Story: Brian Wood
Art: Andrea Mutti
What They Say:
Following the events on Lake Champlain, Seth’s long walk home is juxtaposed with a similar trial from his youth, when an unforeseen accident pitted a young Seth against both the harsh elements and his father’s harsher expectations.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Exploring the time period through this piece of historical fiction has been interesting in its first two issues as we got some solid background on the way life was in general, but also some time exploring the different ways some people came to the Revolutionary War and their actual involvement in it, even before it took on a more formal name. Balancing that with time that we see with Mercy, giving us insights into the nature of life for women at that time as well, the way homesteading was done and the toll of everything on people in general, it adds a lot more color and character to the book than a simple war story set in this time period. It also doesn’t hurt that Andrea Mutti’s artwork brings it a great earthiness that adds its own weight to things.
Seth’s story is one that’s certainly interesting in the present, but I like that we get more background for him as well here. Taking us back almost a decade prior, there’s a really illustrative sequence where he and his sister Hazie are out with their father on the lake to break through so they can fish. Their father falls through, though not for long, and it turns to being more about him instructing what must be done in order to ensure that he lives. Hazie’s treated no differently than her brothers when you get down to it, and in some ways that works to her advantage while in others it causes problems. Here, we see how it makes things harder for her overall, especially since she’s not handling the situation well with the kind of panic it evokes from her. Enough panic that she basically runs back home, leaving it all to Seth to take care of.
This really does explain some of how Seth is in the presents, as we get back to 1775 and see him return home to Killington where Mercy is. She’s a strong woman to be sure, doing so much of this on her own while he’s away, as it’s backbreaking work. She even hosts a few of his comrades that got there before him, such as Ethan Allen, though it’s not for good in the end. With Seth having opted to join the larger cause of freedom, believing that all the colonies ought to be involved across the board, his revelation that he’s joined the continental army doesn’t go well, though for reasons she doesn’t disclose to him before he heads off for what will be a few years. It’s a fascinating story when you really dig into the characters, particularly that of Mercy, in seeing exactly what she’s thinking and dealing with.
While Rebels may not make a lot of forward motion in the cause of the revolution itself, what we do get is some strong material showing the formative years for Seth and more of the complicated relationship with his father and his family in general. There’s a great starkness to it that’s played out well here and it’s thoroughly engaging to read and watch it unfold. Playing that against what we get in the present as he returns home, first giving us some great time with Mercy that explores her situation, it all adds up to a really engaging work that deals with the mundane side of existence at the time and the opening salvos of the larger war that’s beginning to capture more attention – and complicating relationships between those that feel they have a stake in it and those that just want to mind their own business.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: June 10, 2015