R.E.B.E.L.S. #18

Bedard welcomes the reader with a quick rundown of all things Brainiac, as Brainiac 3 relates his legacy to Pulsar Stargrave, a Solaris class macrorpocessor of 3's own creation. This serves as a nice encapsulated version of the post-everything origins of the various Brainiacs. Stargrave, under Brainiac 3's command, poses a severe threat to Colu as 3 seeks to conquer Colu.

This is but a snippet of the events going on in this book with a cast composed of Durlans, Khunds, Coluans, and even Captain Comet and Starfire. After years of floundering around the DC Universe after her relationship with Dick Grayson waned, Starfire appears to have finally found a home. She adds a nice, fresh dimension to a cast that Bedard had already masterfully defined. Her, um, interaction with Captain Comet is sure to be revisited and expanded upon in future issues.

Bedard makes all of these characters -- even the calculating Coluans -- exude personality and humanity, yet each character is distinct and separate. Captain Comet's emotions, actions, and dialogue are quite different from any of the Brainiacs. Through Bedard, R.E.B.E.L.S. has a distinct cast quite unlike anything else on the stands today. It's not a formulaic team with a strongman, a smart man, a leader, and so on. The characters have some overlap, the team has some gaps, but the stories Bedard has brought under the title of "R.E.B.E.L.S." are always entertaining.

As different as the team is, the art is equally exceptional. In a universe filled with variant species, St. Aubin draws more than just multi-colored humanoids. The backgrounds are filled with more than sketchbook rejects. St. Aubin takes that to the technology too, as Vril Dox II is surrounded by a myriad of different recording and broadcasting devices as he brings Brainiac into Coluan custody. St. Aubin's art is heavy with stippling, which makes for a nice effect that is different enough from the typical images in most comics on the stands today. Cleaner than excessive cross-hatching, the stippling provides a texture and a depth to the characters without obscuring detail.

This isn't the strongest single issue of "R.E.B.E.L.S.," but it sure is a nice jumping on point for new readers. Consider it a gateway -- or maybe a stargate -- to new worlds of wonder.

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