Seth Abbot’s war has begun as he takes on his first mission against the Red Coats in the company of the Green Mountain Boys. All the while, his new bride, Mercy, is home alone to care and fend for herself. Is it good?
Rebels #2 (Dark Horse Comics)
Rebels #2 reads like a number one issue. On the opening page, Brian Wood uses heavy exposition to introduce new readers to the story, emphasizing the location where the battles are being fought and whom they are against. Wood then leads into an action sequence as Seth Abbot and the Green Mountain Boys infiltrate a Red Coat encampment.
Wood’s dialogue—or, more accurately, monologue—within the encampment reads more like a supervillain pontificating than a British soldier attempting to subdue a rebel. He goes from questioning Seth in an attempt to figure out who he is, right into describing how he is the lowest of the low in society. It doesn’t stop there; the next line is the masterstroke! He reveals his master plan: no matter what happens, the entire camp will wake up at the sound of gunfire. It just doesn’t flow at all. Instead of attempting to raise an alarm, he goes on an evil 18th century monologue.
Despite the monologue, Andrea Mutti’s artwork created a sense of tension and risk. You weren’t sure whether or not Abbot was going to come away unscathed. He was behind enemy lines and had been caught. Unfortunately, the risk and tension built up through Mutti’s artwork goes to waste. Upon waking up the entire camp and with a multitude of Red Coats storming his position, Abbot inexplicably fades into the surrounding forest without a hint of danger. He didn’t even disguise himself as a Red Coat; he just walked out of the middle of the camp dressed as a woodsman.
Wood does improve the dialogue during the middle third of the issue, focusing on Seth and Mercy’s relationship. You are able to feel the affection the young couple has for each other. He even gives Seth a little bit of a mischievous streak. Outside of their love for each other, Wood also touches on how the war is affecting their relationship and how the idea of protecting their land has expanded to protecting all of the colonies.
Andrea Mutti’s artwork is a shining light in this issue. He is able to tell a story without any writing. Many of the scenes do occur at night, but he makes excellent use of the lighting to draw shadowy figures moving through British encampments or stealthily rowing a canoe down a river to ambush the British Navy. Not everything is perfect; there are some action sequences where a Red Coat is standing or hanging in a very awkward position and there is one panel where a Red Coat is firing a gun with his hand at a 90 degree angle. Talk about uncomfortable!
Jordie Bellaire’s colors accentuate Mutti’s art, especially when fire is involved. She captures the muzzle flash of pistols and rifles exceptionally well. Her ability to contrast the action sequences that occur during the night with Seth and Mercy’s bath during the height of the day effectively sets and changes the mood from serious to light-hearted and back again.
Is It Good?
Rebels #2 was quite disappointing. The writing seemed fit for a superhero comic with a terrible villain monologue. When there was no dialogue, Wood relied on heavy exposition to get his point across. There was also a large gap in the middle of the book where he decided to show us what happened every day on a homestead in the woods of Vermont in the 18th century. Mutti’s artwork, combined with Bellaire’s colors, were the highlight of the issue bringing the 18th century to life. Although, I am not sure I buy Seth Abbot as a seventeen-year-old. Rebels has so much potential for a great story, but it just doesn’t deliver.