Thumbs #1 Review: No Good Deed
In “Thumbs” #1, we’ve armed the gamers. What they’re fighting for, however, is a little bit vague.
At least for now.
Story: Sean Lewis
Art: Hayden Sherman
Publisher: Image Comics
“Thumbs” has a great concept, and executes it well – mostly. If anything, there’s too much good stuff in this first issue. Lewis packs it with a frenetic action scene that takes us through the basic structure of the tech-laced world and an extended flashback that gives us a brutally paced run-down of who Charley is and how he got here. At least to Fortress Victory, because there’s a block of time between his arrival and the crisis point of this issue that feels a bit jarring to skip given the intense detail so far. There’s an argument to be made that the book’s quick, overload pace is apropos given our current media cycle, exponential tech growth and grasping edge of human consciousness, but it also stumbles occasionally by skating over moments it could hold for some bigger impact and layering a bit too much narration on top of its dialogue.
That said, “Thumbs” is a pell-mell adventure that’s worth reading. Lewis and Sherman aim to fill the page from top to bottom with input, plain and simple, and they succeed. Charley’s a small boy for most of the comic, but he’s also small in Camus’s mighty tech-plex and somewhat impotent in character – at least for now. Lewis and Sherman have plans for this kid, just as Camus did until the bottom sort of fell out of the whole thing. Sherman’s scratchy line is perfect for a story like this, and his blocky detail and bold strokes are perfect for quick action. Similarly, he slows the pace in Charley’s past with a more careful, contained line that’s still got elements of his trademark weirdness. His sound effects are particularly wild and joyous, though the moments in which they dominate the page are not exactly happy.
“Thumbs” boasts a limited, stylized color palette that goes for maximum impact and picked-out details that don’t always work. The fuschia is a nice contrast to the grays and sepias but can often dominate in some of the splashes and make reading a little difficult. The back third of the comic features a nice balance between white, fuschia and some muted blues that also carries off the antiseptic quality of the lab. The last few pages use the fuschia to highlight moments of extreme conflict that echo into Charley’s view when he wakes up, and the whole scene is done very well. As for lettering, the font is too small in many places and feels a little tacked on, though balloon placement and style do blend pretty well into Sherman’s art.
Overall, “Thumbs” hits the ground running with a detailed and over-the-top world that feels believable, if a bit too rushed in this first issue. There’s nothing wrong with a crowded landscape, but slowing the pace a little in the next installment could reap narrative rewards if done well.