Story: Brian Wood
Art: Andrea Mutti
What They Say:
In a rush of great public resistance to an oppressive and excessive government, a homegrown militia movement is formed in rural America. This is not 2015, but 1775. With the war for independence playing out across the colonies, young Seth and Mercy Abbott find their new marriage tested at every turn, as the demands of the frontlines and the home front collide.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Historical-timed comics can be an interesting concept. Unlike with present comics, you have the sense of the past, which give you materials to actually create a thriving world that makes readers dive into a time they never experienced. It also can create a sense of detachment if not handled properly. Rebels unfortunately falls until latter.
The art helped to bring a sense of historical context into the series. The aesthetics makes the series frames the setting well, with a nice touch of more muted colors to emphasize the seriousness of the war. The same goes to the dialogue which gives readers somewhat of an insight into what makes Seth who he is. Having Seth’s narration of how he becomes a soldier aids in making the story seems personal. It is a shame however that said personal narrative is lost by the lack of audience connecting when it comes to Rebels.
Rebels could have done more to world build, to bring you into the world of the Revolutionary war. Instead, it feels more of a generic comic book series. While history buffs will enjoy the lack of repetitive narrative, for people such as myself who are more to “modern” history, it particularly makes a hard sell to actually involve people into the times. Yes, making the redcoat evil is a natural narrative, but a lot of the same natural narrative gets lost. For instance, Mercy talking about her father needs no narration but simply needed showing in order to emphasize the story behind her. Instead, Mercy comes off as detached not only from the readers but the family itself. Albeit more meaningful, Seth and his father, Jacob’s, detachment makes sense for the time but Rebels should have dug in deeper for said narrative. Instead of trying to push the narrative of “I’m toughing you up for this war” it limps along the “just suck it up” territory which Jacob never feels ready or willing to say.
Rebels, has a lot to do from here on out. Rebels needs to prove to itself that it knows where the narrative is going. It needs to know how to bring that narrative, the world, most importantly why this era is so important to the characters. Bring that sense of why this era is important to readers and how it connects to the emotions, feelings, and urgency to the characters. If Rebels can do that, it can bring in readers into the comic. If they cannot it is going to be a rough sell for many people except for the niches. For right now, the only thing you can say is, “well they tried”.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: April 8th, 2015