Thumbs #4 // Review
A young revolutionary comes face to face with the next generation of the revolution in the penultimate issue of the dystopian cyberpunk series Thumbs. Writer Sean Lewis begins to place elements in preparation for the series’ conclusion next issue. Hayden Sherman’s distinctive visual style captures the uneasy anticipation of the outcome in sketchy shadows, silhouettes, and shocks of light red. Lewis’ messy scattering of plot elements in the steady rumble of the series lacks the kind of stylish allegory a story like this could have achieved by this point. It’s a fresh enough alternative to much of the rest of the current comics rack that it’s a very vivid narrative in spite of its somewhat uneven pacing.
The young revolutionary named Thumbs is led by his sister and a glowing, red Mother A.I. deep into a woodland encampment. The population almost entirely consists of children being taught to arm themselves against the authorities. Thumbs is a bit shocked to see kids pointing loaded weapons at him as he begins to have second thoughts about the nature of the revolution. Elsewhere a Mother A.I. glides into the city to antagonize those in charge. In hopes of bringing them down once and for all.
With the introduction of a second generation of techno-revolutionary kids being guided by a renegade A.I. network. Sherman is working with some really fascinating allegorical stuff in the fourth issues of the 5-part series. The problem seems to lie in a lack of depth. The story needs to move along so quickly that the implications of revolution in the dystopian fantasy world never really have a chance to develop. The Mother A.I. announces her presence in the city. Making its presence known and calling-in the final chapter of the series. But there hasn’t been enough build-up to the event to allow the reader to get truly invested in the coming conclusion.
The smartly sketchy scribble of Sherman’s visuals grants the series a very organic feel. This is particularly effective as Thumbs and his sister enter the encampment of child revolutionaries. The blacks and grays and whites serve the dinginess of the dystopia while the red highlights animate the revolutionary tech. The red Mom A.I.s speak in red-letter dialogue. In the children, they have taken on a god-like status which immediately draws a reader’s eyes to all the red of the revolution. It’s the color of blood. It’s the color of passion. It’s the color that’s likely to end the series next issue.
Thumbs fuse so many different post-apocalyptic and dystopian cyberpunk elements into a single plot arc that it’s easy to get lost in the details of the series. Everything seems like an echo of something else. In a sense, Thumbs almost feels like an experiment in a pop fusion that has just enough weight of its own to stand as a specific, somewhat unique story. Given the right treatment, the story could have been brilliant. As it’s been executed here, it’s not that bad.