Comic Crazy: REVIEWING Pirates of the Caribbean - Beyond Port Royal

Welcome back to the Real World According to Sam! It is Tuesday, so today we are going to be discussing a pretty recent limited comic series volume. As you all know, I am a HUGE Disney fan and I was really happy that my local library got this one added to their collection. This is also one of my first summer reads for this year.


Pirates of the Caribbean: Beyond Port Royal

Publisher: Joe Books Ltd. (Disney Comics Imprint)
Rating: All Ages
Writer: Chris Schweizer
Illustrator: Joe Flood
Published: April 2017
Run: November 2016 - March 2017 

Synopsis:

With no wind to fill the sails of the Black Pearl, Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew find themselves stuck in Port Royal. Jack knows of an ancient object rumored to call up the wind, but getting their hands on it won't be easy. Return to the world of Captain Jack Sparrow in these untold tales of pirate adventure on the high seas!

Fans of the smash-hit Disney Pirates of the Caribbean films will love this all-new collection featuring original art and brand new adventures from issues #1-4 of the comic series from Joe Books.



Review: 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Beyond Port Royal as the synopsis says, collects issues #1-4 of the limited series. This is the complete collection, as no further ones have been released. 

Each issue tells a separate story in the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow. Every issue seems like it could basically stand alone, as there don't seem to be a lot of connectors from issue to issue, except maybe for issues #1 and #4, simply because in #1 Jack is seeking a map, and in #4 he is following a map. It is unspecified whether the maps are the same, but it is easy to believe that they could be, although the stories in each are very different. 

The four issues tell of adventures that happen three days after The Curse of the Black Pearl's conclusion when Jack escapes the gallows with Will's help, but before Dead Man's Chest begins, as the crew is being chased by Commodore Norrington although he is never shown. This is all setup with just two quick text boxes on the first page of issue #1. Beyond this set up, none of the future events of the later four films are mentioned at all. After watching the first movie, these comics could be read, without having to have any knowledge of what comes after. 

Issue #1 involves Jack and his crew going after a map on an island that is generally believed deserted. Jack has acquaintances on the island who he entrusted with a map which he wants back, but there is a sinister kidnapping plot occurring that Jack gets dragged into. To get his map, he has to help save the kidnapped islanders. 

Issue #2 takes Jack to port, where he is trying to broker a deal with Anamaria's family (mother and sisters) involving a ship. He gets more than he bargained for when he gets caught up in yet another domestic dispute. This time a group of thugs that collects taxes from others have had a falling out, causing division and an attempt to acquire multiple payments, which doesn't sit well with Anamaria's family who have already paid their monthly debt. In order to acquire a ship, Jack decides to get his hands into the mix and see what impact he can have on the group's actions and organization that will benefit him in the end. 

Issue #3 puts Jack and his crew back on the seas, where they come across a shipwreck where Jack encounters a mythical banshee and finds himself the vessel of the spirit of a sailor who passed away. This forces him to have to tell the truth, which causes a sinister plot at the next port to be uncovered, even if full honesty causes Jack to be tossed unwillingly into confinement to begin with. 

Issue #4 takes Jack and his crew up a river, looking for treasure. This leads them to a cult, and some overly thin and very aged Spanish conquistadors, that cause more trouble than Jack may be prepared for. 

The art style is cartoony, yet more sophisticated than the mini-comics once published in the Disney Adventures magazine that stopped being published in late 2007. I think it would actually be interesting to see some of the Pirates comics from there be republished as its own collection (some of the comics from this magazine HAVE been collected and sold, but not the Pirates comic). The comic market for the franchise does not seem to be used to its max potential yet, though I think it would have a lot of potential for success if pursued more fervently. The art style is not as mature as the visual elements and tones presented in the films, but it makes the stories more accessible for an audience that might be more likely to buy them on a whim (families). The colors tend to be very bright, although each issue has its own predominant color scheme in place to fit each setting and story. The settings themselves are distinct from issue to issue, which allows for more visual fun and diversity from story to story. You aren't reading the same story over and over again, and none of the films are simply rehashed in comic form. This volume is its own thing and it definitely did its job of entertaining me. 

Overall, this is a fun volume that provides entertaining exchanges between Jack, his crew, and a large cast of background characters. It is fun to have new Pirates of the Caribbean adventures that are almost stand alone stories. It would be more fun if the series was continued so we could have more. There haven't been very many independent stories within the franchise told outside of the films (beyond the Young Jack Sparrow chapter book series), so it would be nice to see more adventures be created in comic format. It is not a very dark comic and is much lighter than the films, so I think it would have a lot of audience potential, although a teen rated title by a larger publishing house could also prove to be a lot of fun to tell stories with some of the darker elements of the films (the skeletal curses, prison escapes, etc.) that have made the franchise so fun. 

This is a light read that is largely humorous and fun. While some adult comic readers would probably pass on it, I think fans of the movies who don't mind entertaining a more youthful side of themselves would find plenty of enjoyment in this volume. 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Beyond Port Royal earns a LoneStar Rating of: 
✯✯✯✯

This concludes another review at The Real World According to Sam. As always, leave comments about if you'd consider reading this comic or what other comics and novels you'd like to see reviewed/featured in the future! See you soon!



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