Advance Review: ‘A Man Among Ye’ #1 – Wake Up And Smell The Gunpowder
by Malissa White
An explosive start to the series, A Man Among Ye offers readers high seas adventure with plenty of swashbuckling action. Issue #1 opens with the capture of a British pirate ship with Captain John “Calico Jack” Rackham at the helm and Anne Bonny at the trigger. Successful in their conquest, Calico Jack and crew are destined for the land of fine rum and women in Nassau. But unbeknownst to them, a mysterious stowaway has sights on the Kingston and mutiny brews among the ranks. Probably has something to do with the bounty on his head thanks to Governor Rogers. Nassau might not be a friendly port after all.
I’m completely here for writer Stephanie Phillip’s re-telling of the Calico Jack’s infamous tale. And his story has enough gaps in history for some truly inventive storytelling. Phillips takes full advantage of this fact, positioning the appearance of black clad badass Anne Bonny almost immediately after Jack’s introduction. She arrives with a bang: hanging from the ship’s Jacob’s ladder, pistol in hand and mischievous grin on her lips. Almost as if she’s waiting for Calico Jack and the rest of the crew to catch up.
My favorite Anne moment follows shortly afterward when she finds a surviving British soldier on board. Artist Craig Cermak does a frankly amazing job conveying the soldier’s fear. That wide-eyed panic, bloodied mouth, and well placed shading is so damn dynamic I stopped in my tracks. Considering Anne commands a place in most of the comic, it’s fair to assume we’ll all be under her boot in future issues. Bring it on, Phillips.
Rounding out this team are Brittany Pezzillo’s colors and Troy Peteri’s letters. Peteri gives us a scratching script lettering style that gives me the sense the comic is the penned story from a surviving crew member. That, and some truly fun blood spray sound effects that perfectly compliment the action. Pezzillo’s touch is all over every single page. I’m feeling the subtle enhancements to the closeups. Their colors give depth, glow, and three-dimensional texture to Cermak’s varied faces. Case in point: the flame glow on British soldier’s face.
I’m a bit surprised by A Man Among Ye being under Top Cow. It’s not their typical fare, but then again, it isn’t your typical pirate story. Perspective with a punch, I’m looking forward to seeing how Phillip’s explores sex and sexuality in the next installment. It’s rumored Mary and Anne had a relationship (with and without Calico Jack). I’m personally rooting for gender fluid pirate girls who kiss.
A Man Among Ye is published through Image Comics’ imprint Top Cow and written by Stephanie Phillips, with art by Craig Cermak, colors by Brittany Pezzillo, letters by Troy Peteri, and editing by Elena Salcedo. Craig Cermak and Stjepan Sejic provide covers. Set sail on Top Cow, Image, Comixology, and your local retailers.