Things get trippy this month as Lottie and Peruvia traverse the subconscious in Ash and Thorn #3. Creators Mariah McCourt and Soo Lee return and also offer two entries from the “Pickle’s Pantry”. Also in the issue is the prose story “The Girl Thought” by Christeen Amburgey, featuring art by Ameilee Sullivan. The issue ends with “Eight Minutes and Twenty Seconds”, a short story by Michael Penncavage backed by artwork by Rob Steen. In total, this is another packed issue from AHOY Comics.
Up until now, Ash & Thorn has been a fairly ‘grounded’ urban fantasy story, but this issue’s chapter adds a layer of psychedelia to the series. Lottie and Peruvia’s traversal of the subconscious is a great change of pace. The imagery, by way of Soo Lee, is a sight to behold. It was unexpected and a pleasant surprise. Hopefully Ash & Thorn continues to surprise with issues like this.
The psychedelic nature of the artwork in this issue brings praise to Soo Lee, but acclaim must also be given to Pippa Bowland’s colors. The purple clouds of the dream world take over the gutter of the subconscious pages. Colors are often the unsung hero of comics. Bowland’s work here allows for readers to be sucked into the subconscious just like Lottie and Peruvia.
The Pickle’s Pantry continues to provide tangible sustenance for readers, especially with the increase of home bakers in various stages of lockdown around the world. The two prose backup stories entertain as much as they unsettle. Both build to uncomfortable final paragraphs, but both are definitely recommended.
As always, there’s little to critique. If it takes longer than a few minutes to think of a possible negative of the issue, then creators Mariah McCourt and Soo Lee have done something right. This could be the best issue of the series yet, so digging out the comically sized magnifying glass to inspect for drawbacks feels like a redundant mission.
Ash & Thorn #3 is a standout issue for the series. With phenomenal visuals and enough backup extras to make the book worth more than the cover price, readers should do themselves a favor and add this series to their pull lists.