Review: The Voyages of She Buccaneer #4

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A bountiful chest awaits

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Following the first three issue run of the She Buccaneer, Heidi and Will Hughes are back with a new story arc that continues the quest to find the Eyes of the Seven Seas.  Unlike the previous series, where each issue had the female pirate and her crew seeking a different eye, issue #4 kicks off a three issue arc where the She Buccaneer and her crew head to the China Sea looking for the eye of the Jade Dragon.

shebuccaneer4cover.jpgIt’s been a while since the She Buccaneer graced this site, and the first thing that readers will have to once again get used to is the fast paced jumpy story telling of Heidi Hughes.  It’s not a bad story telling method, as it reminds one of the fast paced method employed by the writers and publishers of the mid 1970s, where an entire epic adventure, spanning the length of the galaxy, could be told in one 80-page giant issue.  The jumpiness in story is partially covered up by the fact that the reader is being told the story via flashback by Mr. Featherbone — one of the members of the crew, now much older, and hoping to score free drinks for the recounting of his adventures.

In this outing, the pirate crew catches up with Black Ben Claggert, who has stolen a crystal skull that contains the map to the whereabouts of the remaining eyes.  Unfortunately, Claggert has hooked up with a crew of Asian pirates and their mystic wizards who imprison the crew to work in the opium fields.  While Claggert takes a troop to seek the Eye of the Jade Dragon, the She Buccaneer is subjected to the abuse of the female wizard in what is claimed to be training in the mystical arts.  Over a period of time, and after being turned into monkeys and dogs, the crew does make their escape where they are able to catch up to Black Ben, at which point giant monkey gods attack and cause chaos in the quest.

The issue has plenty of high points, with lots of action and danger throughout. Lately, I’ve been very interested in the time prior to the atomic bomb, when magic and mysticism was still alive and strong throughout the world, as the tales seem to be filled with greater wonder and the world was much larger than it appears to be now.  She Buccaneer does have an epic feel to it and being able to read the next installment is a real treat.

Since this is a self published book, and a $3.99 one at that, I’m concerned that Great Big Comics will have difficulty meeting the demands of Diamond Comics new minimums.  This is a shame, as if there are indie titles that deserve to get out in the hands of comic readers, The Voyages of She Buccaneer is certainly on that list.

One thing that may keep the series alive and might even increase circulation is the art by Will Hughes.  Once again, he delivers nice fluid character designs that move on the page.  One thing that did strike me on the opening page was how much more endowed the She Buccaneer is than she appeared in the previous series.   The good girl art continues following the crew’s capture as their leader is forced to wear a single silk ribbon wrapped around her full figure and fight with a sword.  Yes, it does come off as pandering to the slobbering teens who can’t/won’t go out and have a conversation with an actual girl, but for the rest of us, the art is simply fun.

I’m hopeful the story telling will settle down a bit, now that this is a three issue arc, giving the characters a chance to grow and stretch their legs.  Considering the issue ends with She Buccaneer at the steps of the palace of the Jade Dragon, and with two issues to go, I think this might get reader more involved with the characters in the story rather than the fast paced journey.  Even with the minor problems, I really enjoy this series for many reasons; a solid story being told, an indie publisher competing with the big two, and some really nice art.  The Voyages of the She Buccaneer #4 is solid enough to earn 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

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