by Brian Wood, Matthew Woodson, Jordie Bellaire
A stand-alone issue, Rebels #7 is a book that requires no prior knowledge of the series in order to follow along. Here Brian Wood presents the tale of Sarah Hull, a woman who was active in the Revolutionary War and aided the soldiers on the battlefield in more ways than she may have been credited. The historical fiction comic presents the story through a letter written by Hull’s husband, and depicts a story that is as relevant and poignant now as it was then. With absolutely gorgeous art from Matthew Woodson and Jordie Bellaire, Rebels #7 is a book to check out.
The book opens with a letter from General William Hull, writing to an unknown audience while readers see Sarah Hall setting out across an open landscape in 1777. While the letter is an important piece to the issue, the opening pages could simply show Sarah hunting for food and it would be compelling. Woodson’s line work is thin, and yet the images are rich in detail, and he is able to capture so much emotion and personality in the physicality and construction of the characters within their surroundings. As the story unfolds, Jordie Bellaire is able to complement Woodson’s pencils with a beautiful color palette. The book shifts from peaceful moments to hectic ones, from the battlefield to the town center, but Woodson and Bellaire are able to evoke so much in each panel.
The focus of the issue is that of the female rebel soldier, Sarah Hull, and how her story is one that could be so many others in history who have not been given the credit deserved because of the institution in place and the powers that govern. Wood crafts a narrative that does not posture and does not preach. Instead, the script is handled magnificently, allowing readers to truly witness Sarah’s bravery and then experience, even fractionally, how easily that can all be dismissed. The plot of Rebels #7 is a story many readers may find familiar, and Wood comments on that in the back matter of the book. Wood utilizes a straightforward narrative construction, and the ending is one that most will expect. However, neither of these undercut the power and effectiveness of the work done here. Wood’s presentation through the letter is an excellent choice that frames the issue and creates a very specific sensation to the reading experience. Woodson and Bellaire then add a visual component that is impactful all on its own.
As the issue comes to a close, the creators leave the reader with a lingering sense of frustration. The final page of Rebels #7 is a magnificent one that requires no explosive exchanges or extravagant art to be affecting. It encapsulates the approach that the team has taken to tell this story, letting it speak for itself rather than providing any commentary within it. With so much care put into every aspect of the issue, it is no wonder that the final product is this impressive.