Greetings and Salutations to all as we go into our final contender in our Cosmic Adventure Triple Threat match. This is Comic Book Clash and we will see another battle. First it was Invincible, then it was the New Warriors and finally, we end our cosmic romp with a look into DC's R.E.B.E.L.S.
TRIPLE THREAT MATCH:
Issues #15 -17
Story (arc) name: What Happens In Vega . . .
Written by Tony Bedard with art by Claude St. Aubin & Sergio Ari~no
TALE OF THE TAPE
The R.E.B.E.L.S. is the second go around for a group called L.E.G.I.O.N., which is the present days answers to the Legion of Super Heroes, but it is VERY different from the LSH. R.E.B.E.L.S. or L.E.G.I.O.N., they are acronyms but I am not getting into their meaning, are a security agency that protects planets and star systems . . . for a price. Lead by Vril Dox, known to many as Brainiac 2, a direct ancestor to LSH's Brainiac 5, he and his team goes out into the universe, gaining client worlds that want L.E.G.I.O.N.s protection. And that is what happened for years till his son, Lyrl Dox, took over the L.E.G.I.O.N. with Lydea Mallor, daughter to one of L.E.G.I.O.N's founding members Lyrissa Mallor and ancestor to Tasmia Mallor, aka Shadow Lass of the LSH. Yes. You do need a score card for everyone's relation when it comes to these groups. Dox, Stealth and the Alpha members of L.E.G.I.O.N. became R.E.B.E.L.S and took down Lyrl Dox; now mind you, Lyrl was just a toddler at this point.
Fast forward to the present. Vril Dox had returned to full control of the L.E.G.I.O.N, firing ALL his staff and replaced them with machines. Yes . . . Vril Dox is a bastard. Get used to that statement. All was well for those planets under L.E.G.I.O.N.s protection .. . till the robots got hacked into by Starro the Conqueror . . . Yes . . . the STARRO the Conqueror with a nice reboot. Dox was once again an outlaw and decided he need to get L.E.G.I.O.N. back. Brainiac 5, from the less than enjoyed Mark Waid reboot, appeared to Vril Dox and gave him an outline to reform L.E.G.I.O.N. along the lines of the Legion of Super Heroes. Yet, Vril Dox, being the jerk that he is, decides that he will use the outline his own way and not the way mapped out by his descendent. Doing so, Vril reformed a core Alpha team and retook control of L.E.G.I.O.N, hiring all sorts of aliens as his soldiers and creating a new team with: Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Amon Hakk (was a member of the L.E.G.I.O.N. during its original run), the Durlan known as Ciji, an abandoned Dominator known as Xylon, the monsterous Tribulus (who is based on an enemy of the LSH), Wildstar ( a being that can be best summed up as a fuse of popular LSH members Wildfire and Dawnstar) and Boulder, who is a friend of L.E.G.I.O.N. founding member Strata, who are both rock people. The liberation of planets conquered by Starro lead to the L.E.G.I.O.N's resurgence. And now . . .
On the planet Maltus, the team is dealing with the aftermath of their final battle with Starro. Dox mentions how are the people of these worlds cheering Despero for holding a public execution of Starro while he's vehemently hated . . . by just about everyone on Maltus. And to prove that, just outside the building they are staying is a large riot with anti Dox signs up. Amon reminds Dox that Maltus was the FIRST world that felt Starro's wraith when he used Dox's robots to attack the Vega system. Then a laser blasts stop their argument. The team quickly looks for an attacker as Captain Comet finds the culprit after some coaxing from Dox. Captain Comet uses his telekinesis to disarm the assassin, a citizen of Dox. Dox had planned for make the new L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters there but Adam Strange said that Maltus would not work for a base planet after the assassin assures the team that he is only one of millions who want to kill Vril Dox. Yet, Adam Strange states that he has a place in mind for the new L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters.
