REVIEW: ‘Thumbs,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Image ComicsThumbs #4, written by Sean Lewis with art by Hayden Sherman sends the two siblings on a collision course that can only end in catastrophe. After escaping from Power forces by the skin of their teeth in Thumbs #3Charley “Thumbs” thought he’d finally rejoined Mom’s underground army of resistance fighters. But what he finds in place of an army is a dirty group of poor children. But when he sees kids trained to kill for Mom, Thumbs struggles to find meaning in the cycle of conflict. Meanwhile in Power City, Thumbs’ sister Tabitha learns the secret behind Power’s crusade from Adrien Camus, now enslaved by Power’s leaders.

Warring factions perpetuating a never-ending cycle of violence isn’t exactly breaking new ground here. From the Montagues and Capulets to Star Bellied Sneetches, endless Vendettas pop up all over fiction. What Thumbs #4 makes clear is that Power and Mom are two sides of the same coin. In Thumbs #3, Lewis showed us Mom’s version of the Rise of Power. It focused on the movement’s leaders, but only skimmed through their motivations. Thumbs #4 gives the cost of rampant technology a human face thanks to Camus’ advanced technology. 

What Camus shows Tabitha is a digital echo of the start of the whole mess, a tragedy that sent grieving parents on a crusade to save children. Like Thumbs #3’s holographic history lesson, Sherman treats this vision with style. While both Mom’s and Power’s simulations are built from Camus Tech, Sherman depicts Power’s virtual history totally differently. Instead of an explosive battlefield, Power recreates the past using artificial intelligence born from our digital footprints. To learn the truth, Tabitha must traverse a cluttered maze of social media posts, tweets, and news stories. It’s a take on social media that’s positively claustrophobic. This section hits hard, grounding Thumbs origins squarely in a world we can recognize. 

In Thumbs #4, Sherman’s color design remains as strong as ever. One advantage of using as limited a pallet as Thumbs is that even the slightest change sticks out. After three issues of muted blues and bright pinks, Sherman washes Thumb #4 pages with muted purples. The blues and pinks are still there, but as the moral line between the factions blur, so do their strictly coded colors. Add in an offset coloration in the style of old school Chromatic aberration, and you’ve got a rich pallet that tells a narrative of its own.

As the penultimate issue, Thumbs #4 sets the scene for the series bloody finale. Its biggest drawback, however, lies in how quickly it rushes to that conflict. The past few issues have been long hectic affairs, tracking Charley and Nia’s turbulent path to Power City. With the final battle in view, the pair slow down, cutting out the action scenes that defined the series up until now. That’s not a terrible loss in itself, but after such persistent action, it’s like hitting a speed bump at 85 miles an hour. 

Thumbs #4 catapults the series to its thrilling finale. Within the issue, Lewis explores the root causes of its central conflict. However, this history lesson comes at a cost, sapping Thumbs #4 of the kinetic action that’s carried the series so far. Thankfully Sherman’s nuanced artwork continues to impress, creating a technological thrill ride you won’t want to miss.   

Thumbs #4 is available now in comic book stores everywhere.

Thumbs #4
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TL;DR

Thumbs #4 catapults the series to its thrilling finale. Within the issue, Lewis explores the root causes of its central conflict. However, this history lesson comes at a cost, sapping Thumbs #4 of the kinetic action that’s carried the series so far.