24 July 2017

Review: R.E.B.E.L.S.: The Son and the Stars by Tony Bedard, Claude St. Aubin, Andy Clarke, Scott Hanna, et al.

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

Acquired August 2012
Read September 2016
R.E.B.E.L.S.: The Son and the Stars

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

R.E.B.E.L.S. is back on form with its third volume. Bedard is great at action, great at keeping the story moving, and great at weaving in old continuity without being distracting. In this volume, the series is affected by the DC crossover Blackest Night, but it's not a distraction: the massive outbreak of space zombies forces both Vril Dox and his enemy Starro the Conqueror to reformulate their plans. Plus, it allows for some tie-ins to the original L.E.G.I.O.N. run, as long-serving L.E.G.I.O.N.naire Stealth, mother of Vril Dox's child, is now dead and thus a Black Lantern. Before you know it, Lyrl Dox has a Starro spore... and Vril Dox has become a Yellow Lantern? I never knew I wanted that until I got it.

Sinestro has got nothing on Vril Dox when it comes to being an asshole.
from R.E.B.E.L.S. #11 (art by Claude St. Aubin & Scott Hanna)

This is a little more action-driven than previous R.E.B.E.L.S. installments, but Bedard and his artistic collaborators keep the action interesting by varying it, and by keeping a lot of focus on characters and their relationships: Dox and his son, Dox and Stealth, and so on. It's nice that some DC space heroes left "homeless" by the cancellation of Jim Starlin's space stories (Captain Comet and Adam Strange) have a home here now, but it does mean the R.E.B.E.L.S. team is getting a bit crowded, and indeed, Bedard seems to realize this, as Strata and Garv depart in this volume, but still, Ciji the Durlan and Strata's friend Bounder still feel very underdeveloped: what motivates them? Still, this is the big action finale, not exactly the spot for character ruminations, and it's good at what it does, and the end promises a new set-up going forward.

Using first-person narration in the action-heavy issues is a good tactic, too.
from R.E.B.E.L.S. #14 (art by Claude St. Aubin & Scott Hanna)

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