Meanwhile, a ship was working its way into the Vega System when they were suddenly boarded by Tamaranean Pirates. For those of you who don't know, Tamaranean are the race of beings that Teen Titan alumni Starfire is a part of. And funny thing, after the pirates start searching the ship, they find Starfire. Starfire quickly downs the pirates, stating how easy it was but only signals how bad Vega has become since her last visit. The pirates give no more resistance as they recognize their princess. Starfire orders the people on the ship she was traveling on to lock up the pirates and go to the nearest law enforcement group. She then flies out on her own to her destination.
On Rann, Dox, Adam Strange and Strange's father-in-law, Sardath love over the now deserted and near dead planet that was decimated by a space god some time ago. Dox being Dox mocks how Sardath, the inventor of the Zeta Beam teleportation technology lacked imagination. As Sardath wants to leave, Adam informs him that Dox has a plant to bring Rann back to life. Sardath says it is impossible when Dox merely smirks and answers that Rann can live again . . . just not where it is and asks Sardath to build the biggest Zeta Beam that he could make.
Over on Despero's planet Kalanor, Starro, who now has a humanoid form goes on about this is not happening over and over again. Why is he repeating that? Cause the galactic tyrant is about to be executed on live television by Despero himself. Yes . . . One Justice League villain is about to get killed by another. Yay! Despero's people cheer him on when a female who kinda looks like Lobo and a warrior alien known as Smite, Starro's 2 top generals , free him before Despero can bring down a large axe on him. The three escape Kalanor with Despero vowing that he will kill them all.
Starfire travels alone through the stars, lamenting that fact that Dick Grayson is no longer in love with her and she feels she no longer has a home. The pain of that is amplified as she goes to where her homeplanet, Tamaran, once stood; now nothing but small debris of the once majestic planet. As she cries, she is suddenly engulfed by light. As the light dies down, another planet now stands in front of her with her merely saying:
Tamaran .. .?
Planetside, we find Ciji in some kind of giant insect crab form as she puts in a machine onto the ground. She tells robots and workers to move on to get the next unit up only to get blasted from behind by Starfire. Starfire is angry, stating what have they done to her planet and what is with the Terraforming technology. Starfire plans to stop them when she is shot down by Wildstar. After a brief tussel between the L.E.G.I.O.N. members and herself, Starfire is welcomed by her old friend, Adam Strange. Adam Strange tells the L.E.G.I.O.N. to stand down. Adam takes Starfire to see Vril Dox who welcomes her pleasantly. Starfire has none of that. knowing of his reputation. Dox explains that he the destruction of Tamaran left the Vega System unstable and that planets would soon collide if he did not do something. He also explains the recent events that left Rann a lifeless world with its people becoming refugees. Starfire apologizes and feels empathy to Adam Strange and his wife. Dox then explains that he decided to deal with both problems at once. The equipment would terraform Rann and help it restore itself in a new system while Rann taking Tamaran's old orbit would stabilize the Vega System. For this, the Rannians have agreed to let L.E.G.I.O.N. host its new headquarters on Rann once the terraforming is finished.
5 weeks past and Rann has been revitalized. Rann refugees from all over have started to come back to the planet, now in the Vega System. Yet, Starfire's sister, Blackfire, catches hold of this news and is completely angered by it. She leads the majority of the survivors of Tamaran and its armies. She decides to use the refugees return to enter undetected to the planet; vowing that she would kill Dox. The Psion view this development. So do the Guardians who state that the Green Lantern from Rann wants to transfer to its new sector. Yet they deny the transfer, staying letting the new Lanterns of Vega to handle the situation.
Dox meets with the team, concerned that the public sees him mostly as the son of Brainiac. We go through a quick history lesson about Dox and the L.E.G.I.O.N with Dox stating he wants to change that perception of him and the team. Captain Comet points out that if he had not let murders like Lobo join the team, he'd have more creditability as a man of peace. Dox says anyone can leave whenever but if they stay that they will be part of the greatest law enforcement movement in history. He corrected the mistake of having robots by having sentient beings be his army while new and old planets are signing up with the L.E.G.I.O.N. and that they bringing law into the Vega System will catapult them with the rest of the universe. Comet then reminds him that dropping Rann where Tamaran used to be will cause all sorts of conflicts and to be ready for the consequences. Dox waves off Comets words and leaves for a meeting he stated he needed to go to.
