“R.E.B.E.L.S.” is one of those books that I’ve resigned myself to the fact that no one is reading, even though it’s exactly what they’re asking for. Tony Bedard’s scripts are full of action and entertainment, have clever twists that make sense, and use previous comic history in a way that doesn’t require you to have known it beforehand. In other words, it’s accessible to new readers, rich with past story detail for older readers, and has the kind of adventure wanted by both groups.
So why is no one reading this book? I think it’s because of the title. “R.E.B.E.L.S.” is hardly an alluring title, one that was originally used back in the early ’90s as a spin-off from “L.E.G.I.O.N.” In the case of the original “R.E.B.E.L.S.” it was a book that ended once they stopped fighting against the usurped L.E.G.I.O.N., but in this case Vril Dox and company are no longer the rebels but still are burdened with the unsightly title.
It’s too bad because Bedard’s built up a nice cast of characters, one that he doesn’t feel constrained to shoehorn into every issue. So while earlier issues dealt with characters like Captain Comet, Starfire, and Wildstar, this issue focuses on the three Brainiacs plus our special guest star Lobo. Considering Lobo’s rapid rise to popularity began with Keith Giffen and Alan Grant bringing him back in the pages of “L.E.G.I.O.N.” back in the day, his appearance here makes sense. It’s also one of the more entertaining Lobo appearances I’ve seen in a while (much better than his recent mini-series) and Bedard clearly gets the character and what makes him fun instead of annoying. And as for Lobo’s new “bling,” well, it not only makes sense but I’m dying to see just what Bedard does with it next.
Claude St. Aubin and Scott Hanna continue to put out some beautiful, clean art that matches the style that Andy Clarke had brought to the book’s early issues. It’s another reason I’m surprised more people haven’t jumped on board; with its crisp figures and beautiful fine lines, it’s classic comic book storytelling drawn in a way that should appeal to the fans of artists like Kevin Maguire. St. Aubin and Hanna should always work together in the future; it’s one of those perfect matches of penciler and inker.
“R.E.B.E.L.S.” continues to be a fun book that I suspect if you read, you’d enjoy too. It’s not too late to give it a try; Bedard makes sure to explain what’s going on at any given moment and not leave new readers in the dark. Can’t you give it a shot for me? Please?