The Continental Army has been beaten back the British Army in Quebec. Soldiers and their families are fleeing southward to Fort Ticonderoga. The British Army is in pursuit, but the Green Mountain Boys, Vermont's unofficial militia, are there to cover the retreat.
Down in Philadelphia, Captain Ethan Allen and Lieutenant Seth Warner of the Green Mountain Boys attempt to convince John Adams to officially induct their militia into the Continental Army and actually pay them for their service.
I won't lie; a part of me was looking forward to being a pain-in-the-ass and arrogant would-be intellectual who pisses all over the historical revisionism and myth-making I was expecting this comic to be.
Actually, I was expecting it to be about the Confederacy at first, and I was really looking forward to blasting that. Obviously, that was not the case.
Anyway, neither one of those is really going to happen here. This is partly the case because writer Brian Wood isn't waving the "America F*** Yeah" flag particularly hard here, and the people who are getting the spotlight in this issue are individuals who don't otherwise receive a lot of attention from the teary-eyed glimpses back to that great and glorious American Revolution.
The one individual here who is well-known from the Revolution period, John Adams, doesn't look that great in the context of the comic. He also references George Washington doing nothing but "collecting pensions."
The Green Mountain Boys are the heroes of the piece, using guerilla and hit-and-run tactics to keep the British off the backs of the retreating Continental Army. Even they are, at least, wanting to get compensated instead of simply doing everything for the love of America.
That's not intended to insult them, especially the ones who get pinned down and brutally killed by the British soldiers. I'm simply stating, hey, if I were doing what they were doing, I'd like to be paid for it too. I wouldn't survive of course, because I'm out of shape and as skittish as a squirrel on a freeway full of semi-trucks.
More to the narrative itself, it is pretty compelling. The Green Mountain Boys seem like a band of badasses, putting their lives on the line to protect fleeing civilians and soldiers. They hide in trees and shoot down pursuing red-coats. They're cool enough to even make me want to stand and say the pledge of allegiance.
Or at least take a knee and listen to the national anthem while Sean Hannity loses his absolute shit.
Sorry, I can't turn it off.
There is something to the honesty and earnestness of Allen and Warner too. They want to serve, but they want to receive fair treatment from the Continental Congress. They want independence, but they don't want to be shot at while their family starves. That's fair in my opinion. Even Adams isn't an outright villain, he's just trying to be practical. Money isn't infinite, and minutemen and militia across the nation are forming on a dime to drop redcoats.
You know, it's really funny remembering that this is a UK-based site sometimes.
The art is really good. Joan Urgell's rough and gritty style is quite effective for the tale being told. It allows you to feel the cold and dangerous world in which the Green Mountain Boys are fighting. The colors by Lauren Affe give some texture and atmosphere to the proceedings, cementing the ability to feel for the ad-hoc and grimy fighting being done.
Rebels: These Free and Independent States #8 is a good read. If you're into comic book depictions of lesser-known parts of American history, Rebels #8 is definitely worth your time. If you need an injection of patriotism into your eyeballs, this will give it to you, and I do recommend it.