Off the Shelf: Zachariah Thorn #1

Zachariah Thorn 1

Nutshell:  Sometimes the best intentions and the coolest concepts get a bit muddy.  It often happens when a new series tries to take flight.  Thorn is one of those muddy intros, but if you can get past the Scooby-Doo-head-cocking this issue serves up time and again, Reichert and Seriosa look to have a promising story in the works. I hope they actually start coaxing it out in issue #2.  Grade: C+

Story:  Zachariah Thorn dispatches demons and other nasties.  Apparently he’s got some friends that help him out too, I guess?  But otherwise the story is a bit of a jumble held together by a fascinating idea.

Best Line:  “Kneel before me, you toothy bitch!”

Thoughts: Pretty sweet cover — Zack looks like Constantine and Buffy’s love child. In other words, pretty cool.  However, this first issue suffers from a heaping helping of knowledge overload on the part of the creators.  They know what’s going on, they know the backstory; they’ve created it and talked it to death amongst themselves.  So when the first few pages go from a musical nightmare to a tête-à-boobies with…a water nymph?  Sprite?  Ghost?  Well, I wondered if there was an issue #0 I neglected to read before I dug into this one.  Actually, Thorn #1 feels like I’ve missed an issue or three. “And what of the Rusalka?” Wait — what’s a Rulsalka?

A few pages later, and another character introduced as if we know him. He sounds interesting — he doesn’t have a pulse? — but he’s introduced on page 13, and I found out his name is Eli when a taxi driver uses his name on page 15. Even after the last page of this issue, I don’t know what Eli’s deal is, or how he’s connected to Zack.

After that, it’s a barrage of info and characters I feel I should know, but mean nothing to me.  Dialogue makes it seem as if we’ve met these characters before, but that’s not the case.  “…since Sean died…” “Debbie…” “Cynthia…” Do these people know about Zack’s abilities? Does Zack know about Zack’s abilities? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE, and why should I care? They’re nothing but names being tossed out at me at this point, so when one of these characters gets in deep with some bad demons, I ended up simply enjoying the pretty pictures and rather than caring what happened to any of these characters.

Letters are pretty average; not spectacular, but not sucky either.  Though the “Zachariah Thorn” embellished logo as a dialogue bubble is a bit much. It’s like having Zack speak of himself in the 3rd person, which comes off silly. And the gravestone on page 27 with Bonkz Seriosa’s name and “undecided” on the “Died” date is a bit twee.

Peeking out from in and around the dialogue and artwork is an intriguing story about a…demon hunter? Band of Scoobies who help him out? Unsure, but there’s just enough of a taste to whet my appetite.  I’d dig into another one to see if there’s more exposition and a better grasp of plot. This could be a very good series, as long as the story flows. And right now it’s at a halting stutter.

Subscribe or Shelve:  Even though Thorn #1 is a bit stumbly, most new babies are.  And with Scott Reichert’s teasing peeks into the mythology he’s created here, I’m willing to watch the baby for a while.  Thorn has all the makings of a cool new entry into the demon hunter genre, and Thorn’s gang is already feeling like his pack of Scoobies.  So I’m in for more fun.  Just please, make the backstory and plot a bit more coherent, and I’ll be in this thing 100%.

Publication 411:  First issue of a brand-spankin’-new supernatural series. Available at Indigo Comics for free.  FREE, people!

 

[NOTE: I received a copy of this title thanks to the graciousness of the creators.  I received no compensation for my review.]

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