Last month’s issue of “R.E.B.E.L.S.” had the kind of moment where you can’t help but laugh at the fun of it all. Vril Dox, member of the Sinestro Corps? Well, as the leader of L.E.G.I.O.N. he certainly did inspire a lot of fear in the hearts of others. And at the same time, if there’s anyone in the DC Universe who absolutely should not have a power ring of any color, it’s probably Vril Dox. So I was looking forward to “R.E.B.E.L.S.” #11 a great deal.
The actual issue, though, was just so-so. So many of the cliffhangers (like the destruction of the group’s ship while still in outer space) seemed a little too easily resolved, and even the idea of Dox using a yellow ring seemed under utilized. In many ways a lot of what we saw last issue was thrown away in exchange for Vril and Lyrl Dox’s new (not good) relationship getting the spotlight. In theory, that should be good; after all, Lyrl Dox taking over L.E.G.I.O.N. was why the last series of “R.E.B.E.L.S.” came into existence, so this father and son relationship is already troubled. Here, though, it just feels a little too pat, too easy.
Then again, the group of characters in this month’s “R.E.B.E.L.S.,” itself, seemed mostly sidelined. Previous issues have shown a good balance of time for all of them, but here they seemed almost shunted off to the sides in favor of a horde of Black Lanterns invading and attacking. Bedard has juggled stories and characters with greater effect before, and I wonder if part of the problem here was due to one of the elements being a story that wasn’t really his. “R.E.B.E.L.S.” wasn’t going to get the chance to solve the “Blackest Night” storyline, after all, so it ends up feeling curiously muted.
Claude St. Aubin is back on pencil duty, this time apparently as a permanent replacement for Andy Clarke. Clarke’s off to the top-selling “Batman and Robin” so I certainly can’t blame him (or DC Comics) for shifting his talents to a book where more people will see him. St. Aubin and inker Scott Hanna do a surprisingly good job of trying to keep that same look-and-feel that Clarke brought to the book; while it’s missing some of the fine detail that Clarke is rapidly becoming known for, the basic character designs are all still there, and St. Aubin and Hanna even mimic some of Clarke’s trademarks like the focusing on hair with the “R.E.B.E.L.S.” cast, or all of the little dots in Wildstar’s wings. As a replacement team for Clarke, they’re a solid choice.
“R.E.B.E.L.S.” is normally a fun book, but this month’s serving seemed a little less intensive. With what appears to be poor sales, I do worry that “R.E.B.E.L.S.” is going away soon. That’d be a pity, because when it hits its notes, it’s a strong little comic that could. Hopefully more people will stick around after “Blackest Night,” but we’ll see.