Wednesday, December 29, 2021

R.E.B.E.L.S. #26

R.E.B.E.L.S. #26 (May 2011)
title: Starstruck, Part 3
writer: Tony Bedard
penciller: Daniel Horn de Rosa & Claude St. Aubin
inker: Scott Hanna
colors: Tanya Horie; Richard Horie
letters: Travis Lanham
editor: Brian Cunningham
cover: Aaron Lopresti

Recap: Dox asked Blackfire Komand'r to join him for dinner to learn how the Tamaranean refugees were adjusting to their new homeworld. Her report was encouraging and the two hit it off surprisingly well. Dox was returning from their date when his ship came under attack by Starro's agent, Smite, who incapacitated Tribulus. Storm-Daughter abducted Dox and took him before Starro on the newly conquered homeworld of the Psions.

Meanwhile, Lobo was teasing Captain Comet over his feelings for Starfire when he caught the scent of Czarnian pheromones nearby. Believing that he killed every member of his race, he confronted her but the woman turned out to be Starro's agent, Storm-Daughter. She had sprayed herself with pheromones and she easily distracted Lobo with a kiss. It created the opportunity for her to drug him so she could absorb his energy and use it to restore Starro's strength.

Lobo recovered and reported the incident to Adam Strange, who was gathering everyone for a mission to retrieve Dox. Lobo refused to wait for them and charged ahead to find Storm-Daughter because he had her scent. Fortunately, Wildstar could track Lobo, which would help them in locating Dox, but Lyrl was left behind in hope that he could save Tribulus. 

Lobo quickly takes down Storm-Daughter after ensuring that she could not use her Czanian pheromones against him this time. Starro grows concerned when Lobo breaches the surface in search of their base and removes the starfish he had placed on Dox.
On Rann, Sardath has been placed in charge in the absence of his son-in-law, Adam Strange. He is advised that Queen Komand'r just arrived with troops, even though Strange had declined her offer to help recover Dox. She warns Sardath that she needs no permission to help an ally in need, and suggests that they accept her kind offer of assistance or she will become very cross.

Adam Strange is concerned after Sardath abruptly ended their communication and calls his wife to check in. She assures him that everything is okay, but he asks her to keep their daughter home because he has a bad feeling. After their conversation, Alana hears their daughter calling from the garden and goes to check on her.
On Psion, Smite thinks that Dox's taunt has given them their answer and suggests sending the Czarnian clones to battle Lobo. Starro rejects this idea and orders Smite to stop Lobo, explaining that he will not set a single clone free until he has absolute control over them. Smite loses his temper and strikes Starro, calling him a coward for always sending others like Storm-Daughter to fight his battles. He says he will go fight Lobo but that he is not doing it for Starro. Once he leaves, Starro sets off to deal with the planet Rann personally.

Lyrl is performing surgery on Tribulus, who would certainly have died as a result of Smite's attack had he been human. Once he has finished, he leaves the nurses to keep Tribulus stable so he can update Sardath. 
Oh good, more Lobo! Just what I wanted. Okay, I knew Lobo was destined for a prominent role in the final issues of this series given the involvement of his clones. But I was really hoping some of the secondary characters would get attention and that is not happening. At least Dox did not overwhelm the story though, and in fact, he barely played a role at all.

Despite my frustrations over how little we have seen of much of our cast lately, I know I should consider the story we are getting and not the story I wanted. And it is pretty good. Starro is always a reliable villain, even if I miss the traditional starfish form. And Adam Strange is a character I love, and he was originally intended to be part of the original incarnation of L.E.G.I.O.N., although that did not happen. So it is nice to see him as an integral part of this series, and taking charge in Dox's absence.

One unexpected highlight was seeing Smite rebel against Starro. He is one of Starro's elite guard, who Starro refrained from taking complete control of so as not to inhibit his natural abilities. So an independent streak is not entirely unexpected. But he showed real affection towards Storm-Daughter and anger over Starro placing her at risk. During his fight with Lobo, he even mentioned that she was the closest thing he ever had to a friend. This was a far more tender moment than I would have expected from Smite, and the big question is whether she feels the same. Or whether she will even learn of Smite's feelings given that she is unconscious and he is battling Lobo. I do not recall Smite's fate but I am not expecting him to make it through the end of the series. Still, it would be nice to see Storm-Daughter express some affection towards him.

We are down to just two issues left in this series with much to resolve. Starro has conquered Psion and it appears he managed to quickly take over much of Rann off pages in this issue. Strange is headed to Psion to confront him, but Starro is no longer there. Kommand'R's status is unclear but it seems unlikely that she and her people would have fallen under Starro's sway easily. Please check back next week to see her fate and what happens when Strange learns of the events on Rann!

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