Zeb Larson reviews Rebels #4…
With Mercy pushed to the back of his mind, Seth is free to commit one hundred percent to the war for independence and to the special assignment General George Washington has in mind for him.
Rebels #4 takes Seth Abbott to a familiar battle in the lore of American history: Bunker Hill. This issue touches on a few of the themes we’ve seen so far: the divisions between the various regions, Seth’s unease with outsiders, and the reality of history compared with the myths. I will be discussing spoilers in this review, so consider yourself forewarned.
Seth and the Green Mountain Boys arrive at Bunker and Breed’s hill in time to meet the British assault. Though the colonials are ultimately routed, the battle is a pyrrhic victory for the British. When the army bivouacs in Cambridge, Ethan Allen meets with Washington, who wants some of Allen’s men to retrieve the cannons being held at Fort Ticonderoga. Seth manages to incur Washington’s ire, who refers to Seth as a halfwit. Nevertheless, Allen discretely sends Seth to meet Henry Knox and retrieve the artillery. While there, Ezekiel reminds Seth that Mercy is less than a day away, but Seth, angered over Washington’s dismissal of his abilities, wants to prove himself and refuses to leave.
We get a few famous scenes in this issue, though some of the most famous moments are subverted or tweaked. As the Battle of Bunker Hill rages, an unnamed colonel races around reminding the men “not to fire until you see the whites of their eyes,” to which Seth merely replies, “what a cock.” Is Rebels trying to deconstruct the popular myths of the American Revolution? Some of the scenes make it seem that way, starting with a popular anecdote being shown for what it was worth.
More telling might be Washington and Benedict Arnold’s response to Seth, when Arnold notes that as a Virginian, Washington had little respect for New Englanders. As strange as it is to see Arnold as a member of the Colonial army (given that his name is a synonym for traitor), the class and regional divisions are the really interesting bit. As an upper-class Virginian, Washington may have looked down on the more egalitarian and less aristocratic New England. Seth may want Washington’s respect, but the two men have very little in common. Seth is a backwoodsman and frontiersman, whereas Washington came out of a plantation (albeit not the largest of the plantations in Virginia).
Is Washington going to give Seth and the Green Mountain boys the credit they deserve for bringing the artillery back to Boston? Or is Seth going to come away from this experience feeling the same way about Virginians that he does about Albany and Boston? And how is Mercy holding up, given that Seth has declined a chance to go and visit her? Should make for good reading.