Comic Review – Red Thorn #3

  • Writer: David Baillie
  • Artist: Meghan Hetrick
  • Colorist: Steve Oliff
  • Letterer: Todd Klein
  • Publisher: Vertigo Comics
  • Release Date: January 20, 2016

Aside from a single snag for me, Red Thorn #3 was fantastic.

This month’s issue picks up the morning after the events in Red Thorn #2. After Isla heads to Redcap Keep, she meets Thorn and saves the day for him within moments.

Red Thorn #3 opens with a young Moroccan man named Tarek listening to a story about the holy man Khamid’s encounter with a fearsome serpent who showed him that so-called monsters can love as well as keep their word. Honestly, the story didn’t really work for me. I can see how it’s important and it’s an introduction to a character we’re going to be seeing more of, but it wasn’t necessarily a perfect opening for me. One question I couldn’t stop asking myself was about whether the story Tarek heard was based on a real legend connected with Islam. Because my mind fixates on stuff like that.

Red Thorn #3 Cover
Red Thorn #3 Cover

So far, I do think Tarek has major potential as a character and I’m looking forward to seeing how he’s drawn into Thorn and Isla’s story.

After that part of the opening, we flash to Isla nursing one hell of a hangover back in Redcap Keep. After Thorn surfaces from a bloody lake with a crown of his own, apparently things kick off with a celebration that led to her out-drinking half of the redcaps in the place and then passing out on top of a table. At first, Isla has no idea where she is or where Thorn is, but then reality hits hard and she realizes what she’s done.

When she goes in search of Thorn, we get a ridiculously awesome page of Thorn surrounded by “groupies” of different genders and races. He’s obviously post-orgy (although I’m not sure how things got done since the bed looks a little small) and everyone that’s awake is confident in their nudity. That sort of thing makes the reader have to confront the instinctive urge to look away. I’m still absolutely in love with this comic because Meghan Hetrick’s art is like a perfect balance for David Baillie’s plot. You can tell that there’s a lot of thought that went into what we see and how we see it and I love how it all fits together.

I like that Red Thorn still a very sex positive book and that (so far), the plot doesn’t call for anyone to be shamed or dismissed because they like sex. I know, I know, I have a one track mind. But it’s something that I’ve noticed that I’m super pleased by.

Red Thorn #3 answers some of my questions about Isla and why she’s so special to Thorn. This whole time I’ve been trying to figure out what Isla’s deal was and why she and her sister were drawn to Glasgow. I wasn’t expecting them to have the blood of a god. They’re distant descendants to the long dead divinities that once roamed the countryside, but still powerful in their own rights. I mean, Isla can literally draw people into existence. Sure, she’s wound up with one of her drawings killing someone and another not coming out the way that she’d imagined, but the basis for her power is still amazing.

Not only is Isla a person with diluted divinity in her veins, but so is Tarek. They’re fundamentally different from other humans. I’m not quite sure how much sense it makes to have a Moroccan young man show up with godsblood from Alba, but you know what? I’m sure it’ll be explained in some way.

Thoughts on what Isla and Thorn will have to go through and what will happen to them are starting to come together. Just a few, but it’s still awesome. I like the feeling that we’re looking at a beautiful but dark puzzle and every month we get to slide the pieces around until they fit.

Following in footsteps of the previous two issues, Red Thorn #3 is a beautiful book. The mythology that David Baillie is weaving into the story is new to me and incredibly interesting.

Next month, I feel as if we’ll see what happens when Isla confronts Alec and I’m excited for that. I also can’t wait to see what comes next for Thorn and Tarek because Thorn is putting his plans in motion whether or not Tarek wants to come along for the ride.

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About the author

Zina Hutton

writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories.

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