ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Thumbs,’ Vol 1 TP

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Thumbs Vol 1

Published by Image Comics, written by Sean Lewis, with art by Hayden Sherman, Thumbs Vol 1 collects Thumbs issues #1-5 in a jumbo volume consisting of 252 pages.

In a world where technology reigns supreme, Adrian Camus, a big-shot tech designer, recruits children into his online games. For many of these children, these games are the only way they feel wanted; their parents are rarely there and they are raised by a parenting app called “Mom.” Those who excel at these games, however, are recruited into a bigger cause, one that sees them as a part of a very real war between Camus and the Power.

The Power is a group of advocates and politicians that work to remove Camus’ tech from peoples’ homes and bring humanity back to a state without technology. Our protagonist, who goes by the name of Thumbs, is one of Camus’ recruits when he gets a life-changing injury that puts him into a medically induced coma. Waking up years later, Thumbs finds himself in a changed world where the government, controlled by the Power, has banned all technology. Thumbs now must fight a war between two extremists, not only to save himself but also his sister and his country.

Thumbs is an action-packed thriller that very much has cyberpunk influences along with dystopian themes. What really makes this comic a great read is its very real-life themes: the battle between tech and humanity. Today, technology is supposed to be a tool to better peoples’ lives. But, in the hands of extremists, zealots, and narcists, we see that technology tears apart humanity. Even in the world of Thumbs, we see that even children are tired of being killed; they’re tired of being disposable in the eyes of adults. Between cyberbullying, school shootings, and bombings, technology only crushes humanity. Instead, technology shouldn’t be the answer to our problems; humans should be. Thumbs is a moving, heartfelt comic that in many ways acts as a narrative for today’s technological culture. It’s a challenging book because it’s so sincere. It doesn’t tiptoe around hard themes and works to be blatantly truthful. This truthfulness just makes things more real and makes the stakes even bigger for Thumbs and the reader.

A part of why Thumbs makes you think is because both sides of the war are filled with zealots and fascists. Each side is both right and wrong and the reader can at times sympathize with both sides. The Power wants to remove all technology while the opposite side aims to improve peoples’ lives through tech. This entire comic is filled with shades of gray; Thumbs himself doesn’t know which side is the right one.

 

Thumbs is just a kid who wants to play video games and wants to be recognized for what he’s good at. Many people can relate to this, perhaps not the kid part but the recognition part. Thumbs is also sincere and cares very much about his family and his friends; he’s willing to do the impossible for them. This sincerity is really what makes Thumbs a great character and I think it is what allows the audience to connect with him and sympathize with his plight.

The art only adds to these themes. Sherman’s art lends to very emotive faces and dynamic action scenes that flow smoothly from panel to panel. Most panels are grayscale, with deep shadows and bold lines that bring across a dismal feeling. At the same time, there are splashes of pink here and there. Usually associated with some sort of technology, anywhere from guns to the holographic Mom app. But other objects are also colored, such as the backpack Thumbs’s sister wears. Not even nature is pink. This choice of coloration is important and brilliant in its usage. I won’t say much more on the matter because I think it would be more poignant for the reader to find out for themselves why.

Overall, Thumbs Vol 1 is a wonderful read that warrants not only self-reflection but a reflection of society as a whole. There are some amazing twists that I never saw coming along with moments that will have you tearing up.

Thumbs Vol 1 TP is available on January 29, 2020, wherever comic books are sold.

Thumbs Vol 1 TP
4.5

TL;DR

Overall, Thumbs Vol 1 is a wonderful read that warrants not only self-reflection but a reflection of society as a whole. There are some amazing twists that I never saw coming along with moments that will have you tearing up.