Review: Red Thorn #1

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On the rain-soaked streets of Glasgow, a girl whose drawings somehow come to life has just stumbled across her one true love. And thousands of miles below those streets, an ancient demi-god plots his escape from the prison where he’s been held for nearly two thousand years. Evil forces are at play and no one is safe as the legends of Scottish mythology collide with the modern world.

Red Thorn is one of those comics that has something special about it. Whether it’s in the way David Baillie has crafted this issue, Meghan Hetrick‘s art work or the coluring of Steve Oliff, there’s something about this comic that draws you in.

With any comic I read, I always hope it’ll be good, but especially when picking up the first issue of a new series; if the first issue doesn’t grab you in some way then the chances you’ll be willing to pick up the next issue aren’t great. Thankfully, there’s something about Red Thorn that grabs a hold of  you and pulls you through the streets of Glasgow on wild ride that begins to edge onto the mythological history of writer David Baillie‘s native Scotland.

The story here is mostly fluid, with Baillie taking his time about delving too quickly into the mythology side of things that the series will undoubtedly feature strongly across later issues. It’s a smart choice, because by focusing less on the mythology he allows us to become familiar with Isla Mackintosh, the young American in Scotland with an unusual talent that I’m sure Baille will have some fun with as the series goes on.

The art from Meghan Hetrick is brilliant; I’ve never been to Scotland myself, but her scenery has a distinctly Scottish flavour (admittedly I’m basing that statement on the few images, movies and television shows I’ve seen set in and around the country). One of my favourite scenes in the opening issue is when we’re given a glimpse inside Isla‘s sketch book. It’s a jaw dropping double page spread that really highlights Hetrick‘s abilities and, combined with the colours of Steve Oliff, is an excellent window into the kind of person Isla is.

Red Thorn #1 is a brilliant example of the talented creative team working with a synchronicity that you wouldn’t ordinarily expect from the debut issue in a series. I can’t wait to see what else David BaillieMeghan Hetrick and Steve Oliff have up their sleeves.

Writer: David Baillie Artist: Meghan Hetrick Colours: Steve Oliff
Story:  8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 8.75 Recommendation: Buy

Also posted on Graphic Policy

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