‘Rebels’ #5: Cannon Fodder

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 8.26.41 PMRebels #5
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Andrea Mutti
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Published by Dark Horse Comics

Most of Rebels #5 deals with how Seth’s determination is what gets him to accomplish his mission, however lofty it is. Tasked with taking extremely heavy and bulky cannon down to Boston from New York, Seth is dead set it’ll take longer than two weeks. The mission seems to set Seth up for failure, for some unexplained reason, but Seth accomplishes this duty. The issue juxtaposes the cannon transportation mission with Seth’s journey to save his father’s life as a boy. Brian Wood does a good job of showing how Seth was taught to finish his undertakings no matter how long they take. While dragging his father’s body across a frozen land, Seth uses his grit and determination, instilled by his father, to drag him all the way home.

It feels as if little happens in this issue. Sure, Seth is able to get the wares George Washington wanted down to Boston, but it seems like this issue is filler for the conclusion of Rebels first arc. There is no mention of Mercy, which is unfortunate because her marriage with Seth is the most interesting storyline in Rebels. Wood gives us a relatively dull adventure story that doesn’t give weight to the pressures Seth is facing.

The art, however, is still spectacular. Andrea Mutti draws someone shooting an eighteenth century gun look like an absolute joy. The frozen wilderness of Seth’s boyhood years invokes a feeling of complete loneliness. Over the course of five issues Mutti has made Seth into a man with full moustache and a face to frighten the hardest infantrymen. Jordie Bellaire works the drab colors of this issue with aplomb. The blacks and blues of the northeastern winters are stark, cold and severe. It’s easy to feel a chill while placing yourself in this setting. The haunting gray’s of Seth’s memories are visceral, striking and deliver a punch to the stomach.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 8.27.13 PM

Overall, Rebels #5 feels like a story that had to be completed before an epic conclusion can be told. Wood laid great groundwork with the emotional story of Seth and Mercy’s marriage in previous issues, but its absence from this issue is worrying. Hopefully he isn’t shying away from the relationship to focus on more of this kind of tedious adventure. If Rebels gets back to its emotional core and how war affects everyone this series will skyrocket back to a great read.

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