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Thorn #1 Review

Advent Comics and Travis B. Hill’s ‘Thorn #1’ rises up from the indie comic depths to deliver a powerful clap back against systemic evils.

Let me be honest, I love comic books and I love superheroes. It’s a special treat when I get an opportunity to read a comic book about an African American superhero. So I jumped at the chance to read Advent Comics’ newest comic book Thorn #1—which features just such a superhero, as the lead and titular character of the story. I had no idea what this book was about but what attracted me to it was the sleek and captivating cover that prominently featured a black superhero. This piqued my interest to say the least.

The story starts off innocently enough with a group of young African Americans trick-or-treating (shout out to artist Mark Pate on a choice selection of costumes for the kids). But the story quickly takes a turn for the worse when they encounter a racist white police officer who is abusing his power. I found myself seriously worried about the kids—that is until our masked vigilante comes along to save the day. Looking at the cover I should have already figured out that was going to happen. Nevertheless I still enjoyed the chance to watch Thorn in action and mete out some seriously righteous justice.

Of course, the reader is left wondering who Thorn is, but we don’t immediately get the answer. An air of mystery surrounds our hero. Instead, we get to see the young boys who were harassed by the police, at their local community center, talking excitedly about how they were saved. While the kids are there, we hear the counterpoint from the center’s staff about the repercussions of vigilante justice and we learn that the community center is at risk of being sold by the city to some real estate developers.

It’s not easy delivering an authentic look at ugly realities while still retaining a superhero charm. Does Thorn #1 manage this well?

I was pleasantly surprised by the social justice themes that permeated this issue. Now don’t get me wrong I know “woke” has a negative connotation to some folks when it comes to comic books, but you don’t have to worry about that here. Rather, the creative team hits us with some good old fashioned street level super-heroing while reflecting the unfortunate realities of all too common injustices.

I love the art in Thorn because to me it is reminiscent of Michael Oeming on Powers. The adjustments in color palettes, dependent on the setting, really plays well to the darker tones of the story.

I’m excited to learn more about Thorn especially since the issue plays into the fact that the protagonist isn’t especially pro vigilante justice. Or at least he comes off that way to the young boys he mentors. A cunning misdirection perhaps?

Cop or drop?

By the end of this debut issue, I found myself captivated, specifically asking what exactly are Thorn’s motivations? Where does he get his training and gear? Writer Travis B. Hill cleverly gives us just enough to ensure we want to come back for more. I’m certainly intrigued enough to add Thorn to my pull list and will continue reading the rest of the planned 12 issue series to find out. I am labeling this title a “cop”.

If you are looking to support quality indie comic book creators then this is the book for you. By the way, I initially thought the writer was also African American but was later informed that he was Caucasian. As a member of the BIPOC community this was a pleasant surprise to me because the racial elements of the story felt as genuine and sincere as any of the stories that my friends and I have experienced and shared among our community. Editor’s note: with credits to Sheldon Allen as a Script Consultant as well as Rasool Berry as Editor. You can check out Sheldon’s comic book works here. And find Rasool at https://whereyafrom.org/

Thorn #1 is available now.

Editor’s note: want more Thorn right away? Issue #0 is available for free!

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