Or – Yo, ‘ho! A Pirates Life for Me
When I first saw the solicitation for The Voyages of She Buccaneer, I put it on my list because a) the art looked really good, and b) the art looked really good. When it arrived on my doorstep last week, I really thought this was going to be porn for pre-teens, but after flipping through the book a couple of times, I found a story that could have put Jack Sparrow to shame.
Or I should say, this book is what the second and third installments of Pirates of the Caribbean should have been had everyone involved not gone down the whole Davy Jones locker route. There are certainly some similarities to be made between the two; the main story is trying to return a loved one from the dead, and there are of course pirates.
What really made me sit up and take notice is this three issue series from Great Big Comics is based on a screenplay by Heidi and Bill Hughes that was copyright in 2001 (She Buccaneer originally appeared in 1992 in her first adventure from Monster Comics), a full two years before Pirates hit the big screen.
If Indiana Jones were a pirate, and a well endowed female, then that is exactly the type of tale you would find in the pages of She Buccaneer. The tale starts off with the heroine in jail about to be executed, just like her former lover, when she is propositioned by an Arabic boy to take him to Egypt, where he will show her the Tomb of Eden, and the secret to immortality that promises to return her dear departed to life. Freeing a group of nerâ€™doâ€™wells, who promise to follow her on the journey in return for riches, the group steal a ship (there are advantages to being a female captain) and make their way to the great deserts of Africa.
The mystical/religious aspects in this tale are interesting, like an Indiana Jones tale, and you also get the adventures as the group moves from point A to point B. In a nutshell, this issue presents you with pirates escaping from a death sentence, sword fights, nomadic tribes, the title character dancing topless for her captors, betrayal, Adam and Eve, a demon, magic, more sword fighting, crystal skulls, a centerfold, and a payoff that sets the reader up for the next tale.
The biggest problem with the storytelling, isnâ€™t the pirate-esque narration, but rather Heidi Hughes cramming the entire adventure into a single issue. While everything moves quickly, I think greater character development, and the opportunity to make the third act that much more spectacular could have been accomplished with a two issue tale.
On the flip side of that argument, Great Big Comics is a new, small company, and it is probably banking a lot of their future endeavors on the success of this one issue. Should sales of the first issue tank, the readers who bought the issue could find themselves hanging. And if you have already placed your August orders, youâ€™ll notice the second issue is being solicited then – bi-monthly at best, making it even more difficult to keep the title on the reader radar.
Yes, I did place my order for issue #2 because a) I like the art, b) Iâ€™m intrigued by the the further adventures to find the seven gems of the seven seas, c) the promise of giant mutant cannibals of Atlantis, and d) I really like the art.
If you canâ€™t tell, I really like Bill Hughes artwork, although there are times when the lead characters change just enough for you to notice the changes (hair styles especially). But Iâ€™m not sure readers who buy this series will notice it too much, as theyâ€™ll probably be staring at some of the other things Hughes has drawn in the issue. If I had to compare Hughes art to others, I would say it is a cross between Adam Hughes and Joe Chiodo, with a dash of Jim Lee. Itâ€™s really that good. I wish I knew if Bill were accepting commission work, because I would really like to see what he could do with a female character called Major Spoilers…
I really like the character of the She Buccaneer and really think the story is a solid one, even with the problem of story compression in the first issue. While a stand alone story, this issue kicks off a much bigger story arc, that Iâ€™m not sure can be resolved in two more issues – there are seven gems they have to discover, so hopefully, the Hughes and Great Big Comics can sell enough for the tales to continue. A fun and quick read, Iâ€™m giving The Voyages of She Buccaneer #1 4 out of 5 Stars.
If you want to read that first tale from 1992, and want to see a lot of sketches of the heroine (and photos too), you can see more at shebuccaneer.com.