Every week here at Comic Booked we try to spotlight some great comics from all of our friends in the small press publishing industry by putting together Small Press Sunday. Sometimes we can throw together some quick reviews of a handful of comics that will tease you just enough to go out and check them out. Other times, we have the luxury of just picking one series to give you the lowdown on and, even, a full review. This week is a full review week.
Small Press Sunday this week will focus on Thaniel, a new comic from OSSM Comics. Thaniel #1 just came out on April 9, 2014, so I am going to show you what I liked about it and try to help you know if it is worth the money to pick up this new comic. Written by Omar Spahi and drawn by Terry Huddleston, Thaniel takes us to a dark world of strangely human evils.
I want to talk about the art first. Although the comic is primarily black and white, the shading and use of lights and comparative panels really help to illustrate the contrasts in this tale. The details really make this comic stand apart from others of the vigilante genre. There is a solid story here and the artwork only helps the story to be more cohesive and, in the end, more fun. The splashes of red, the skull in the eye shots, and the use of shadows are all big pluses for Thaniel.
No secret identities here. Just a boy who dropped out of high school because of some “things that happened”. He lives in a rough part of town and is no stranger to crime and punishment. At night he wears a symbol that most simply describes him, a skull and crossed scythes. Wielding dual scythes, he jumps and flips like an agile dancer and yet his dance brings death to the scum of the streets as Thaniel is driven to “do right”.
There is an interesting internal struggle that takes place within our main character. Thaniel struggles with justifying his actions. He claims that he would rather kill these criminals, drug dealers and killers, than to put them in prison for life and bleed money from the system that could be spent on the poor. His ideas may not be what we are used to with many mainstream characters, but he gets the job done.
In this first issue, we have some foreshadowing of future events as Thaniel meets one of his old friends from high school. The man, Carey, is a rough guy who knows the streets and seems to have more going on than he lets on to Thaniel. Carey is told in no uncertain terms that he needs “to stay down the right path”. Thaniel is clear in his mission. He is out to rid the streets of the element that uses fear and violence to oppress a people. Thaniel believes that his actions will help to free the city from the darkness it is under. I found him to be a very interesting and driven character.
As usually happens after I review a comic book, I now want to add Thaniel to my weekly pull. This book is a breath of fresh air in a market that is stocked to the gills with superheroes and villains. This comic is a pure vigilante comic. This is what I want Batman to be, but that will never happen. This is not a perfect book, but I liked it and would recommend that you at least stop in your LCS and pick up Thaniel #1 this week.
My Rating: 4.5/5