The Kingston, a ship whose crew is already on the edge of mutiny, is now host to another young woman. Is this the breaking point? Find out in A Man Among Ye #2 from Image Comics!
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Artist: Craig Cermak
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Editor: Elena Salcedo
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 19, 2020
Previously in A Man Among Ye: As the Golden Age of Piracy draws, Calico Jack Rackham and his mistress (and formidable pirate herself) Anne Bonny fight and take a British ship in the Caribbean. Pirate she may be, but this is 1720 and most of Jack’s crew sees her only as a woman and therefore bad luck on board their ship. The pirates head to port where the crew has a chance to spend their prize money. They don’t immediately see a young lad from the British ship who stows away. In port, Governor Rogers is determined to exterminate all the pirates in the Atlantic, chief among them Calico Jack. When the pirates make their way back to their ship that evening, they find the young stowaway and throw him in the brig. Later they decide to fight him for fun. Anne Bonny comes to join in on the fun – and discovers that this young lad is actually a young lass.
PONDERING ONE’S FREEDOM
A Man Among Ye #2 opens with Mary Read admitting her name and remembering her childhood on board a ship where her father was captain, and the ship was under attack. The pirate Biff is upset at Anne for barging in on their fun, and now also at Mary simply for being another woman on board. A fight breaks out between Anne and Biff, but Calico Jack breaks it up. He takes a liking to Mary for her honesty. Jack considers her a guest and puts her in Anne Bonny’s charge.
Anne takes Mary up into the crow’s nest where they can talk. Anne is already famous, but she’s curious about the girl and shares a bit of her own story. She married a man she did not care for to lead a life she did not want – but in that day and age, women did not have much choice. In piracy, Bonny has found a place for herself where she fits. She seems to see a bit of herself in Mary and offers her a life in their crew, knowing that Jack would accept her as well. She views herself as offering Mary freedom. Mary has grown up knowing that pirates are killers and worse; she didn’t join the Navy to be murdering people.
In Fort Nassau, Governor Rogers starts hanging pirates to get the word out that their days are numbered. In prison, overlooking the gallows, is Charles Vane, a king among pirates. He gets into a discussion with one of his captured crew about freedom.
Rackham’s ship next docks in Cuba, where we learn that Biff and some of the men are planning a mutiny and the murder of Anne Bonny. Biff meets up with the two women at a bar and proposes a drinking contest. Anne, who can hold her liquor, takes him up on this. He poisons her drink. Leaving her for dead, he tosses a coin to Mary and tells her to get free of the place and walks out.
Mary makes Anne vomit up the poison and advises her to rest a bit and drink some water. Instead, Anne makes her way back to the ship – which has left without her. She finds a likely small boat that she could sail out to it, but there’s just one complication…
LIFE IN A TIME OF LAWLESSNESS
Right from the start, there is a lot of nice play of light and shadow in the art of A Man Among Ye #2. A crewmember reads to a young Mary Read (eight years before the main story) in the hold of the ship. I like the inked shadows for their contrast with the yellowish color of the candlelight. As the ship is attacked, this light changes from warm and friendly to the hellish orange tones of fire that reflect brightly in the young Mary’s hair.
I really like the interplay between Anne and Biff. This is a long rivalry. Biff is a large man, both tall and heavy. Anne is no tiny waif but compared to him, she does look small. Biff tries to intimidate her, but she stands up to him as she knows she must. Later, when he tries to kill her, he comes across as jovial and confident. Bonny is plainly skeptical of him and his intentions; her failing is in underestimating him. Subterfuge is not in his usually playbook.
BOTTOM LINE: A CLOSE BRUSH WITH DEATH
A Man Among Ye #2 expands the story now to encompass two remarkable women who have chosen unconventional lives. The road they travel is not an easy one. This is a story that draws you in, bringing to life these women with verve and fire.
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A Man Among Ye #2
Anne Bonny gains a companion – but at what cost to herself?