If readers remember, Rebels #8 was my first interaction with the series and I loved it. It had everything that makes historical fiction great. After reading it, I couldn’t wait for the next issue. It’s been about two weeks but here we are, back at it with another great story written by Brian Wood. Andrea Mutti once again shows off her artistic skills with realistic-looking scenery and characters, complimented by Jared K. Fletcher’s lettering. Jordie Bellaire’s colors pop and instantly attract the reader’s eyes into the America of long ago. This week’s issue is a one-shot about a Shawnee Native American titled, “Stone Hoof,” who is brilliantly drawn on the cover by Tula Lotay.
Stone Hoof is the main character, hence the title of the issue. His story begins in the Ohio Valley circa 1750. We see a young Stone Hoof, around 8 years of age, delivering water to a British soldier named Will Henderson and his men who are building Fort Stalwart to defend their land against the French. Stone Hoof doesn’t get why William and his men would fight an enemy that was so big they needed to build a wall to protect themselves. When the Shawnee faced a bigger enemy, they kept moving to different lands so the enemy couldn’t catch them. Stone Hoof did have to move away from William and his men, for his tribe was following the herds as winter approached.
It’s now 1755 and Stone Hoof returns to the Ohio Valley as a young man. Fort Stalwart has been completed for some time, William Henderson and his men are living there and the French and Indian War has broken out. Stone Hoof remembers everything about William and the Fort from when he was a boy. William remembers everything too and comes out to talk to Stone Hoof. Stone Hoof is heckled and called names by the troops in the fort. William invites Stone Hoof in but Stone Hoof politely declines but does share knowledge of French movement in the valley and how much manpower they have. Two years later, Stone Hoof’s relationship with William will be severely tested.
The issue jumps ahead to 1757. The French and Indian War rages on, with Stone Hoof caught in the middle of it all. William is still a great friend but the Shawnees have sided with the French and are about to launch a night time attack on Fort Stalwart. Decked in war paint and feathers, the Shawnee shoot flaming arrows at the walls, and then breach them, mercilessly killing the British soldiers inside. Stone Hoof is conflicted about storming the walls he helped built and killing the men he befriended but knows his tribe comes first. As the Shawnee clear the fort, the French bomb it, killing anyone still in it whether they were Shawnee or British. Stone Hoof is appalled but knows Natives mean nothing to either side other than being extra manpower they can recruit at will.
Stone Hoof finds a wounded Will at a river and talks to him about why he stormed the fort with the Shawnee. He is happy that Will lived and explains that the Shawnee were aligned with the French and he had to stay loyal to his tribe. It was never about Will, just the Shawnee did not like the British. Stone Hoof says he had a father-son relationship with Will disagrees after everything that had happened. Stone Hoof tries to understand why the Europeans fight over natural resources when they can all share what the land has. Will snaps saying he liked Stone Hoof better when he was a kid and didn’t understand much. Stone Hoof gives Will one last bucket of water then leaves. Will thinks about what happened, then takes the bucket to the wounded British troops.
Once again, this series has done nothing but impress me. The writing and artistry are amazing and it balances history and fiction. The Ohio Valley played a pivotal role in the American Revolution. It was originally French territory it was surrendered to the British as part of the Treaty of Paris in 1763. The American colonists wanted to move into this land but the British passed the Quebec Act in 1774, making Ohio part of Canada and therefore off limits to the colonists. The views of the Natives are portrayed perfectly. They were seen as savages and as the French saw defeat get closer, they turned on the Natives. It’s not very often the French and Indian War is discussed outside of the classroom. That setting made this issue really unique aside from it being a one-shot. I strongly advise everyone, history buff or not, to read this Rebels.
Written by Brian Wood
Art by Andrea Mutti
Colors by Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Jared K. Fletcher
Cover by Tula Lotay
Publication Date: December 09, 2015
Format: FC, 32 pages; Ongoing
UPC: 7 61568 26245 2 00911