Saturday, March 14, 2009

R.E.B.E.L.S Bedard and Clarke

Vril Dox returns!

One of only two long run comic book series remaining in my collection today is L.E.G.I.O.N. which began its run in 1989 and ended in 1994. I always enjoyed this title and I still admire the series for the number of characters who were carefully shaped and molded for eventual starring roles in the D.C. universe. (Need I say anything other than Lobo?) Vril Dox was the main character in this series and for anyone who's never heard of him before he was the quintessential control freak and all around inconsiderate horse's ass. The only two things in the universe he had respect for were his own abilities and personal vision of how things "should" be. Everything and everyone else around him were seen as little more than raw materials and tools to be used as he saw fit to accomplish his personal goals. Vril Dox had many associates, but very few friends. I liked him.

To make a long column short, Vril Dox put together a mercenary police force that kept the peace over about eighty-five planets at it's height. L.E.G.I.O.N. was the story of this band of peace keepers, held together more by a mutual desire to keep Vril Dox in check than anything else, and their adventures throughout the galaxies under their protection. R.E.B.E.L.s is not a revitalization of the L.E.G.I.O.N series nor is it a continuation of it although it does indeed hearken back to the original epoch of that particular storyline. I've been rereading the original title, refreshing my memory of Vril Dox and trying to gleam a clue or two (If possible.) on just who it is that may have stolen control of L.E.G.I.O.N. away from him.

Which brings me to the story line overview...

Issue one opens with Vril Dox landing on Earth with a group of nasty bounty hunters hot on his intergalactic heels. It isn't long before he's managed to manipulate Supergirl into playing the role of unwitting bodyguard and maneuvering her into position in a plan only Vril is aware of. This is classic Vril Dox! No one ever knows what role they're playing in Vril's schemes until his machinations are completed and they're lying bruised and confused on the ground wondering just what the hell just happened to them. Issue one is like a fuse on a bottle rocket, it sets the eventual fireworks into motion without stealing the upcoming show.

Issue two explodes in a pyrotechnic display of lightning fast action and plot advancement. Supergirl is used and abused in a typical wham, bam, thank you, ma'am Vril Dox fashion that brilliantly foreshadows what is about to happen to the next female character he encounters in this new tale. By issue's end I knew what he was going to do, but I just couldn't look away. I won't spoil the moment for you if you haven't read it yet, but suffice it to say, "Be careful what you ask for around Vril Dox, cause you won't believe the sick and twisted way he gives it to you."

Two issues into this series so far and I'm hooked. Tony Bedard has shown an excellent grasp of Vril's personality and written a masterful story to this point and even though I'm not all that familiar with the artwork of Andy Clarke, I like what I see so far. I think this is a sleeper title this year and by the time September rolls around everyone will be looking for the early issues of this book.

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