Sometimes, experience really is the best superpower… Your Major Spoilers review of Ash & Thorn #1 from Ahoy Comics awaits!
Writer: Marariah McCourt/Dan Micklethwaite
Penciler: Soo Lee/Meredith McClaren
Inker: Soo Lee
Colorist: Pippa Bowland
Letterer: Rob Steen
Editor: Sarah Litt
Publisher: AHOY Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 1, 2020
Previously in Ash & Thorn: The apocalypse is nigh! The world needs a Champion, and the only heir to a sacred mystical lineage is… a little old lady? Meet Lottie Thorn, reluctant savior of the world, and her also-elderly trainer Lady Peruvia Ashlington-Voss. They might not look it, but these women are prepared to take on any Big Bad that comes along.
But first, perhaps a nice cup of tea?
“THE WORLD *MIGHT* BE ENDING…”
We open with a close-up of Lottie Thorn, looking directly at the reader as she declares that she can’t do this. Her trainer, Lady Peruvia Ashlington-Voss reminds her that she sort of has to, and the training officially begins. The problem is, Lottie is several decades older than expected, while Peruvia has really only read about most of the things they’re going to be fighting, and her magical summoning is… not up to snuff. Fortunately, Lottie is able to best the monsters Peruvia accidentally summons, a story told intertwined with their first meeting and Lottie’s realization that something is up with her strength after shattering stone counters and ripping doors off their frames. In the hidden hoary netherworlds, a twisted C’thulian monstrosity gets the unwelcome news that, even after he though he had wiped out the entire lineage of the champion, there is still one remaining. He doesn’t get all the information, as he chooses to devour the bearer of bad news, but the issue ends with Lottie having a vision of a terrible fate and the monster that is coming for her, leading to the best final line in recent memory: “Well, f*ck.”
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A TEEN TO BE THE CHOSEN ONE
The general narrative thrust of this story is familiar in many ways, evoking ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’ and other such stories of chosen ones, with the twist being that both the “watcher” and the “slayer” being women seemingly near retirement age. This puts a different tone on their training sequence, especially since Lottie comes across as a no-nonsense women who wouldn’t put much stock in the ideas of monsters and champions and such, were she not living it. I’m especially enamored of Soo Lee’s art in this first issue, especially the look on Peruvia’s face when she realizes that Lottie IS the champion she’s been sent for. It’s a subtle moment, but the action sequences are also very well put together, especially the moment where Lottie gives up her sword for the more familiar feel of a cast-iron skillet for smashing monster-faces. The pieces are all here for a really good adventure story and both the art and the story are unique enough that, while there are clear influences, we’re not seeing the same old thing again.
BOTTOM LINE: A FUN TWIST ON A FAMILIAR TALE
The hook here is a strong one, and the creative team of Ash & Thorn #1 really brings their a-game in both the art and the story, delivering a new angle on the Katniss/Buffy/Harry Potter archetype, with clever dialogue with a wry sense of humor, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. If nothing else, the image of a grandmother-figure with locs flying through the air to bisect horrible monsters from beyond is worth the price of admission.
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ASH & THORN #1
A really good first issue of what may be my new favorite comic.