This book is stunning in its ability to continue to bind the outer fringes of the DC Universe in ways other books can't or simply chose not to. With the recent "Blackest Night" event stretching from Oa to Earth and back again, a newborn Krypton circling the far side of the sun from Earth, and the ever present threat of alien invasions, Bedard manages to find space in space to expand the tales of this motley band of characters united under the fist of Vril Dox.
In no other book -- go ahead, look around, I'll wait -- can you get Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Starfire, the aforementioned Vril Dox, Starro, Despero, and a myriad of characters from other galactic species from Tamaranians to Slyggians. This book is a one of a kind "Encyclopedia Galactica" of the DC Universe. The fact that Bedard peppers this series with excerpts from a fictitious "Encyclopedia Galactica" as well as other sources makes the book that much richer and stunning in its imaginative landscapes and orbital paths.
St. Aubin does a great job of bringing these various characters to life, giving them personalities and panache. Detail has been one of the hallmarks of this title since it started up, and St. Aubin does not disappoint, from the stubble on Starro's noggin all the way to the components of the blaster Comet mentally disassembles. The art is detailed and exacting, but manages to be friendly and open at the same time.
Villarrubia's colors are garish and loud, bold and daring, exactly the type of thing that is alien to comic fans in today's marketplace. It makes the alien worlds seem so much more alive and vibrant. Rann has a different ambiance than Kalanor, while Maltus is dingy and murky.
Starfire of "Teen Titans" fame joins the ensemble cast of this book with this issue, even if she doesn't join Dox's team proper. Her first appearance on panel is a bit odd, playing for titillation. Bedard quickly moves from there to provide some depth to the character. Unfortunately, it appears that a little whininess and reflection are on tap before the character can become a viable addition to this team with her old pal Adam Strange. Pasting Starfire front and center on the cover this month is sure to generate an impulse purchase or two. The choice to move her to this title from "Justice League of America" is a facepalm moment of brilliance for DC. I just hope Bedard finds new ground for the character soon.
"R.E.B.E.L.S" is a relieving divergence from the standard-fare capes and cowls comic book. Readers with a little more familiarity of the DCU will have a more enlightening experience reading this title, but newcomers are bound to find this title entertaining and eye-opening. It's like the "Star Wars" cantina in every issue.