In the final issue of Ash & Thorn, can Lottie save the world from an Eldritch threat? Along with the nail-biting series finale, readers also get to enjoy another couple recipes from Pickle’s Pantry, a wonderfully original story from Robert Jeschonek featuring art by Elliott Mattice and a delightfully horrific short story from Richard Caldwell. AHOY closes out this series as they began: filled to the brim with content.
This is the standout issue of the series, a true master work of action and artwork. There’s an almost tangible feeling of finality to the conflict in this chapter that makes a tongue-in-cheek story about 70-year olds saving the world feel real. Lottie’s powers and abilities finally get a chance to shine, and readers can see what she’s always been capable of.
Usually these reviews praise Soo Lee’s artwork, and that isn’t going to change any time soon. Like the script itself, this issue is a real testament to Lee’s skill. With not one but two beautiful two-page spreads, there’s a lot to take in with this artwork. “Beautiful” is an uncanny word to use when describing pages featuring Lovecraftian monster,s but it fits. It always feels a bit strange to say “this is the best art of the series” since the artwork has always been one of the standout achievements of the book, but here more than ever, the artwork showcases what this creative time can create.
Jeschonek’s story Surveying Mr. Nibbles is amazingly inventive. Told through the answers to a questionnaire, it tells the story of an Eldritch demon squirrel and the human it swapped bodies with. It’s so refreshing to see companies like AHOY taking chances with stories like this. Richard Caldwell’s third person horror story is a little more recognizable in comparison, but is no less entertaining. The story of a demonic item taking to an Antique Roadshow is as amusing as it is unsettling.
There have been few negatives throughout this series. With some of the best art and writing in the run, it would be foolish to expect some negatives to pop up now. If anything, McCourt and Lee have set the bar quite high. It’ll be interesting to see how they try to clear it in the future.
Ash & Thorn is a fun series in a horrifically unfun year. At times 2020 has felt like a battle with a Lovecraftian entity itself, so this story about septuagenarians using magic to save everyone from a big green monster full of eyes has been a fitting escape.