Review – A Man Among Ye #1 (Image/Top Cow)

Publisher: Image Comics/Top Cow
Writer: Stephanie Philips
Artwork: Craig Cermak
Colours: Brittany Pezzillo
Letters: Troy Peteri
Release Date: 10th June 2020

Yarrrr! Barrels of rum and pieces of eight. Who doesn’t like a good bit of high seas adventure? Pirates, much like other tropes and genres, seem to come and go, waxing and waning in popularity. It’s been a while since I finished Black Sails and with the Disney Pirates franchise running out of steam (in my opinion, anyway), I found myself hoping that new series from Philips et al would scratch that itch.

Being told nothing other than this was something piratey, I hoisted the main sail and dove in. Okay okay, I really need to quash the puns and sea-dog references… At a punt, I guessed the title might have been a play on words and alluded to a female protagonist. I was pretty much bang on the money with this being a tale of the famous, or perhaps that should be infamous, Anne Bonney. I say a tale, as the author takes pains to remind us that where pirates are concerned, fact is often hard to come by. So rather than focus on historical accuracy, we can handwave away some details and focus on the flavour.

Whilst the artwork from Craig Cermak and Brittany Pezzillo is consistently good, I’m not sure I bought into the overall direction. With bright colours and clean lines, this is more Cutthroat Island than gritty drama. The opening splash, with two ships facing off, cannons roaring, and boarding action in full swing, sets this up nicely. The action is well displayed and there’s a few ‘oomph’ moments (with some delightful choice of letters from Troy Peteri), but everything is too neat for me. No doubt it’ll be pleasing to many, but I think dialling it back a little would potentially have given a bigger visual pay-off.

Story wise this is easy to follow, but for those familiar with the legends of Anne Bonney, Calico Jack, and Mary Read there perhaps wasn’t much of a strong hook in this first issue. The character introductions are done well, and we’re clearly being treated to a somewhat romanticised, likeable version of these characters rather than the often-disparaging recounting in historical text. Whilst I personally didn’t get much from the build-up here, the stage has been set to explore this world in whatever way the team wish as this series unfolds.

Rating: 2.5/5

The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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