Brian Wood (DMZ, X-Men) takes us back to the year 1775 for the new series Rebels. The comic follows Seth Abbott, a man short on words, who is a major influence of the upstart colony militia.
The Revolutionary War hasn’t been a focal point in media as the other wars within America’s history such as World War II and to a lesser extent, the Civil War. Which is a shame, because there is a rich history within America’s beginning and Brian Wood does an extremely good job of capturing the time period and shows how interesting the 1770’s can truly be.
The story spans a few important pieces of Seth Abbot’s life and some work more than others. The beginning of a young Seth and his father was incredibly well done and set the tone for the Abbott family. A scene between father, son, and a gun was my personal favorite section of the comic. Wood perfectly captured the calmness and philosophy of looking down the barrel of a gun. The issue moved forward with another strong scene with an older Seth and a skirmish with the British. The dialogue was sometimes heavy handed, but an intense back and forth between the men of New Hampshire and the Red Coats kept the momentum going and the issue was a blast to read…
…and then it stopped. The last third of Rebels was a complete dud. For how effective Wood was with squeezing alot of emotion and context in a few panels in the beginning with Seth’s father, the end was completely off. Seth and Mercy’s relationship felt forced and unbelievable. There wasn’t enough time or context to make the relationship effective. Their relationship will play a huge role in the series and will become better with more time, but it feels almost shoehorned into issue #1 just to fit all the major themes of the series into the opening issue.
The art really steals the show in Rebels. Andrea Mutti’s attention to detail and character design perfectly captured the 1770’s and the colonies. He was able to display his diverse talent by drawing serene forests of New Hampshire to the intense scenes of violence in the courthouse. Jordie Bellaire’s colors are, naturally, beautiful and push the art to a different level. One panel in the middle of the comic, with figures hidden behind smoke, is a perfect combination of art and colors that how one elevates the other and vice versa.
Beautifully drawn and well told, Rebels #1 is a strong beginning. The one misstep the story had will fix itself as the series continues and should be able to keep the momentum issue #1 created. Wood and Mutti have done their history homework and put together a very interesting and enjoyable take on America’s history.
The Verdict: 8.5/10