R.E.B.E.L.S. 1 review

Over the last few years it’s been the habit of Legion of Super-Heroes writers to characterise Brainiac 5 as snooty and manipulative. Well, that’s not Brainy at all. That’s his ancestor Vril Dox, a character so much fun that after his titles, L.E.G.I.O.N. and R.E.B.E.L.S. were cancelled in the Nineties, writers grafted his personality on to the only green Coluan in town.

Well, the original is back and don’t we know it. Within minutes of arriving on Earth he’s patronised a sweet young couple and happily endangered the population of Metropolis, ir order to get Supergirl’s attention. The Maid of Might shows up and becomes embroiled in Dox’s fight – he’s fleeing from operatives of L.E.G.I.O.N., the intergalactic police agency for hire he’s supposed to run.

Said pursuers will be familiar to followers of the Legion of Super-Heroes, in type if not in name. There’s a Khund cum Tyr, a big monster reminiscent of Validus, a sort of Tellus. Then there are the Omega Men, appalled that L.E.G.I.O.N. has changed its agenda.

This is a fast, but meaty ride. Tony Bedard gets Dox and Supergirl, giving them delightful interplay. It’s too early to judge the new characters, but if they’re this well characterised, we’re in for a treat.

And perhaps if we’re very good, Bedard will bring back some of the original L.E.G.I.O.N. operatives, such as Marij’n and Garryn Bek and Stealth. Strata already looks set to return (thanks Mario). *

Andy Clarke’s images are stellar. I hope this is more compliment than reductive statement, but he reminds me of a cross between original L.E.G.I.O.N. artist Barry Kitson and JLA star Kevin Maguire, so clean are the pencils, so right the expressions. And Clarke’s dynamism is all his own, as illustrated by a unique Supergirl moment on page 9. Helping hugely is Jose Villarrubia, who makes the book gorgeously bright, but never garish.

If you’ve never come across Vril Dox – Brainiac 2 – and his galactic gang previously, give them a try. Tony Bedard tells us on page 1 – it’s the Second Coming.

* Some of whom may be dead, my memory’s not so good, but why should that stop them appearing?

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