The funny thing about gods in comics, at least in the last 20 or so years, is that their powers always seem to be tied to people’s belief. If nobody believes in them they die. That doesn’t seem to be the case in Vertigo’s latest series, though, now that a god has been resurrected from the pen of a protagonist who didn’t know she had powers at all. Is it good?
Red Thorn #3 (Vertigo Comics)
The last issue delivered a satisfying sense of magic and mystery as Isla uncovers what she has done. She can draw things and make them come to life and she’s done so for a suave looking god named Thorn. This issue starts after a long night of drinking and presumably coping with her actions.
Why does this book matter?
Cool power? Check. Imaginative world to explore? Check. Strong female protagonist who is written in a mature and well rounded way? Check.
Did they hook up?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Isla’s story progresses nicely and it’s fun to see a woman who was once just a regular joe walk around with ogre protectors. She rolls with it and writer David Baillie allows their interchange to keep things interesting as she attempts to find her boyfriend. What she finds is shocking and it’ll be fun to see where the story takes us next issue.
Thorn’s story is filled with a bit more action and the fight sequence with a certain Loch Ness Monster is exciting. I quite liked how Baillie drops some info on some powerful weapons. He eventually meets up with a goddess and this adds a bit of sex to the book. That sexiness is going to be bleeding into the human world rather quickly if the cliffhanger has anything to say about it and should expand the plot nicely.
It’s funny but the art by Meghan Hetrick blends a cartoon look with cel shading and bright colors well with the nudity and violence. It makes the book feel like a storybook, but also realistic. Like a good late night cartoon for adults. Hetrick does well to render the monsters creepy and realistic, from the ogres who protect Isla, to the Loch Ness Monster himself. It’s a unique look that reminds me of Joe Madureira.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The issue is bookended with some characters in Morocco and I’m not sure it succeeds entirely. It’s a jarring start and I was confused as to who these characters were or why I should care. Gods are everywhere, sure, but this element seems to be forced in to serve the plot by issue’s end. If it was introduced earlier in the series it might have had a more impactful resonance, but maybe they wanted to keep things in the UK for stylistic reasons?
Thorn spends quite a bit of time complaining about the person who shackled him centuries ago and it comes off as whining. His whole look is a bit too fresh and styled which doesn’t help matters. This makes the Thorn character somewhat unlikable. The first two issues spent a great deal of time setting up his sexy demeanor and evilness, but this issue takes that back and replaces it with emo couture.
This intro doesn’t entirely work.
Is It Good?
This is an average read with good elements at play. The main protagonist continues to be strong, but Thorn takes a step back.
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