Wednesday, January 5, 2022

R.E.B.E.L.S. #27

R.E.B.E.L.S. #27 (June 2011)
title: Starstruck, Part 3
writer: Tony Bedard
penciller: 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. After arriving on Psion, Lobo quickly defeated Storm-Daughter and Starro sent Smite to deal with him.

Smite is determined to avenge Storm-Daughter and confronts Lobo on the surface of Psion, while Starro leads an attack on Rann.
Meanwhile, Blackfire tries to lead a defense against Starro's attack, but Starro uses his starfish to quickly conquer much of the population. Dox arrives but he is under the control of a starfish and is soon followed by his master. Blackfire tries to incinerate Starro but her attack fails.
At L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters, Brainiac 3 is struggling to save Tribulus, who was almost killed in an earlier battle with Smite. Starro's attack makes him resort to desperate measures and he deactivates Tribulus' life support.
Lobo and Smite appear evenly matched, and both are oblivious to the Starro-controlled Psions going on about their business around them. Eventually their fight leads them into a bar, where they are both surprised by the image of Psions relaxing with a drink.
Adam Strange arrives above Psion with his L.E.G.I.O.N. force just as he receives a message from Brainiac 3, who alerts him to the dire situation on Rann.

On Rann, Blackfire is becoming overwhelmed by the power of Starro. A possessed Dox is closing in for the kill just as Starfire and the others arrive. They are joined by the powerful Tribulus, who has been fully restored to health by Brainiac 3, and their combined strength overcomes Starro enoigh that everyone on Rann is freed from his control. In the aftermath, Wildstar and Amon lead the search for Lobo.

Well, this was the penultimate issue of this series! It was not necessarily what I wanted, which was a greater focus on many of the secondary characters that we have not seen in a while. But I will try to review it based on the story we got and not the story I wanted. In this regard, it succeeded well.

The storyline had a good follow-up to the Tamaranians settlement on Rann in how Blackfire led the battle against Starro's troops. It also touched on her flirtation with Dox in that her initial involvement last issue was motivated by her concern for his well-being. Smite got a surprising level of character development over the last two issues in how his concern for Storm-Daughter overcame his loyalty Starro, and we got to see a nobler side to him. That was a nice set-up to his surprise bonding moment with Lobo. And while I have always been lukewarm on Lobo's involvement in any of the L.E.G.I.O.N.-related series, I do think Bedard used him to good effect here.

I did expect Adam Strange to take a bit more of a leadership role given how he has stepped up over the last few issues, but its not a big deal since he was distracted by concern over his family and he probably saw the wisdom in Brainiac 3's advice. The events of this issue did move very quickly, but not so much that it felt like the creators were caught off guard and trying to wrap the series up too fast. That was a problem with the conclusion of the prior R.E.B.E.L.S. comic.

We still have one more issue left, and it was easy to forget from this finale that Starro is still out there and needs to be dealt with. So please check back with me next issue as we see if the L.E.G.I.O.N. can finally defeat Starro!

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