Writer TAKES R.E.B.E.L.S. Toward DC'S Next Space 'Event'

With Tony Bedard taking over Green Lantern Corps this spring, he now has his hands on most of DCU space. Between that star-patrolling title and his other team of interstellar peacekeepers, R.E.B.E.L.S.

So it's not surprising to find out that the two teams are brushing up against each other, even confronting each other in the coming months.

R.E.B.E.L.S., which launched in early 2010, has become a critical darling as it follows Vril Dox and his villain fighting team of mercenaries. Drawn by Claude St. Aubin, R.E.B.E.L.S. was feared canceled by many fans, but DC made it clear in San Diego that the title is here to stay.

In fact, in the interview below, Bedard makes it clear the title and its team will be around for the next space-based DC events.

Next month, the team gets a new member, Lobo, and the clash between the GLC and the REBELS really gets going in October's Issue #21. We talked with Bedard to find out more.

Nrama: Tony, what's it been like delving into the history of the Brainiac family and the Coluans? What's it like writing these odd characters?

Bedard: I've been fascinated by Brainiac ever since I first saw him on that old Superman cartoon show from the 1960s, and I've been wanting to do a Brainiac vs. Vril Dox story since we launched R.E.B.E.L.S. So I'm having great fun with Colu and the whole Brainiac family (including Brainy's grandson Lyrl and Lyrl's newest creation, Pulsar Stargrave). In fact, one of the most fun aspects of writing R.E.B.E.L.S. is the chance to flesh out all these great locations across the DC Universe. I had fun with the Vega Sector and with the Gil Dsh'pan, and there are more bizarre places and races to come!

Nrama: What are the main differences between Brainiac, Vril and Lyrl? And how did they get to this point — is it just part of being who they are?

Bedard: Brainiac is pure evil — like a serial killer, he is completely self-absorbed and thinks nothing of the suffering of others. All that matters to him is his quest for knowledge to be shared with no one. In fact, once he extracts the data from a world he destroys it so that the stolen information is his alone. I love what Geoff Johns did in revamping that character. Imagine having a monster like that for a father!

Vril Dox is the result of Brainiac's cruelty and utter emotional detachment. Vril might have turned out as bad as his father, except for his need to prove that he is the opposite of his father, to avenge his awful childhood. In a way, every good deed Vril Dox accomplishes springs not from his good nature, but from his hatred of his father.

As for Lyrl, he was totally unplanned — his mother raped Vril Dox, after all. Lyrl was also born smarter than his father and even as a baby he stole control of L.E.G.I.O.N. from his father. Now he's trying to prove himself in his father's eyes. There are plenty of daddy issues to go around in this family.

Nrama: Will we see any of the other characters visiting their home worlds or encountering their families soon?

Bedard: We're actually going to learn more about the two new rookie Green Lanterns assigned to the Vega Sector and pay a visit to the Psion homeworld, where we'll learn more about that race. We'll also explore the fate of Tamaran some more, now that both Starfire and Blackfire have become players in the series.

Nrama: What can you tell us about what's coming up for the Brainiac family?

Bedard: Actually, I'm only handling Brainiac for the 3-parter we're doing right now. What lies in his future is up to the Superman guys. But we'll see more developments in the very difficult relationship between Vril and Lyrl.

Nrama: We've seen a little of Lobo recently in the GL universe. What's he like now that he's returned to his old teammates?

Bedard: He's the same old hell-raiser we all know and love. In fact, I'd like to play him a little straighter than he'd been in his old solo series (which I edited for a while). But he still gets laughs, mostly for being so over-the-top. We'll learn that Lobo ran up a mountain of debt when he was an archbishop in the Church of the Triple-Fish God, and that he's now working with Dox to pay off that debt. But his presence on the team will definitely shake things up.

Nrama: Is he part of the team going forward?

Bedard: I'll keep Lobo as long as they let me have him! I love that guy!

Nrama: Will we continue to see this Solaris-style Pulsar Stargrave? Is there anything you can tell us about what's coming up for the character?

Bedard: The fate of Stargrave is going to be open-ended after the "Sons of Brainiac" story arc, but I would like to do more with him. I just love the look of the guy, with his single eyeball. He's kinda cute. I want a Solaris or Stargrave toy to hang off my rear-view mirror.

Nrama: This storyline has also explored some developing relationships elsewhere on the team. What's the status of the team members as we move toward the next storyline?

Bedard: The cast has grown pretty large, so there's quite a bit going on relationship-wise. Look for interesting developments between Captain Comet and Starfire, between Vril Dox and Blackfire, and others to be revealed.

Nrama: Issue #21 begins a new storyline, "To Be a R.E.B.E.L.," that incorporates the Green Lantern Corps. How do the R.E.B.E.L.S. come across the Corps? Will this be a friendly team-up or something else?

Bedard: This storyline will actually define the fundamental difference between the R.E.B.E.L.S. and the Green Lantern Corps. Or...more like Dox will do his best to define the Corps as untrustworthy, out-of-touch, elitist interlopers who come to force the laws of Oa upon everyone, regardless of whether or not they were invited.

Dox's organization, on the other hand, enforces local laws and can be fired if the client is unhappy with their work. Basically, Dox wants to undermine the goodwill and acceptance that the Green Lanterns have enjoyed for so long...and Dox's argument will find some traction across the galaxy. In fact, Dox will officially rename his organization from L.E.G.I.O.N. to R.E.B.E.L.S., which stands for Regional Enforcement Bureau Ending Lantern Supremacy.

Nrama: Will the title have a synergy with Green Lantern Corps going forward, or is it just for this storyline? Will the two titles cross over?

Bedard: I don't think we'll cross over, although R.E.B.E.L.S. will probably play along in the next big cosmic Event for the DC Universe. But I do think there will be synergy here, as the Rebels must compete with the Corps as interstellar peacekeepers.

Nrama: You seem to feel very comfortable writing all the various races you have to juggle in this title. Do you feel like it's one of your strengths as a writer, to deal with this variety and a wide variety of characters?

Bedard: I've always loved the variety and endless possibility of the DC Universe. In fact, the thing I love most about groups like the Green Lantern Corps and the Legion of Super-Heroes is the incredible variety. there's always more to learn and discover. So it never seems like a challenge or a problem to work with such a big cast. It's always an opportunity to go to cool new places and reveal interesting new things about these characters.

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