Bedard jams a lot of parallel stories into this issue, giving almost every prime member of the R.E.B.E.L.S. a chance to shine. The issue opens with Dox apparently falling into the type of trap you’ve seen on television shows and read in comics, the type where you’re shouting at the unaware hero, “Don’t do it! Stop! STOP!” Meanwhile, Dox is having a diplomatic dinner with Blackfire – pardon me, Queen Komand’r – and appears smitten enough to not realize that she is asking him about Tribulus to find a way around Dox’s perceived bodyguard. Maybe I’ve just read way too many comics with acts of treachery and traitors waiting in the wings, or maybe Bedard is really drawing this one out for us to see it happen, like a slow-motion train wreck.
Adam Strange gets to celebrate some down time with his wife and daughter. It’s a nice interlude that shows the family’s devotion to one another while also giving Bedard the opportunity to segue into the goings on between Captain Comet and Starfire. Comet, meanwhile, gets a visit from Lobo, who has a little fun playing mind games with his teammate. Lobo then gets a whiff of another Czarnian – his race, whom he allegedly completely obliterated – an event so shocking he leaves the bar without consuming his drink!
The biggest revelation of this issue, however, is the seeming return of Starro the Conqueror. The series launched with a stirring Starro storyline that redefined Starro for the present-day DC Universe and this issue primes the return of the Conqueror.
St. Aubin’s characters are topnotch, and the backgrounds - when there are true backgrounds rather than color gradations - are full of detail, but there’s a lack of hustle and bustle. Rann lacks the vitality that a planet hosting such an organization as the R.E.B.E.L.S. should have. Maybe this is part and parcel to the “downtime” of this issue as previous issues have certainly allowed St. Aubin to shine in this regard, but this issue seemed empty. The Hories really do have some room to play with the colors in this issue, as there are a tremendous amount of panels that do not have backgrounds to speak of, but rather have backgrounds that are patterns, gradations, and blended shapes.
This book continues to offer a refreshing breath of interstellar air, and this issue, in particular manages to offer up quite a story despite the lack of physical conflict. This issue offers a clear landing spot for readers to jump onboard before what appears to be another Starro-driven, galaxy-spanning adventure.