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‘A Man Among Ye #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Pirates hold a special place in my heart. They symbolize a certain devilish freedom that near every young person desires to obtain. To be the master of your own destiny in a world of rules and rigor is a noble goal. A Man Among Ye attempts to do the same thing in the comic world.

The cover announces this intention proudly. I was impressed with the character design; the brilliant red head on the cover is thrust into sharp contrast with the hazy profiles of various manly men.

This issue opens with a bang. A battle is a great place to start any story, and it seems essentially fitting in a series set on the high seas; however, the story begins with the captain of the ship who is not our main character, and this was one of the first red flags for me.  The issue overall feels like a half measure. Someone tried very hard to make a series that skirted the line of following traditions while attempting to usurp a few, but it simply doesn't do either fully.  The writing starts strong, with the captain being saved by Anne, but the issue fails to go anywhere beyond that moment. The main characters are flat, and fall into a series of tired tropes that are overly predictable.

MINOR SPOILERS BELOW

The main issue that I have with this issue is that it follows the tropes of the pirate genre we've seen time and time again. The established crew doesn't like the main character because she's a woman, despite her being the most capable fighter in the book. The captain is essentially a suave debonair who, despite being a master pirate, has little in the way of showing it. The antagonist is a British naval man bent on revenge.  The writing seems to be a slave to the conventions of the genre while attempting to insert a slight twist on them. While I am all for mixing things up, I don't feel it goes far enough.

From an art perspective, the book is well drawn, although many of the male characters seem nearly identical. This might have been intentional, as an attempt to distinguish the main characters, but the same facial expressions and body types plague the book. In addition, the main character, despite her relatively modest dress, is still falls into the classic male gaze-style woman with an hourglass figure and beautiful face.  The best aspects of the issue are the use of color and some excellent costuming.

While I am not in love with this work, i am in love with the idea of this book.  Comic books often have trouble finding their footing on issue one. I am hoping this series is simply the set up for a larger, less genre-bound run.


Creative Team:  Stephanie Phillips (Writer), Craig Cermak (Artist), Brittany Pezzillo (Colors)
Publisher: Image Comics
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Last modified on Monday, 15 June 2020 20:40

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