Monday, June 15, 2009

Review: R.E.B.E.L.S. #5

I continue to giddily enjoy R.E.B.E.L.S. and this storyline continues to steamroll forward in R.E.B.E.L.S. #5. Tony Bedard continues to move all the outer rim DC galactic powers around the chess board as Starro continues to absorb more and more forces. And Claude St. Aubin's art continues to be smooth and detailed.

Right now the plot is unfolding on 2 fronts. One, Dox and his R.E.B.E.L.S. over Maltus being attacked by both a Durlan mercenary crew and the Starros below. The other front is the Dominator home world where the 'Starro wave' is attempting to dominate the Dominators.

It all seems to be moving to some explosive ending. But the ride getting there has been a lot of fun.

It turns out that while Getorix and Amon Hakk are bounty hunters hoping to capture Dox for a buck, Captain Ciji is not. In fact, she hopes to capture Dox and get him to work for the Durlans. Whoever bested Dox has to be a serious threat and the Durlans are frightened. Add to that the wannabes - the Spider Guild and Citadelians - and Dox is needed for Durlan defense.

I love the character of Dox. He is someone that seems universally hated by people and yet utterly respected. The Durlans don't like outsiders much and yet here they are knocking on Brainiac's door looking for some help.

And they aren't the only ones. Turns out Starro also wants Dox to work for him. Everyone loves that 12th level intelligence I guess. It is a powerful weapon.

Astrild Storm-Daughter, the Czarian-like Starro woman from last issue, offers Dox the chance to work for the would-be conqueror.

In fact, she divulges that Dox would have some limited free will. Unlike the drones that most Starro captives become, some (like her) have some more leeway to their actions. Some spontaneity. He would be a vanguard.

I think this is a nice touch to the Starro threat. There is a class system even in Starro's slaves. Of course it makes sense. An order like 'defeat Silica' has to leave room for slight deviations ... initiative. My guess is only the most powerful but most controllable slaves get this perk.

Still, the bottom line is that both the Durlans and now Starro feel that Dox is such a presence that they want him working for them. Rather than kill him, they want him on the payroll. There can be no higher respect.

Ciji realizes that her prize is in danger both from Storm-daughter and Hakk (who has slipped away to try to cash in on Dox bounty). She asks Getorix to slow down the Starro acolyte while she boards Dox ship.

I thought this was a very good panel. Getorix blasts her point blank with starship cannons. Somehow she shrugs it off. I love how the Starro drone is nearly blasted off her but keeps a grip via a penetrating limb in the lower spine. It was both humorous and chilling.

The laser fire only enrages her as she tears through the ship, killing the Khundian force Ciji had with her.

In the meantime, Dox figures that a retreat is in order. He tells Wildstar to leave the ship and find Silica's remains and bring the computer back to the ship no matter where it has run off to.

Surprisingly, Wildstar's first instinct is to defend Dox in combat, to fight Storm-daughter. I am intrigued by this level of devotion from her in Dox; it has happened so quickly. Her life in Star Haven must have been particularly hellish if she has accepted her new lack of body and dedicated herself to protecting Brainiac this quickly. And, of course, Dox is that master manipulator.

She flies to the planet and scoops up Silica's remains.

I know it isn't crucial to the story but I love this panel. It was too good not to post.

It just smacks of the face-huggers in Alien. Since Wildstar has no face ... no organic interface ... with the starfish, it cannot effect her. She simply blasts it away.

In the meantime, Storm-daughter continues annihilating the Durlan ship. Alas poor Getorix, we barely knew you. This might be one of those times where the limited free will granted to his vanguards hampers Starro. Had Storm-daughter taken control of Getorix, she may have learned some valuable information. But she is too enraged and decides to vaporize him instead.

Stormdaughter looks formidable. She seems invulnerable; she has super strength, eyebeams, and a mean streak. I am telling you ... when she gets freed from Starro she will become the 'Lobo' for the new team.

Getorix's distraction has worked though. While Stormdaughter rips apart the ship and its crew, Dox hightails it out of there at light speed. The hope is that Wildstar can use her tracking skills and speed to catch up.

Dox isn't exactly safe though. Both Ciji and Amon Hakk are on the ship somewhere.

In the meantime, the Dominator army is holding their own against the Starro fleet until this 'Frazetta Death Dealer' warrior lands and leads the Starro troops.

Turns out that is *THE* Starro and he looks like one mean bastard.

The Psions inform the Omega Men that it will be their job to assassinate Starro.

I think the best thing I can say about this comic is that it is true pleasure to read. For one, as a Legion fan, I love how LSH lore is being re-written or re-imagined in current times. I also like how these other space races like the Psions, Spider Guilds, Citadelians are all being included in this grand scale story. These races that I know mostly from LSH and the 80s Teen Titans are all involved here but all with their own agenda. And then you add on top of that the great character of Vril Dox. It is just an absolute fun comic to read ... a guilty pleasure ... a giddy romp through DC's cosmic characters.

Overall grade: A


jeff Caporizzo said...

anything with Starro is bound to be f'ed up, and this is no exception - I love it

TalOs said...

Man Tony knocks it out the park again come this latest issue! BD