
Brainiac calls for Pulsar Stargrave and they flee together with the data-core. Vril knows that Colu will not recover easily from its loss, and his son inquires as to whether he will be imprisoned. Before Dox can respond, they are confronted by two Green Lanterns declaring that they are both under arrest.

This issue had some fun moments, and it was an inevitable showdown, but I was a bit underwhelmed. One complaint I have had through all three incarnations of this series was the tendency to focus on Dox to the exclusion of other cast members. We have had some interesting subplots and additions to our cast recently, but it feels like they have been completely tossed aside. And again, this showdown was inevitable, but I feel it would have been better to take a break from this battle a few times to check in with some other members of the team.

It also felt that Lyrl was merely along for the ride for much of it. Once again, Dox is the one to save the day, but it would have been nice to see Lyrl step up and give us some growth as a character. I suppose the mere fact that he agreed to work with his father demonstrated that, but we have seen Dox save the day numerous times. Given Lyrl's complicated history, it would have been far more exciting to see him be the one to defeat Brainiac, or at least play a bigger role.

In any event, it is not that I disliked the issue, it just felt a bit disappointing given the build up. Lobo's appearance also seemed a bit forced, which is certainly not unique to the characters history with L.E.G.I.O.N. Sadly, there are not too many issues left in this series, which ends at #28. I really hope we get to explore the rest of the cast more in those final issues.


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