Publisher: Image Comics/Top Cow
Writer: Stephanie Philips
Artwork: Craig Cermak
Colours: Brittany Pezzillo
Letters: Troy Peteri
Release Date: 19th August 2020
For those readers able to push through some utterly unnecessary expletives found during this twenty-one page periodical’s opening third, issue two of A Man Among Ye probably still provided them with plenty of entertainment, courtesy of Anne Bonny’s antagonistic relationship with her bald-headed, brutish shipmate Biff, and an intriguing flashback to Mary Read’s first encounter with murderous pirates eight years ago. True, the comic’s predominant focus upon the burgeoning relationship between the red-haired killer and the adolescent “lobsterback” does lead to a somewhat lengthy sedentary scene set atop the crow’s nest, but once the virtues of killing and doing “horrible things” have been aired, Stephanie Phillips’ narrative quickly gathers pace as Governor Woodes Rogers makes it abundantly clear that thieves will not be tolerated at Fort Nassau and Captain “Calico Jack” Rackham’s superstitious crew plot a deadly mutiny.
Indeed, one of the strengths of this mini-series’ story-line arguably lies in its depiction of the wider issues occurring in the Bahamas, and the Crown’s merciless determination to rid the colony of pirates. There’s clearly a lot more going on than the self-contained intrigues occurring on board the Kingston, with Phillips even squeezing in a tantalising look as to the potential fate of “the infamous pirate king”, Charles Vane, imprisoned at Rogers’ pleasure with little more than a view of the gallows to keep him company. Such fleeting insights really do provide this publication with a plethora of hooks to keep its audience enthralled, with this instalment’s cliff-hanger conclusion in particular providing the book with a captivating ending as an abandoned Bonny attempts to slope another’s sloop so as to save her Captain’s life; “I’m sorry, but I stole this boat first.”
Craig Cermak’s artwork is also impressive throughout this comic, with the co-creator of Red Team clearly putting plenty of thought and energy into his panels. Indeed, few perusing bibliophiles spying the illustrator’s tremendous sketch of Read’s father being blown sideways by a pirate ship’s cannon fire would likely be able to stop themselves momentarily wincing at the perceived sound of the ball blasting its way through thick wooden timbers, or later slightly sway in the high winds as Mary takes her “first sip of the demon rum” on the main mast.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]