Wednesday, November 24, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. #21

R.E.B.E.L.S. #21 (December 2010)
title"To Be a R.E.B.E.L., Part 1"
writer: Tony Bedard
penciller: Claude St. Aubin
inker: Scott Hanna
colors: Tanya Horie; Richard Horie
letters: Travis Lanham
editor: Brian Cunningham
cover: Francis Portela & Santiago Arcas

Reviewer: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: Vril Dox's son, Lyrl, now known as Brainiac 3, used a pulsar star to create a powerful entity, Pulsar Stargrave. He ordered the being to attack his father's homeworld, Colu, so that 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. 
Dox convinced his son to help fight Brainiac while Lobo dealt with Pulsar Stargrave. Brainiac attempted to absorb their minds, but found himself overwhelmed by their memories and experiences. He fled with Pulsar Stargrave and the data-core, a loss that Dox said they will not easily recover from. Just as Dox and his son got their bearings, they found themselves confronted by two members of the Green Lantern Corps, who declared that they were under arrest.

The Guardians of the Universe are presiding over the trial of two rookie Green Lanterns, Altin Admos and Gorius Karkum, who stand accused of reckless actions resulting in widespread damage to the planet Colu. Admos explains that since the moment they received their rings they have clashed repeatedly with Vril Dox and his L.E.G.I.O.N., but lacked evidence of any crimes on their part. He believed this had changed when Dox recently botched Brainiac's incarceration so they confronted him on Colu.
Dox has Lobo to attack them, but Admos is reluctant to fight at first. Not out of fear, but because his people hold Lobo in high esteem, to the point of almost worshipping him. But he remembers his responsibilities and engages Lobo. Meanwhile, Dox and Lyrl do some research on their new opponents.
Lyrl questions why Admos would join the Green Lantern Corps knowing that it would make him an outcast back home. But Dox says the real question is what he might sacrifice just to find a real challenge.
Neither Admos nor his partner are able to gain the upper hand against Lobo, but his pride prevents him from calling the Corps for help. Eventually their battle is interrupted by Dox, who brought some company.
He warns the Lanterns that their encounter is being broadcast and that their actions reflect on the Corps. They cease their attack and Dox takes further advantage of the situation.
Dox's speech was successful and the L.E.G.I.O.N. signs twelve new client worlds, with more applying. The Guardians had planned to deal with Dox in their own way, and the Lanterns' confrontation left them with a significant public relations problem. But that is not their only issue with these two Lanterns.
One of things I most loved in this and the other L.E.G.I.O.N.-related series was when our team would interact with the great DCU, and confrontations with the Green Lantern Corps always seemed the most inevitable and natural. But one of my ongoing frustrations was how often these series focused too much on Dox to the detriment of the rest of our cast. So this issue was very much a mixed bag for me.

I enjoyed the storyline overall and I am intrigued to see what Gorius Karkum did to earn the Guardians' disdain. I only wish that Bedard had included a few other characters as well. I get that Lobo is popular, but in addition to recruiting him, Dox could easily have called in heavy hitters like Captain Comet or Adam Strange. The more I think about it the more it feels like there was really no reason for Dox to rely so much on Lobo, particularly with so much at stake. I can see why he recruited Lobo, of course, given Pulsar Stargrave's power level. But while Comet and Strange may not be as easily manipulated as Lobo, they would certainly act to defend Colu. Nevertheless, the tension between the Corps and the L.E.G.I.O.N. is always fun to revisit.

It is interesting that Lyrl started out as an antagonist in this arc, but very quickly, and very naturally, fell into working with his father. I cannot recall what role he plays in the final issues of this series, but I am looking forward to seeing if he sticks around to work with his father. As much as he tries to reject his father, he seems to consistently fall back into the subservient position. And they make a good team.

Fortunately, we will see at least a bit more of our cast next issue, including recent inductee Starfire. So please check back next week as we learn the connection between Starfire and Gorius Karkum!

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