10 July 2017

Review: R.E.B.E.L.S.: The Coming of Starro by Tony Bedard, Andy Clarke, Claude St. Aubin, and Scott Hanna

Over the past week, my reviews of Big Finish's final two novel-to-audio Doctor Who adaptations appeared at Unreality SF: Original Sin and Cold Fusion, both featuring the seventh Doctor, Chris, and Roz, and the latter adding in the fifth Doctor, Adric, Nyssa, and Tegan for good measure.

Comic trade paperback, n.pag.
Published 2010 (contents: 2009) 

Acquired April 2010
Previously read June 2010
Reread September 2016
R.E.B.E.L.S.: The Coming of Starro

Writer: Tony Bedard
Artists: Andy Clarke, Claude St. Aubin & Scott Hanna
Colorist: Jose Villarrubia
Letterers: Travis Lanham, Steve Wands

I read this book over six years ago; it would have been, like, my fifth DC universe space comic. Now I'm rereading it in preparation for finally reading the three follow-up volumes, and these days I've read twice that many space trade paperbacks, plus tons of uncollected space comics like The Omega Men, L.E.G.I.O.N., the original R.E.B.E.L.S., and more. I really enjoyed it the first time around, when it was part of my introduction to the larger world of DC space; I still really enjoyed it now that it I'm familiar with that larger world. There's even a tie-in to Tony Bedard's run on Legion of Super-Heroes, which I coincidentally read shortly before this reread, so I got more out of that this time, too.*

The only thing better than one Brainiac is two Brainiacs. Later in the series, they'll get up to three Brainiacs at once; sadly, they never bring in all four at once. (Or five? Who is Brainiac 4, anyway?)
from R.E.B.E.L.S. #2 (art by Andy Clarke)

Obviously this follows up on the events of L.E.G.I.O.N. and R.E.B.E.L.S. from the 1980s and '90s, as well as more recent space series. Adam Strange: Planet Heist and Omega Men showed that Vril Dox had reassumed command of a computer-controlled L.E.G.I.O.N.; now that computer has been taken over by Starro, L.E.G.I.O.N. robots are turning on their client worlds, and Vril Dox is on the run and has to build a team to reassert control over L.E.G.I.O.N. and defeat Starro. So far, the team includes old L.E.G.I.O.N. favorites Strata and Amon Hakk, plus some new characters too. Bedard has Vril Dox's voice pegged perfectly: he is the superintelligent master manipulator of old, even when he's on the run.

I miss Strata, but I also miss when Strata wasn't so whiny (i.e., when Strata wasn't yet married).
from R.E.B.E.L.S. #3 (art by Andy Clarke)

The art is great, too: both art teams have realistic styles that provide details facial expressions, which is good for adding to the character in a team-based book like this. The book moves quickly, operates on a great cosmic scale (we see Maltus, the Dominators, Earth, Cairn, and the Vega system), and has some fun action-- this is everything a space-based superhero comic should be, if you ask me.

The only thing that makes a jerk worse is the jerk being right.
from R.E.B.E.L.S. #6 (art by Claude St. Aubin & Scott Hanna)

* Brainac 5 suggests his ancestor recruit a team based on the 31st-century Legion of Super-Heroes in order to take back L.E.G.I.O.N. Weirdly, this causes Vril Dox to recruit a new team member patterned on Dawnstar... who never appeared in the threeboot Legion that Brainiac 5 hails from!

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