Thursday, December 28, 2017

"The End" Week: R.E.B.E.L.S. '96 #17 and R.E.B.E.L.S. #28!

Spoiler alert, guys: sometimes I buy a last issue--or two!--just for this feature. From 1996 (duh) R.E.B.E.L.S. '96 #17, "Deliverance" Written by Tennessee Peyer, pencils by Derec Aucoin, inks by Phyllis Novin; and from 2011, R.E.B.E.L.S. #28, "Starstruck, conclusion" Written by Tony Bedard, pencils by Claude St. Aubin, inks by Robert Campanella.

R.E.B.E.L.S. was a spin-off from L.E.G.I.O.N., which was itself a spin-off: it was launched out of the Invasion mini-series and was also a prequel to the Legion of Super-Heroes. The Legion was set in the 30th century, while the L.E.G.I.O.N. was set in the present: it began as L.E.G.I.O.N '89, and ticked up every year until its cancellation with L.E.G.I.O.N. '94 #70. During the Zero Hour crossover, it was relaunched as R.E.B.E.L.S '94, although it was perhaps an acronym for nothing. (Or, per DC's wikia, "Revolutionary Elite Brigade to Eradicate L.E.G.I.O.N. Supremacy.") In-story, the the L.E.G.I.O.N. was an interplanetary police force for hire, created (mostly) by Vril Dox, who is perhaps better known as Brainiac 2. He was the son of the Superman villain Brainiac, and the ancestor of the LOSH's Brainiac 5: Vril was probably closer to lawful neutral, and could be a bit manipulative. And so was his son, Lyrl Dox, the bad guy of the first R.E.B.E.L.S. series, who mind-controlled the L.E.G.I.O.N. and was on the verge of taking the whole galaxy, while still a baby! Vril manages to derail his son's plans here, seemingly reducing Lyrl to a normal infant. Maybe.

Maybe not, since Lyrl appears in the next R.E.B.E.L.S. last issue, seemingly at least teenaged; as this time the team is rebelling against the control of Starro. (Which, along with the usual starfish-facehuggers, had some kind of prime host here.) Along with traditional members Captain Comet and Lobo, this team had Adam Strange, Starfire and her (mostly) evil sister Blackfire, and a Validus precursor of some sort, Tribulus. The latter's mental lightning is used to destroy the Starro-spore on Vril, who then uses Tribulus to punch the prime Starro through a portal so Lobo can beat it, presumably to death. Now freed, the planets Rann and Tameran enter a mutual defense pact, with Vril serving as Blackfire's "consort." Lyrl disappears, as the L.E.G.I.O.N. prepares to deal with a crisis on Oa; but this was the last issue before Flashpoint and the New 52 relaunch; and I don't think the L.E.G.I.O.N. or R.E.B.E.L.S. teams have appeared since, although they may have been mentioned in passing.

I'm not sure any incarnation of the group was a huge seller, but that's a fair run: DC (and Marvel, for that matter) don't seem to support this kind of mid-tier book anymore.

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