Top Cow Productions 2020
Written by Stephanie Phillips
Illustrated by Craig Cermak
Coloured by John Kalisz
Lettered by Troy Peteri
The adventures of pirate queens Anne Bonny and Mary Read might be over before they begin, as a murderous mutiny sweeps "Calico Jack" Rackham's crew, forcing Anne and Mary to flee for their lives. Can they survive on the high seas long enough to plot their revenge and gather their own crew?
What an absolutely delightful book/story this has turned out to be and we’re only on the second issue! The Legend of Anne Bonney is well known and if you don’t know it then well your educational system has let you down. Suffice it to say they were the two most well known female pirates in the 18th century. This however is long before that and what Stephanie is doing here is fantastic and it is nice to see an imagining of what their initial meeting would be like. There is both an entertainment and slightly historical (fiction) quality about this that engages the readers’ mind and sparks the imagination beautifully.
I really like the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information keeps moving this ever forward beautifully. Just the way we see these situations and circumstances arise and how the act and react to them really does help with developing their personalities further. The character development really is phenomenal and it’s so nice to get lost in watching the continue to grow and develop. The pacing is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists & turn s along the way as well as a few revelations it is something that keeps the book so fresh and interesting. The way we see this being structured and how the layers are presented along with how everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow is fantastic!
I’ve been hard on Stephanie in the past but I always saw the talent and it is crazy to see how far she’s come and how talented she is. She is in her element here and it is so nice to see her shining so brightly. Kudos to being able to realise that talent with the skill and ability to weave such a strong and powerful story. Yes powerful because freedom, strength and one’s own desires are really at the forefront of what we see here.
Craig is an amazing illustrator/artist. It was such a pleasure to have something done for me in my sketchbook and meeting him for the first time at C2E2. His linework is sensational and how we see the varying weights being utilised to bring out the attention to detail is superb. Yes i would like to see more techniques and more backgrounds being utilised but it is what it is and what I want to see might enhance the pages but it still looks utterly amazing. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a remarkable eye for storytelling. The colour work is amazing as well. How we see the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is rendered perfectly.
Historical fiction can be a marvellous genre if you are willing to explore it. For me personally I adore it when it is being done this well and it just sparks a certain passion within me regarding the time period it’s set in and how we see the mannerisms, sexism and the mode of dress. This really is the kind of storytelling that if you let it will surprise you and even romance you in ways you’ve yet to experience.