Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Review: R.E.B.E.L.S. #4

R.E.B.E.L.S #4 came out last week and was another fun and fast-paced issue. Hopefully a quote from 'Aint It Cool News' and an Ed Benes cover will bring in some new readers.

The 'stars' of the book, Brainiac 2 and his newly formed group of rebels, surprisingly only appear in 5 pages of the issue. But this is a intergalactic book. There are a lot of players in this storyline and it all seems to be coming to a head. But I am getting ahead of myself.

The issue starts on Earth of all places where bounty hunters Amon Hakk, Getorix, and the red alien telepath are being held in a prison in Antarctica. Before they can face trial here, they are turned over to another group of aliens.

It is a humorous scene as a huge space warship looms over the prison. They are given over to this young girl under the 'hand em over or be vaporized' treaty. Hakk, a Khund warrior, scoffs at being handed over to a child.

Well it turns out that child isn't just a child. Nope ... Captain Ciji is a Durlan and uses her shapeshifting abilities to calmly murder the group's telepathic colleague. It is done in such a crude and quick fashion that you sense that Ciji is really an awful individual wrapped up in the sheep's clothing of a young girl; it is a frightening combination.

Ciji demands that Getorix track down Tribulus which will of course lead them to Dox as well.

My sense is Ciji's motives are more than just the bounty on Brainiac's head but we'll need to wait and see.

In the meantime, Dox is on Cairn still trying to convince Strata to join him in his quest to regain control of L.E.G.I.O.N.

It is tough to get a read on Dox because he is so self-serving. He will do or say most anything to get what he wants. He tries his best to explain the Legion programming from Brainiac 5. He plays on Strata's sense of pride ... of not wanting the name of L.E.G.I.O.N. to be corrupted by someone. He leans on her sense of justice ... wanting to free the planets L.E.G.I.O.N. has taken over. He even says please!

While I would buy these sentiments from most anyone else, I can't trust Brainiac to be doing all this out of his sense of fair play and rightness. Of course that distrust is a double edged sword. He might be speaking from the heart here!

We learned that the villain behind this whole L.E.G.I.O.N. turmoil was in fact Starro, including the woman on the cover of this month's issue. But we also have seen over on the DC blog The Source ( ) that Starro has been redesigned by JG Jones and Bedard to this more 'Frazetta Death Dealer' like being. So it is only a matter of time before this warrior shows up.

In the meantime though, the Omega Men are facing off against this Starro puppet. She says the usual thing that folks assumed into a hive mind say: there is no war, famine, disease .. only peace.

I think the Body Snatchers, the Borg, the drones from Zzzazala all have said the same.

The Omega Men aren't hearing it. The vaporize the spores she shoots to enslave them. And Broot attacks her with a vicious right cross. Amazingly, the Starro-woman doesn't budge. She looks almost bored by the attack, arms folded behind her back.

Hmmm ... did anyone else think she looked a little Czarian in appearance? And Lobo was part of the L.E.G.I.O.N. book.
Despite her shrugging off their attack, the Omega Men are able to escape the building albeit followed by a horde of Starro slaves. The whole planet Maltus appears to be under the telepathic starfish's sway.

We cut to the another big player in the intergalactic power schema ... the Dominators. They have discovered a manmade wormhole near Dominion space. The Emperor and his cabinet begin eliminating groups as being responible. The Khunds aren't smart enough. It is too obvious for Durlans. It is too subtle for Okaarans.

When those choices are eliminated, the wormhole must have been created by whoever took over Maltus. And the Dominators still don't know it is Starro.

I love how the Emperor fears Dox saying whoever was able to beat Brainiac is a threat to the Dominion empire. Talk about respect!

But the wormhole means that Starro is able to easily invade Dominator space. The Dominators have come close to taking over the universe on their own. If you they get absorbed and added to Starro's forces, Starro might be unstoppable.

Brainiac's ship arrives in orbit above Maltus just in time to receive a distress call from the Omega Men revealing the Starro threat.

This scene is Brainiac at his Dox-est. Without a second's hesitation he closes the communications leaving the Omega Men to their fate. It is simple math for Brainiac. There is no way their small group can save the Omegans from Starro, to try would be suicide. Better to run.

Strata isn't as coldly calculating. She realizes that running from Maltus is signing a death warrant for their friends. The two begin to argue about what to do next. My guess is they will often be at odds.

Before they can decide on a course of action, the ship is attacked by Captain Ciji's ship. The space surrounding Maltus is stuffed with the bigger threat of a Starro invasion force. Despite this threat to the entire sector, Ciji is singleminded in his pursuit of Dox. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees!

Luckily the Omega Men are rescued but by an unlikely group of saviors, the Psions. Unlike Ciji, the Psions can see the big picture. They need every able bodied person to help fight off the armies of Starro.

And man, it is an armada! Here is a shot of the Starro forces pouring out of that Dominion wormhole. That's a lot of warriors!

I have said it about the prior three issues and I'll say it again. I am liking this title more than I thought I would. Tony Bedard is juggling multiple comic continuities and galactic politics but seems to have a grasp of them all. And this is such a far-reaching comic with a section of the universe at stake! What happens here won't effect Earth now ... but it could eventually.

Despite not seeing Brainiac (the most fascinating character in the book) and the R.E.B.E.L.S. for most of the issue, it flowed well enough that I did not feel cheated. In fact this read more like an Omega Men book and I don't care for any of those guys.

The art by Claude St. Aubin had the same micro-detailing of the Andy Clarke issues which preceded this issue giving the book a consistent flavor.

Lastly, I know some friends have commented on how this storyline seems to be copying some of the beats from the Marvel cosmic books such as Annihilation. I don't read those books so really can't say one way or the other. What I will say is that this opening arc seems to be building towards an explosive 'space battle' showdown.
Overall grade: B+


Anonymous said...

Hopefully a quote from 'Aint It Cool News' and an Ed Benes cover will bring in some new writers.Okay, I still have Bedard on notice for flubbing some basic tech concepts early in the series, but even I think that's a bit harsh.



Beam77 said...

I think you mean readers not writers.

Heath Edwards said...

fun review, anj :)... yeah 'readers', not 'writers'?...
this has been a fun ride, so far, and though you mention marvel's 'annihilation', i don't know that there's too many ways to do a galactic threat without invasions from other sectors... of course there'll be similarities, characters getting into positions, and overwhelming forces. par for the course...
i've quite enjoyed the last years' use of the omega men, and maybe its because i've only known their 21st century stories, but i do like them popping up...

Anj said...

Hopefully a quote from 'Aint It Cool News' and an Ed Benes cover will bring in some new writers.Okay, I still have Bedard on notice for flubbing some basic tech concepts early in the series, but even I think that's a bit harsh..

Eeek .... spellcheck doesn't show wrong words.


It has been changed.

Hee hee, thanks for the post.

TalOs said...

Y'know, regardless of Supergirl not being featured in this title anymore I'm still can't help but be pulled in to the story unfolding which just proves how good Tony is as a writer.

Anj said...

Y'know, regardless of Supergirl not being featured in this title anymore I'm still can't help but be pulled in to the story .

Thanks for the post.

I have really liked the title. I suppose if I am reviewing REBELS, I should be reviewing Power Girl.

Time permitting, I'll review PG #2.