The two New Green Lanterns of the Vega System, a Warlord of Okaara named Altin Ao'ms and a female Psion named Gorius Karkum fly after some pirates. Just as they were about to catch them, L.E.G.I.O.N. patrols decend on the pirates and arrest them . . . after shooting Altin. Altin is about to pick a fight with L.E.G.I.O.N. when Gorius stops him, reporting the incident to their superiors. Lantern Salaak calls Dox over coms and pretty much yells at him for his patrols nearly killing Altin. Salaak goes on about Altin being a favorite son of Okaara but Dox simply tells him to kiss off. Adam asks if antagonizing the Green Lanterns is a good idea and Dox states they are not even a problem as far as he is concerned.
Adam talks to his wife about Dox as she looks to him for reassurance, only to get interrupted by knocking from Captain Comet. Comet tells Adam that he's living, thinking that L.E.G.I.O.N. is a disaster waiting to happen under Dox's control. Before Adam and he can talk further, Starfire passes them. She has a Legion symbol where her ruby used to be, stating she is now an official member and wants to help clean up the Vega System. Adam is about to tell Starfire about Comet quickly when Comet quickly passes the bag he was holding to Adam. Comet and Starfire begin to chat and walk off with Adam and his wife watching. The two continue their conversation as Starfire asks about Comet's powers. Comet admits he has picked up that Starfire left because of a guy when a big explosion stops their conversation. Blackfire's armies and ships attack Rann around L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters. Comet and Starfire find her sister and Starfire takes her into the air, stating she heard Blackfire had lost her powers. Blackfire first mocks Starfire's sanity for wearing the L.E.G.I.O.N. symbol then attacks her with her powers.
R.E.B.E.L.S. #17 opens with a brief history of Blackfire, including how she lost her powers and how she forced the Psion's to give them back to her. We go back to Starfire and Blackfire facing off . . . with Blackfire having a slightly different hair style. Hmm . . .
Captain Comet figures that Starfire could get the Tamaranean troops to stop fighting and uses his telekinesis to hold Blackfire. Adam shows up and orders the Rannians to face off against the Tamaraneans; pointing out to keeping casualities down due to bad leadership.Adam calls Dox, telling him what is going on. Dox blows him off, stating he is in the middle of negotiations in the Polaris system and can't be disturbed; telling Adam to take care of it. Adam takes charge of L.E.G.I.O.N. Blackfire throws Starfire at Captain Comet, stating how dare she side against her own people. Starfire yells back that she has no right to say anything after helping the Citadel conquer Tamaran years ago. Blackfire goes nuts and has her people ready to fire at the Rannians and L.E.G.I.O.N. Yet, the new Green Lanterns hold back the warriors and drop their weapons but the Tamaraneans and the Rannians resist the Green Lanterns, asking them why are they even here. As both species fight against the Green Lanterns, Blackfire goes to Adam Strange and asks about the Zeta Beam. The two leaders and the Green Lanterns teleport away from the planet where Blackfire states that their issues are private and no one asked for Green Lantern intervention. Gorius snaps that their interference was brought on by L.E.G.I.O.N. but Adam says he has Rann's best interest at heart. Blackfire states she will stand down after hearing Adam only to see Thanagarian warbirds fly in to the Vega System. The four are invited into one of the Thanagarian ships and see Dox there, who states he was brokering a peace. With Rann in the Vega System and everyone in the Thanagar/Rann War dead or imprisoned, the hostilies between Thanagar and Rann are pointless and let peace rain. Dox had the Thanagarians send out troops that stopped the battle back on Rann. Blackfire dives, grabbing Dox's neck in rage. She demands everyone to back off or she will blow Dox's head off but Dox smiles and says that killing him will give up a chance for her people to have a home. Blackfire eases up as Dox reveals that he feels that the Rannians will broker a peace with them with the southern continent of Rann empty; giving the Tamaraneans a new home.
