COMIC BOOK REVIEW: RED SEAS BOOK ONE (UNDER THE BANNER OF KING DEATH) / AUTHOR: IAN EDGINGTON / ARTIST: STEVE YEOWELL / PUBLISHER: 2000 AD / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
With Red Seas Book One (Under the Banner of King Death), and its sequel, 2000 AD is breaking new ground in bringing out a DRM free digital edition of a book without a matching print version. While true, Ian Edgington’s epic pirate masterpiece has been available before though not in so substantial a form.
Running at 360 pages, no less this is a black and white set of stories of epic proportions, collecting together adventures from 2000 AD comics stretching from 2002 to 2007. The stories are set in a universe of pirates, magic, mythology, science, lost worlds and the supernatural.
The stories start with the pirate Captain Jack Dancer and, at first, owe a lot to Pirates of the Caribbean. This is no bad thing but does dilute the initial impact of the first few stories. The tales break new ground as they widen out and focus entirely on other characters, eventually fleshing out a whole universe and covering centuries. The list of interesting characters is long though contains spoilers and is to be avoided. Let us just mention such things as Dr Orlando Doyle, the Spanish Galleon, the Red Wench, a certain dog, and the Jolly Cripple, an inn much frequented by Captain Jack and his crew.
The stories burst with imagination but there is a criticism – the longest story, where we learn more about Jack’s family, is very long and sags in the middle. This is a shame as the start and end are brilliantly conceived and show the skill of the master comic writer. The artwork never falters nor gets in the way of the story telling.
Available now, through a range of digital channels, this collection is highly recommended.
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