Rebels “A Well-Regulated Militia”
Written by: Brian Wood
Artist: Andrea Mutti (Chapter 1,4,5) Matthew Woodson (Chapter 2) Ariela Kristantina (Chapter 3) Tristan Jones ( Chapter 6) Lettering: Jared K. Fletcher
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Review by Gregory Brothers
If you are an American you have heard the stories and learned about the American Revolution. George Washington, Paul Revere, Benidict Arnold, and John Adams are just a few of the names that have been committed to memory for their roles in Americas fight for freedom from the oppressive monarchy. What is not covered very much is the everyday citizen that left their farms and families to come and join the fight. We might not have their names but we have stories in general of what the experience was like. In his series titled Rebels: “A Well Regulated Militia”, Brian Wood tries to humanize that experience by creating the fictional Seth Abbott and following him and his story in the real world of the American Revolution.
The story starts Seth Abbott trying to impress his father who like many fathers then was a man of very few words. He had his opinions of what was right and wrong and how things should be done and will always share those opinions. Through a series of stories we when Seth Abbott feels he earned the respect of his father and how that shaped him in the future. Early in the story as a young man Seth, who is tracking British Soldiers, meets the woman who is to become his wife, Mercy. From there the story takes a turn as Seth struggles with his sense of commitment first to his fellow citizens of Vermont and later the Colonies as a whole verses his commitment to his new wife Mercy and helping take care of the family land. Although the series does focus on the everyday citizens, we do have a appearance by George Washington at one point that gives you an idea of how the colonies viewed each other and the prejudices that existed. As the fighting comes to an end we see how Seth Abbott comes to deal with the changes at his home and the relationship with his wife. After the collection of what was the first 10 issues, the reader is treated to several one-shots that cover other everyday citizens and how their actions shaped the revolution. Brian Wood also collect 14 pages of behind the scenes of the making of the series in which he writes about his choice to write the series and how the art came together including sketches of several of the characters.
The art changes throughout the series between several different artist, but the feel between all of them is very similar. The art is drawn in a very realistic tone with great detail made to show emotions and the conflicted feelings that many of these people have. You get the sense of the toll of the fighting with the weathered look and dirt that is upon the peoples faces and clothing, reminding you that this is not a easy time that these people are living in. the colors shift throughout the series also as battles are shown to be dark and gritty while happier times are shown to be bright and clear. The art really adds to the story telling throughout the book.
Verdict: Buy! The trade came out a few weeks ago so you can easily buy the series collected. I think that as a collected series it really lends to the flow of the series. In addition the 14 pages of the making of the series really helps you to understand why Wood felt he needed to make this. As a history teacher I am always looking for ways to show the students history through a different eye, and how the famous names we learn about are only half of the story. Rebels does a excellent job of giving the reader an idea of the everyday struggles the citizens of the colonies dealt with before, during and even after the Revolutionary War. The art really pulls you in and provides a visual of the pain, the struggles, and even the joys that all the sides in this conflict endured throughout. m