They broker a peace with Starfire commenting to Comet that she hates people pretending to be friends when they hate each other but Comet merely answers " Welcome to politics." Altin and Gorius report about the peace and Salaak throws a fit then orders them to keep an eye on Dox. Our story ends with a ball with spikes know as Pulsar Stargrave coming through a portal and meeting up with Lyrl Dox; who recruits him to help break out his grandfather . . . to suck his brain.
Okay. I am gonna make this short and sweet. Claude St. Aubin and Sergio Ari~no do a great job with the pencils, Ari~no only doing #17. St. Aubin does good with with bring good amount of facial expressions and emotions on the page as well as deal with the diverse characters that R.E.B.E.L.S. have. St. Aubin's first picture of Starfire should be a poster cause it displays how pissed she is while still be sexy at the same time. Yet, there seems to be a bit of laziness at times when dealing with people and perspective. It is not much but there just feels as if with some of the faces of the aliens in 15 were fine when they were far away and other times as if he just put two dots and a couple of lines. Overall though, his word is pleasing to the eyes and very well suited for all the kinds of aliens we see. Ari~no has the same problem at times and there seems to be a proportion issue with him when it comes to faces and head length. Sometimes the heads are perfect and other times we see the same character and they looks slightly off. Yet, this is very little. Honestly, I barely noticed a change in art . . . with Blackfire's hair in #17 being the biggest indicator.
The inking and coloring for the issues were fantastic. Honestly, this had some of the best inking I have ever since. Scott Hanna did a great job really energizing St. Aubin and Ari~no's pencils. There are some really wonderful shades and shadows that help define a character's look and/or emotion throughout all 3 parts of the storyline. And Jose Villarrubia's colors really help give this space book a really fleshed out the book to make it seem unearthly. They both made an excellent tandem.
Tony Bedard does a great job of juggling a large cast of characters, storylines, locations and emotions in R.E.B.E.L.S. The writer gives a great overview of the history of the group while building a new foundation for this current group with this storyline. When the original L.E.G.I.O.N. book debuted back in 1989, the actual formation of the L.E.G.I.O.N. as a full fledge operation took nearly the entire first year. Bedard did a great job taking over a year to deal with the full formation while creating a reputable threat out of Starro the Conqueror. During this storyline, he gave the L.E.G.I.O.N. a new home, brought several alien species to piece, gained a powerful new member with Starfire, gave not 1 but 2 species a new home and saved an entire galaxy from collapse in 3 issues. And it was not a rushed three issue but a very good, solid pace of storytelling. Every character is distinct in their own way, whether they are a main or supporting or even a villain. Everyone is multi-layered and Bedard does this so very, very well with this story. Honestly, if someone was just jumping into the book, they would not feel too disjointed as this would be an excellent jump on point. Quality writing from Tony Bedard that I wish would get more recognizable but alas . . .R.E.B.E.L.S final issue is this month so . . . damn.
Overall, R.E.B.E.L.S is full of a wonderous cornucopia of multilayered characters, deep and stretching plots and wonderous backgrounds that really let you feel the cosmic in the air. Yet, the art hurt it slightly but still very good work which help breathed Bedard's script to live.
So R.E.B.E.L.S earned itself an Intercontinental Contendership slot. Thus, the Winner of the Triple Threat Match is none other than Robert Kirkman's Invincible. Oh wow.
Well, if you agree or disagree and want to vote on either R.E.B.E.L.S. or New Warriors as the winner, feel free to post your vote on the bottom.
Finally, I want to wish everyone a good Memorial Day and remember all those people who past away and fought for us, big or small. See you all Next week.