A Man Among Ye #1 is published by Image Comics, under the Top Cow Imprint, written by Stephanie Philips, art by Craig Cermak, colors by Brittany Pezzillo, and letters by Troy Peteri. The year is 1720, and pirates raid across the Caribbean. One particular ship, The Kingston, captained by one Jack “Calico Jack” Rackham, sets its sight on a new prize. And standing by her captain’s side as always is one Anne Bonney.
As someone who’s only familiarity with the pirate Anne Bonney was through a song, I was intrigued by the premise of this book. While little historical record of the factual Anne Bonney remains I always find it interesting to see historical fiction take a stab at highlighting personalities little is actually known about. Just look what it did for King Arthur. With this sense of curiosity with me, I dove into A Man Among Ye #1. I wasn’t disappointed with what I got.
A Man Among Ye #1 attempts to walk a fine line. When we are first introduced to our protagonist, she sets fire to a merchant ship as a man aboard screams for mercy. Anne is portrayed as fairly charismatic from this point on. Even dashing in that classic Errol Flynn sort of way. And yet, she is a pirate. This leaves the reader struggling with how to feel about Anne. While anyone who has done any study knows how bad life could be for a woman in the 1700s, does it excuse the murder of ships full of people? That writer Philips doesn’t shy away from what pirates did, or try to somehow absolve her main character of the acts is appreciated. She is a pirate. However that makes you feel about Anne is for you to decide.
While the main character presents a bit of complexity, the narrative for A Man Among Ye #1 is simple and straight forward. This is by no means a bad thing. Its simple establishment of place and time allows the reader to fully take in the characters the story is going to focus on. Introducing Anne, Jack, their motley crew, and the British governor who is sure to become their arch opponent is enough for the reader to take in. Time enough in later issues to really dive into a plot.
Similarly to its story, the art of A Man Among Ye #1 is straight forward and filled with character. Cermak’s lines create a clear image of the swashbuckling that unfolds. Anne’s strength and bravado come through clearly and drive the character’s personality home. Combining this line work with Pezzillo’s vibrant colors you get images that make the heart long for adventure and the open seas. Though hopefully with more upstanding company.
While the art and story work on A Man Among Ye #1 deliver a strong showing, I’m a little torn about the lettering. While Peteri’s placement of text is well done I’m not a huge fan of the font choice. It’s a little messier than the standard and I don’t think it really brings much to the issue.
When all is said and done, I think A Man Among Ye #1 is off to a solid start. A historical fiction piece about a charismatic swashbuckling pirate always has potential. With the creative team’s willingness to wade into what pirates actually were, I think it has the potential to stand out amongst other works focusing on the oft over-romanticized group.
A Man Among Ye #1 is available June 17th wherever comics are sold.
A Man Among Ye #1
A Man Among Ye #1 is off to a solid start. A historical fiction piece about a charismatic swashbuckling pirate always has potential. With the creative team’s willingness to wade into what pirates actually were, I think it has the potential to stand out amongst other works focusing on the oft over-romanticized group.