Publisher: Image Comics/Top Cow
Writer: Stephanie Philips
Artwork: Josh George
Colours: John Kalisz
Letters: Troy Peteri
Release Date: 20th October 2021
Featuring a truly dynamic opening sequence in which Anne Bonny savagely demonstrates just why the Pirate queen is so feared by those cutthroats who sail the high seas, Stephanie Phillips’ narrative for issue seven of A Man Among Ye certainly sets a cracking pace. But whilst this vicious, and ultimately fatal furore with a decidedly vile bounty hunter contains some truly sense-shattering swashbuckling with flaming torches, daggers, and deadly throwing knives, this comic feels like it sage somewhat in the middle as it focuses upon a whimsical Captain John Rackham reminiscing about his time spent with his former red-haired lover two years earlier.
Of course, such a flashback firmly establishes the tight, intimate bond the pair enjoyed when previously carousing the Caribbean during “the waning days of piracy.” However, such second thoughts as to whether the rugged skipper will actually go through with his plan to give his ex-lover “a slow and painful death” doesn’t necessarily require Josh George to pencil six pages worth of panels. Indeed, a single splash illustration might have just as successfully delivered an insight into Rackham’s internal emotional battle, and resultantly given this comic’s creative team a little more room to explore Bonny’s successful escape from prison.
Enjoyably however, once Philips’ storyline does return to Anne’s desperate flight through a series of poorly-known underground passageways, this book’s earlier briskness returns in spades – most notably once a few well-placed Redcoats spot the fleeing jailbirds as they make their way to the port’s docks. This fracas genuinely helps sell how much more formidable a band of fighters the fleeing women have become since fate first threw them together, and the look of uncertainly upon the British riflemen’s faces as they confront such bold battlers is one of the highlights of the publication.
Likewise it’s nice to see both Phillips and George trying to give the swelling cast as much individual spotlight as possible during these intense, tightly-framed fight scenes. The likes of Jane Castor, Iris and Mary Read have debatably been little more than non-speaking passengers for much of the group’s flight, so it’s rather enjoyable to finally witness them either blasting away at a hot-headed assault by the King’s finest, or demonstrating their prodigious seamanship skills when in a pinch.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]