“R.E.B.E.L.S.” #6 is the conclusion of the title’s first storyline, and I hate to say that all I can think is, “I wish this book was marketed a bit better.” A better name for the book certainly would have been a start. “R.E.B.E.L.S.” is a clunky artifact of a bygone era back when “L.E.G.I.O.N.” was still a more bankable title. “R.E.B.E.L.S.” doesn’t give the idea of the larger scope of the book, and just how much fun Tony Bedard’s having with it.
Aside from stories involving Adam Strange, there doesn’t seem to be many people interested in telling stories set off of Earth in the DC Universe. It’s too bad because Bedard is showing just how much fun there is to be had. Dominators, Khunds, Durlans, the Gil’Dishpan, Coluans, Starro… it’s all just the tip of the iceberg here, with Bedard trying to show off all of these different races and groups interacting and being affected by the fall of L.E.G.I.O.N. and the rise of Starro the Conqueror.
The star of the book is clearly Vril Dox, who continues to be the entertaining brilliant jerk under Bedard’s pen. It’s hard to write a character who has to be smarter than everyone else in the room, but Bedard does a good job of having Dox forever one step ahead of the enemy, dodging and manipulating his way forward. The emergency plans that he has set up make sense and don’t feel entirely out of the blue, and it’s a good way to slightly limit what was set up as an unstoppable enemy force. There’s a lot of promise for stories to come, too, and I like the idea of “R.E.B.E.L.S.” getting to jump to all of these different alien cultures and locations.
I have to give Claude St. Aubin and Scott Hanna credit in that they’re able to make their art look remarkably like regular series artist Andy Clarke. The two bring a fine level of detail to the page that I don’t remember them having before “R.E.B.E.L.S.” but I’m not complaining. They’re able to handle the big scenes well, with the war between the Dominators and the Starros feeling as large as Bedard needs to make it. If they’re going to be the regular fill-in artists for the title, I think it’s a good call.
“R.E.B.E.L.S.” is one of those fun sort of books; it’s to the DC Universe what the “Annihilation” titles are to the Marvel Universe. Ignore the clunky name of the book, this is the start of an epic space adventure. Bedard’s writing to his strengths here; like “Rai and the Future Force” and “Negation” before, Bedard definitely knows how to write the science-fiction super-hero adventure.