You’ll be missed, “R.E.B.E.L.S.” Sure, there’s still one issue left to go, but I suspect anyone who’s read this far will have already guessed the majority of next month’s conclusion. (Of course, we’ve still got to wait until then to see if we’re right.) Saddled with an inelegant name, “R.E.B.E.L.S.” was the little series that could, chugging on for a little over two years with the cards stacked against it, and with a core group of readers who enjoyed it.
This latest issue of “R.E.B.E.L.S.” shows a lot of what was good at the heart of the title; a large sprawling cast, a fun usage of the different space-faring races of the DC Universe, and some huge cosmic wars that could burst into existence at any moment. Like his counterparts Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning over at Marvel, Tony Bedard had a slightly thankless task in trying to sell a superhero space setting in which both companies have recently cancelled series. It’s a shame, because in many ways the possibilities are more limitless than being Earth-bound, but the fans have spoken.
Bedard here is wrapping up the return of Starro, the villain of the first year of “R.E.B.E.L.S.” As the book slightly lost its way when Starro was initially defeated, it was a good way to regroup and figure out once more what made the comic tick, and sure enough with a villain figure, “R.E.B.E.L.S.” had kicked back into high gear. Bedard gets how to write the big space war, and he was doing a good job of slowly drawing back in the entire cast (many of whom had been temporarily neglected). Sure, some characters (Vril Dox, Lobo, Starfire) dominate the title more than others, but it’s fun to see characters like Tribulus and Lyrl Dox getting their own moment in the spotlight. And with just enough humor and drama mixed in, it’s an overall entertaining read. It might not be quite as gripping as the earlier Starro war (which spanned multiple solar systems and threatened to wipe out the galaxy), but considering this one was cut short due to cancellation, Bedard is still giving us a satisfying story.
Having taken over after original penciler Andy Clarke departed, Claude St. Aubin and series inker Scott Hanna (the latter of whom deserves a lot of credit for the smooth transition from Clarke to St. Aubin) turn out attractive, classic superhero art. The characters are rendered crisply and with strong attention to anatomy and movement, and the big dramatic moments (like the return of Tribulus, or Vril Dox’s return) have a good amount of punch to them. Hopefully the duo will end up working on another title soon; they’ve proven themselves worthy of a larger audience.
So this is it, “R.E.B.E.L.S.” You beat the odds on surviving past your first year, but with a new large event (and a handful of related mini-series) around the corner, your number was up. At this point, this is probably preaching to the choir, and it certainly won’t save the title. But if you’re not a reader of “R.E.B.E.L.S.” and are interested? Scour those quarter bins, you’re going to find 28 issues (plus one annual) worth of fun.