Everything comes to a head and Vril Dox ends up changing the game entirely.
What They Say:
BLACKEST NIGHT spreads across the galaxy! Super-genius Vril Dox might be the newest Sinestro Corps recruit, but Black Lanterns Harbinger and Stealth still hit the intergalactic renegade right where it hurts! And while we wish we could say that’s the absolute worst thing that happens to Dox in this issue…we can’t.
Bringing in the Blackest Night storyline to REBELS certainly makes a whole lot of sense and gets to show us events related to what’s going on while not directly impacting things all that much. It’s actually a moment where the main arc of REBELS gets adjusted in a way that feels like it fits perfectly to change the course of events for the series with the war against Starro. Dox has been working something of a holding motion against Starro since he lost control of LEGION, but with the abduction of his son by those forces and the appearance of Stealth wearing a Black Lantern ring, it’s a huge dose of random chaos that has entered it. Vril’s attempts to get to Smite in order to rescue his son went very wrong when they came across the Sinestro Corps members.
That they were fleeing the Black Lantern who downloaded the memories from Harbinger, it makes sense why they’re as afraid as they are. And even more so when you realize they’ve only had the rings themselves for a couple of hours at most. I have a certain affection for Harbinger from her first introduction back in Crisis on Infinite Earths, so seeing her involved in this form is rather fun. She’s quite cold and brutal here, but even that feels a bit shy of what Stealth is like since she takes to Vril with verbal attacks as well, which in turn gets him to reveal his emotions. As much as he tries to stave these things off so as to not feed the black rings, it seems like everything he does ends up causing it to happen. But he’s still intent on controlling events, though they seem to spiral more out of his control as time goes on.
The subplot that plays throughout this that had me more interested though was seeing how Lyrl, now insisting on being called Braniac 3, handles things since going over to Starro’s side. While he’s not undergoing the same route as others since it’s attached to just his back and he retains who he is, since part of the whole point was to unlock his intelligence so Starro could use him, he’s still very much serving Starro. Or at least pretending since you can’t be entirely sure what a Braniac is really up to. As he starts working for him, making a transmatter portal no less that his father never could perfect, it gives him and his troops the ability to walk through to anywhere. So it’s natural he lands them exactly where Vril is, which only serves to anger Vril since he takes his completion of the device as mocking him. There’s some fun father/son and even a little false mother material in there with the Stealth Black Lantern, but seeing the way Lyrl and Vril go back and forth against each other is far more fun than I expected it to be. Kids, even as old as Lyrl is at this point, tend to be unsuccessful add-on characters. Here, because of how Vril works, it’s far more adversarial and deadly in a way that allows it to work naturally while making it far more fun than you’d expect.
This Comixology edition of REBELS has nothing extra to it compared to the print edition as there were no variant covers made for it.
Tie-ins to series can be real hit or miss but with REBELS, Blackest Night works because it allows Bedard to change the game a bit and incorporate events in a way that fits. The space based nature of the series means it can play with events along the side rather than full frontal and they do that here to some degree before going on with what’s really at stake. It’s the kind of tie-in that doesn’t make you groan and shake your head when you hit since it doesn’t step outside of the main arc that’s running but instead helps to shape it before it disappears. There’s a lot of fun with having Vril as a Sinestro Corps member and seeing Stealth return to dole out some righteous vengeance has the right kind of creepy factor. Some tie-ins fail spectacularly, but for REBELS, I think it works perfectly and left me very much wanting more issues of it.