Image Comics’ latest tech nightmare, Thumbs #2, from writer Sean Lewis and artist Hayden Sherman, takes us on a grand tour of hell in its vision of a technological innovation gone awry. While last issue introduced us to Charley “Thumbs” Fellows and the tech revolt of a child army, Thumbs #2 brings us face to face with all the horrors this future has to offer.
Six years ago Charley “Thumbs” Fellows was a child soldier, fighting a guerilla war against the technophobic forces of the U.S.A. government along with his best friend Nia. Thumbs was just another face in tech billionaire Adrian Camus’ child army. But then Thumbs got hurt and was put on ice. Six years later, Thumbs wakes up to find himself in a very different world than the one he left. With the guerilla army he served wiped out and his family nowhere to be found. Thumbs sets out to find the people he cares about and punish those who get in his way.
There’s a lot going right with Thumbs #2. The previous issue’s only weakness was how little time it spent showing the American society at large. It focused mainly on Camus’ guerilla compound and Thumbs’ childhood trailer park, while the anti-technological zeitgeist remained unexplored. Thumbs #2 makes up for this early scarcity by taking us on a wide-ranging tour of the future. Thumbs #2 follows Charley’s journey through a dystopic city as he searches for answers. Here tech junkies clamor for a viral hit from beneath the sewers while lethal enforcers execute fatal judgment on the street. It also shows the other side of the coin with Power City, the government stronghold where the tech ban extends as far as calculators.
Presenting these two worlds back to back reinforces Thumbs #2 moral gray-zone. The anti-tech forces are about as evil as evil gets, killing kids as easily as they’d swat a fly. Yet Thumbs #2’s full-blown depictions of tech addiction make it clear that Camus and his movement are not the good guys. These scenes add a much-needed context to Thumbs #2’s twisted future.
Hayden Sherman’s art brings Thumbs #2’s twisted future to life. Full of rough edges and grimy refuse, Sherman’s future-scapes have as much grit to them as the tech dystopias of Frank Miller’s Ronin and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Sherman renders his battlegrounds entirely in desaturated tones of red and blue, with red only appearing on tech. It looked great in Thumbs #1, where red dominated the pallet of Camus stronghold Fortress Victory. But here in the second issue it only looks better. With the Camus stronghold left behind, each splash of red pulls the eye to the center of the action. Every fight scene moves with the scratchy passion of a skipping record player, while its quiet moments linger in desaturated silence.
Thumbs #2 makes good on its promise to bring Charley back to the battlefield. Full of kinetic energy, social commentary, and somber reflection, this book shows both sides of Lewis and Sherman’s bleak future. Get your hands on Thumbs #2 as soon as you can.
Thumbs #2 is available now wherever comic books are sold.
Full of kinetic energy, social commentary, and somber reflection, Thumbs #2 shows both sides of Lewis and Sherman’s bleak future.