Publisher: Image Comics/Top Cow
Writer: Stephanie Philips
Artwork: Craig Cermak
Colours: Brittany Pezzillo
Letters: Troy Peteri
Release Date: 13th January 2021
Firmly fixated upon Anne Bonny’s daring attempt to rescue Captain Jack Rackham from his imprisonment on Fort Nassau, Stephanie Phillips’ narrative for issue four of A Man Among Ye arguably contains it all, from fast-paced swordplay and ear-shattering explosions through to shrewd scheming and villainous treachery. Indeed, apart from this twenty-page periodical’s rather frustrating conclusion, which sees the injured female pirate and her unconventional crew fleeing from the Bahamas-based fortification empty-handed, this comic book is virtually flawless, and doubtless will have many within its audience clamouring for the Phillips to pen some more adventures about the notorious buccaneer sooner rather than later.
Much of this publication’s success stems from the writer steering well-clear of lazily having this mini-series’ lead protagonist steamroll her way through Woodes Rogers’ forces, regardless of the governor’s formidable firepower, sizeable fleet and numerous soldiers. Instead, Bonny uses her brains to infiltrate the dauntingly defended stronghold, and rather cleverly latches onto the story of the Fall of Ancient Troy as told to Mary Read by a friendly sailor on the night her father was murdered by brigands; “The Trojans took the horse into their impenetrable city, only to have Greek warriors climb out of the horse once night fell.”
Similarly as successful is Phillips’ use of Jane Castor and her loyal companion Iris, who both play prominent roles throughout Anne’s delightful deception. Jonathan’s “gorgeous daughter” does a good job of fooling Rogers into believing she has somehow captured one of the most wanted pirates in the Caribbean, and debatably provides one of this comic’s highlights when she soundly socks the always-arrogant Woodes squarely on the nose. Whilst the high-born lady’s former servant plays a pivotal role in decimating the ex-English sea captain’s docked armada with a few well-placed torches and plenty of gunpowder.
Of course, this book’s greatest moment comes when an utterly astonished Bonny realises that she has risked all for a man completely unworthy of both her loyalty and love. Rackham’s decision to stand alongside the duplicitous Charles Vane and cold-bloodedly kill his former partner provides a genuine heart-stopping moment within the magazine, and the realisation that Calico Jack was entirely prepared to shoot her dead in that instant is as shocking as artist Craig Cermak dynamically pencilling Iris mortally burying her axe-head deep within Vane’s chest several moments later.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]