Things are looking rough for Charley “Thumbs” Fellows. After waking up from a coma, Thumbs found himself hunted by soldiers of “THE POWER,” the anti-technological fundamentalist organization who’ve seized power over society. After escaping with his life, Thumbs returned to his childhood home only to find his injured best friend Nia waiting for him among the ruins. Now in Image Comics‘ Thumbs #3, written by Sean Lewis with art by Hayden Sherman, Thumbs and Nia are up against a horde of POWER soldiers. Outgunned and outmanned, the pair need to use all of their wits if they hope to survive the night.
Meanwhile, at Fortress POWER, Thumbs’ long lost sister, Tabitha Fellows, lives the life of a model POWER citizen. At the top of her class and with the first signs of young love, Tabitha’s peaceful life upends when she learns that not only is her brother alive but that he’s a domestic terrorist with Camus’s army.
Instead of hectic gunfights, which were heavily featured previously, Sherman and Lewis devote most of Thumbs #3 to further world-building. Over the first two issues of Thumbs we explored the rise of Camus’ child army and got a clear look at what kind of world the despotic POWER wish to create. But up until now, the origin of how POWER took control of society remained a mystery. Thumbs #3 takes a step back from the here and now to paint a more vivid picture of how POWER came to run the world.
Delivered via MOM’s virtual reality technology, this creatively engineered flashback features some of Sherman’s strongest artwork in the series so far. Sherman lets his imagination loose with Thumbs #3′s take on a Holodeck, a device Star Trek that acts as a staging environment for virtual reality environments. Shattered landscapes, strange monoliths, and a constant stream of gunfire look fantastic here, thanks to Sherman’s dynamic panel layouts. We’ve seen characters talk about being plugged into Mom’s VR, but having it laid out on the page is gorgeous. Even if it’s just a history lesson, this first-hand look at Camus tech makes it hard not to see the appeal.
Unfortunately for Thumbs #3, MOM’s history lesson comes at a cost. Thumbs #2 ended in a tense cliffhanger with Thumbs and Nia facing down an army of POWER soldiers. Rather than picking up immediately where Thumbs #2 left off, the story takes a detour, delivering exposition. While the scene looks great and provides important context, it also hobbles the POWER battle’s momentum. Thus, Thumbs and Nina’s fight takes off from a dead standstill. It doesn’t impede enough to derail Thumbs #3 entirely, but the momentum whiplash is a speed bump.
In spite of its early speed bump, Thumbs #3 still packs a wallop. Tabitha’s idyllic life as a POWER advocate puts a human face on Thumbs dystopian society. She’s drunk the flavor aid, which makes her apparent happiness all the meatier for analysis. With Thumbs on his way to storm Fortress POWER, I’m excited to see how these siblings will reunite. With only two issues left, Thumbs is well on its way to a climatic finale.
Thumbs #3 is available now wherever comic books are sold.
In spite of its early speed bump, Thumbs #3 still packs a wallop.