Bedard Back in Space: Talking DC's R.E.B.E.L.S.
by Vaneta Rogers
Date: 20 November 2008 Time: 02:53 PM ET
Reviving the L.E.G.I.O.N. concept originally conceived by Keith Giffen in the '80s, R.E.B.E.L.S. also introduces new characters and concepts along with paying homage to the Legion of Super-Heroes. "But I should really stress that if you’ve never read Legion of Super-Heroes or L.E.G.I.O.N., you will still have no trouble understanding this book," Bedard said. "R.E.B.E.L.S. is a fresh start, a true jumping-on point, and everyone’s invited to join in the fun." R.E.B.E.L.S. will focus on Brainiac 2, Vril Dox, as he builds a new group of interstellar mercenary police. "As R.E.B.E.L.S. begins, Brainiac 2 arrives on Earth, pursued by alien bounty hunters. We learn he’s been deposed, his interstellar police force stolen from him," Bedard explained. "Unfortunately, someone took control of his vast robot armada away from Dox. Now the peacekeeping force has become an army of occupation, and there’s a price on Dox’s head." As a result, Dox comes to Earth seeking Supergirl, who "somehow holds the key to his comeback," the writer said, although he wouldn't give all the secrets away. "With what she provides him, he will recruit a whole new team, take back control of L.E.G.I.O.N., and free the 83 worlds that paid him to keep them safe," Bedard said. "Well, that’s his intent, anyhow, but there are more than a few surprises ready to dash the best-laid plans of Brainiac 2. And since his new team is fighting against the forces of L.E.G.I.O.N., we’re going with the more apt title, R.E.B.E.L.S." Bedard said that while the original L.E.G.I.O.N. team was set up as a sort of present-day analog of the Legion of Super-Heroes -- "you could even say they were a twisted reflection of the LSH," he said -- the new team reflects both heroes and villains of the 31st Century. Action Comics issues. "I’m happy to follow Geoff Johns’ lead on that, mostly because Action has been such an amazing read lately," Bedard said. "But in general I regard Dox as Brainiac’s wayward ‘son,’ doing what he can to counter the negative aspects of his lineage. Of course, Brainiac 2 has a rather cynical, take-no-prisoners approach to everything he does, and he’s far from anyone’s standard idea of what a hero ought to be, which is what makes him so much fun to write." The writer also thinks the series goes hand-in-hand with the existing Green Lantern Corps, calling the R.E.B.E.L.S. team "a perfect counterbalance." "The GLs are the height of heroic altruism; Dox and company are in it for the money," he said. "They’re antiheroes, and R.E.B.E.L.S. will serve up a very different brand of space epic – more Farscape than Star Trek, more Han Solo than Buck Rogers." And while Bedard's obviously excited about the concept and characters, he said the thing that excites him the most is the art he's seeing from Clarke. Joker’s Asylum: Two Face special, but R.E.B.E.L.S. is Andy’s coming out party," he said. "The thing that will grab you from the start is how unbelievably gorgeous the book is! I’m incredibly lucky to be paired up with Andy Clarke, whose art just pops off the page. His exquisitely rendered figures bring to mind Travis Charest and Kevin Maguire, but I don’t want to compare him to others, because Andy’s work shines on its own merits. Take a look and you’ll see. He’s designed some terrific new characters and his spaceships and alien worlds are packed with great little details and nuances." While Bedard has been DC exclusive since 2007, first working on Countdown as part of a team of writers then taking over various other ongoing series, he said R.E.B.E.L.S. feels like his first chance to really show his talents at DC. "While I’m very proud of the work I’ve done on books like Birds of Prey and the Black Canary series, I’ve sometimes felt like I haven’t really shown DC what I’m capable of," he said. "R.E.B.E.L.S. is where I’m planting my flag (though I suspect I’ll be rightly outshined by Andy Clarke‘s stellar visuals!). Before this, my best collaborative experience might’ve been on Negation, which was a bit of a cult hit from CrossGen. R.E.B.E.L.S. recaptures the insurgent energy and “Oh, $#!t!” moments that made Negation so much fun, but now I’m let loose in the DC Universe. "R.E.B.E.L.S. is the start of something big, both story-wise and for rising star Andy Clarke," Bedard said. "Check out our first issue, and you’ll be in for the ride of your life!"