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Advance Review – Ash & Thorn #1 (Ahoy Comics)

Publisher: Ahoy Comics
Writer: Mariah McCourt
Artist: Soo Lee
Colourist: Pippa Bowland
Lettering: Rob Steen
Release Date: 24th June 2020


Hercules, Ajax, Achilles, Theseus, Jason, Perseus all had two things in common. Firstly, they were mighty heroes destined to save the world from the forces of darkness. Secondly, they were all trained by Chiron, who was so honoured by the gods that he is remembered by the constellation Sagittarius.

So when the world faces its next challenge, what mighty demigod will step forward, and what decorated and venerated trainer will hone his skills? Well, standing between the world we know and the masses forces of the underworld are Lottie and Peruvia, a pair of septuagenarians, who honestly are too old for this shit and would really prefer a cup of tea and a scone.

Lottie Thorn is quietly minding her own business, not a care in the world past what recipe she’s going to enter in the pie competition next month, when things start happening.  Things which, as much as she’d like to think so, aren’t the product of a vivid imagination or lack of sleep. Her denial has an echo of Ebenezer Scrooge “maybe it was that whiffy Gruyere… or my trick knee…”

A knock on the door the following morning soon strips away any vestiges of fooling herself that life will ever be normal again, in the form of Peruvia, Guardian and trainer of champions armoured in a fetching twin set and pearls and armed with a lifetimes worth of battle theory.

And therein lies the rub, dear reader; our only hope for survival lies in an untrained pensioner who has just discovered her superpowers and an equally ‘seasoned’ librarian with no practical experience.

Honestly, this story is great! I had absolutely no expectations going in, and found myself thoroughly enjoying it from the first page to the last. This is a story we’ve heard before – I mean, it has literally been going around for thousands of years – but this is a great take on the epic hero tale, with a little touch of Mike Mignola thrown in which, combined with the way Mariah McCourt et al deliver it, results in whole lot of fun!

There is a quality sense of humour here that falls somewhere between the Golden Girls and Lethal Weapon. Lottie really is too old for this shit, but if she absolutely has to be the one to save the world then she’s going to take full advantage of her right to be a cantankerous old baggage while she’s doing so. Peruvia is clearly out of her depth; when she arrived at Lottie’s door she expected to find a young woman who could be shaped and trained, and she certainly expected to have more time before the end of the world. Luckily for her, Lottie is extremely focussed on surviving and if that means dragging Peruvia up by her sensible court shoe laces then so be it.

The depictions of Lottie and Peruvia are nicely done. Soo Lee and Pippa Bowland really bring these characters to life, maintaining the humour and fantastical elements of the story without things ever becoming too cartoony and reducing the whole to farce (although I did really enjoy seeing Lottie opt for an old iron skillet as weapon of choice in the first battle). There is tension and there is drama in this story and Lee and Bowland balance this nicely with the humour in the way they deliver the artwork to the page.

I desperately want to read more. In fact, I got to the end and immediately wanted to grab the next issue! I was really surprised by this series, and it wasn’t what I was expecting at all in terms of the story. It’s well-written and well-illustrated, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next!


[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]


The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek ‏


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