Publisher: Image Comics/Top Cow
Writer: Stephanie Philips
Artwork: Craig Cermak
Colours: Brittany Pezzillo
Letters: Troy Peteri
Release Date: 28th October 2020
Opening with a swashbuckling duel between buccaneer Anne Bonny and Jane Castor’s servant girl, and finishing with the bloody elimination of John Rackham’s treacherous crew, Stephanie Phillips’ script for issue three of A Man Among Ye certainly promises its audience a pulse-pounding depiction of a pirate’s life during the Eighteenth Century. But whilst such an entertaining carousel of sword-play, double-dealing, and brutal murder undeniably provides this twenty-page periodical’s plot with plenty of pace, the storyteller’s execution and logic arguably lets down this epic adventure in a couple of places.
For starters, it is quickly explained that the significantly wealthy lady Castor has fled with Iris from a disagreeable betrothal with the intention of stealing a ship and reaching New England. However, it quickly becomes clear that neither woman can actually steer a boat – or even hoist its mainsail for that matter. In addition, Jane’s companion later verbalises her belief that the pair of refugees had apparently agreed not to head for New England, so just what the couple’s plan actually was, apart from standing in someone else’s vessel during the dead of night and claiming it for themselves, appears utterly unclear.
Similarly, Bonny’s savage battle with Iris for ownership of the stolen ship is frustratingly confined to the background as the comic instead strangely focuses upon young Mary Read getting a lesson in diction from the insufferably arrogant Jane; “First. I was stealing the ship first. It’s an important distinction.” This conversation is undeniably important, as it quickly establishes the motivation behind this mini-series’ latest additions to the cast. However, by moving the swordfight momentarily ‘off-screen’, it does debatably lead to the question as to just how a simple domestic is able to stand her ground for such a long-winded discussion against supposedly one of the most feared fighters on the highs seas with nothing more than a small hand-axe..?
Happily, such quibbles are easily forgotten courtesy of some excellent layouts by Craig Cermak, which are so detailed that many readers will doubtless feel it is well worth the effort to go back and scrutinise each panel for at least a second or third viewing. The 2011 Kubert School graduate does a particularly fine job of pencilling Governor Woodes Rogers’ soldiers gunning down Rackham’s former shipmates without any compunction whatsoever, with each sailor’s disbelief and terror evidently etched on their faces or visible in their frantic movements.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]