Back in March when we reviewed Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror 2 #6, we pointed out the back up piece “Pickle’s Pantry”. At the time we said that while not much could be said, it built interest for AHOY’s new series Ash and Thorn. Well, it’s finally here and we can finally say more.
Ash and Thorn opens with the titular chapter written by Mariah McCourt with art by Soo Lee (colors by Pippa Bowland). The creative team continues into the first of two back up extras as we get another entry from Pickle’s Pantry. Closing things out this for this debut is the short story “No Smoke Without” by Dan Mickletwhaite, featuring art by Meredith McClaren. So does it live up to the hype from Snifter of Terror way back in March?
Ash and Thorn expertly treads the line between recognizable and original. You might think you’ve heard the story before, but you haven’t. The world’s protector who isn’t sure about world saving yet. The mentor figure. The sidekick. Sound familiar? Think again.
During the editor’s note section, the phrase “Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Golden Girls” describes the tone better than this review could. Our heroes, Lottie and Peruvia, are in their 70s and will tell you themselves, they’re getting too old for this world-saving business. It’s an inventive idea strengthened by Soo Lee’s artwork.
In fact, the all-female creative team bring this book to life. Praise must also be given to Pippa Bowland’s colors and Jill Thompson’s fantastic cover.
“No Smoke Without” is a great second-person story that should be read. That narrative position is so difficult to nail down without sounding gimmicky, but Dan Mickletwhaite has managed it here.
As is often the case with AHOY comics, there’s little to critique here. Creatively, nothing is wrong with the issue. If a negative was to be drawn out, it would be the amount of content. It almost feels silly to say this, as Ash and Thorn still stands out from shelves as ridiculous value for money. But in comparison to other AHOY titles, the backups are slightly lacklustre.
The Pickle’s Pantry entry, while amusing, is not that different from the teaser seen in Snifter of Terror back in March. When viewed next to “No Smoke Without” especially, the Pickle’s Pantry feels like a teaser for the comic you’ve just read. It’s a shame, really, as this “negative” wouldn’t even exist if AHOY didn’t consistently put out books with three or more interesting backup pieces.
In all, this is still a fantastic issue on par with the quality readers expect from AHOY. McCourt and Lee have brought something fresh to a genre that sorely needed it. Pair this with a fabulous cover and backup content, and you have more than enough reason to pick this series up.