Publisher: Image Comics/Top Cow
Writer: Stephanie Philips
Artwork: Josh George
Colours: John Kalisz
Letters: Troy Peteri
Release Date: 13th January 2021
Initially depicting some distinctly sedentary-paced scenes involving Anne Bonny and “her crew of lady buccaneers” enjoying the rudimentary diversions of a supposed safe haven, Stephanie Phillips’ script for this opening instalment of the second volume of A Man Among Ye is probably best described as one containing two somewhat separate halves. For whilst Jane Castor’s brief attendance at a marvelously-envisaged puppet show certainly contains a modicum or two of tongue-in-cheek violence, it isn’t until the poorly disguised noblewoman encounters some knife-wielding ruffians down a darkish alleyway midway through this twenty-page periodical that things start to get truly interesting.
Indeed, up until Iris reaches for her trademark hand-axe to confront a sinister-looking, one-eyed vagabond, the most excitement this comic’s audience can arguably hope for is either Mary Read’s haughtiness over the Pirate Queen’s protracted sleeping habits or a marionette of Woodes Rogers treacherously slaying a poor-thinking pirate as part of a well-received theatre show; “Anne brings us to this sh*t port and then disappears with booze and whore while I tend the boat and clean her messes. Someone here has to at least try to do something about this situation.”
Enjoyably though, once the criminals are identified by a local, law-abiding swordsmith, the pace of this publication really heats up, with Phillips penning one of this series’ finest moments as Bonny mercilessly engages two British soldiers in an intense flurry of cold steel. Initially, it is easy for some bibliophiles to forget that the titular character is a vicious killer, and can therefore only be seen as an anti-hero at best. However, Philips makes it shockingly clear just where the female felon stands during this skirmish by having the woman lethally stab one redcoat when he’s distracted by being on fire, and unpityingly hacking apart a hapless second trooper after the kneeling figure pleads for mercy.
Ably aiding and abetting all these illegal acts is “Grimm Tales of Terror” artist Josh George, whose ability to imbue all the figures drawn within this comic with plenty of dynamic life really helps sell the lethal intensity of its action-sequences. In addition, this magazine also contains a glimpse of the gifted illustrator’s storytelling process once the actual narrative has concluded, and resultantly offers a rare insight into the world of sketched layouts which is worth the cover price alone.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]