Advance Review: ‘Rebels’ #6: The Spoils of War

Rebels #6Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 2.41.05 PM
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Andrea Mutti
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Published by Dark Horse Comics

The last issue of Rebels was mired in how hard it was for Seth to accomplish the task of transporting cannons to Boston. This almost insurmountable task pales in comparison to how hard Seth will have to work to win back Mercy. The best scenes in Rebels have been the tumultuous relationship between the two lovers. Seth’s return from the war leads the two to discuss how frayed their relationship has become. To add to the complicated matters Seth meets John, his six-year-old son. John is a capable and conscientious young boy who never has to be asked twice to do the work around the home and land. A fine juxtaposition to Seth who says he had to be beaten and roughhoused to accomplish any chores. This shakes Seth to his core because all of John’s ability and personality has grown from a single-parent home. At the end of the issue, Seth is proud because his land, liberated land, is in good hands. Of course, it’ll be extremely interesting to see this new relationship blossom or wither.

Mercy is livid with Seth’s reappearance and rightfully so. Seth has been gone for over seven years and, although sends home his pay, does it with rigid formality. Mercy states that they may be married in the eye of the law, but in the heart they’re not. Mercy wants to be courted again and Seth isn’t doing too well. This is the only way Seth will win back Mercy. Mercy has always been a no-nonsense woman and Seth will have to be as diligent a husband as he was a soldier to win her back. This complex relationship is at its best when Seth is reeling and Mercy is delivering all the gut-punches. The war-torn house is being held together with some thin masking tape and it’s easy to envision a future of that tear becoming even greater.

Brian Wood’s final issue in this first arc of Rebels ends very satisfyingly. Fast-forwarding this issue well into the future to see the spoils of war for Seth, Mercy, and John was a stroke of brilliance. War is scary and dangerous in the middle of battle, but the long-standing changes made to a man are even scarier at home. Wood uses this knowledge with aplomb in Rebels #6. It’s fantastic to see the final arc end with the focus on Seth’s family and not more boilerplate plot that take the focus away from them.

The art by Andrea Mutti is fascinating. The frames of Seth walking through an autumnal gravesite for his fallen friend Ezekiel are beautiful and lingering at the same time. The scene gives a sense of smelling the fallen leaves and hearing the rustling of the long grasses against boots. Mercy’s faces of scorn are drawn with ferocity and would leave any man weary of disagreeing with her. Jordie Bellaire continues to support Mutti’s art with grace. The autumn browns and greens make Seth’s world one of absolute beauty. Maybe Seth’s life is crumbling around him but Bellaire’s colors make it a place to stop and consider the wonders of our world. The art in this first arc of Rebels is outstanding, plain and simple.

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Rebels #6 is a fascinating read about two people who quickly fell in love only to be torn apart by war and an absolute commitment to one’s country. Wood wielded a heart-breaking love story to which most can relate. The more focus on Seth and Mercy the better this comic is. The future is bright for Rebels.

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