Review By: Sergio Porras Man, that was one hell of an episode of Criminal Minds. Oh wait... That was Joe Hill's Thumbprint #1 written by Jason Ciaramella! Fooled me! Saying that the book was like Criminal Minds isn't a bad thing, for me anyway. It was well written and had a suspenseful story, but just like a lot of crime thrillers it was pretty predictable. I'm a huge fan of Joe Hill's Locke & Key so if you think that this is going to be anything like that then just stop reading here because you'll be in for a huge disappointment.
The story is based on First Class Private Mallory Grennan who was just discharged, possibly dishonorably although I don't recall it saying, from the Army after pictures from Abu Ghraib surfaced with her boot being visible near a stack of bodies. Quick side note, if you don't know what Abu Ghraib is then do yourself a favor and watch the news or pick up a history book. Mallory is regretful for the things that she has done, especially since her recently deceased father was a decorated war hero. After coming back home she was able to get her old job back as a bartender at a local Veterans bar where she works with her asshole of a boss who is always trying to get into her pants.
At the end of a shift her boss asks her for a ride home saying that he, "wanted some alone time to catch up with her". While they were leaving the bar her boss saw one of the regular drunks passed out and hanging half way out of his car. Instead of trying to help the old Vet, he decides to rob him by taking his Wedding ring. Mallory does nothing to stop him until they get into the car and she confronts him. Sometime during the drive her scumbag boss decides to make his move for the 1,000th plus time, Mallory gives him a quick beating then throws him out of the car. The next morning Mallory goes to retrieve her mail and in it she finds a letter with no stamp or return address that lets her know that it was left there not delivered. She opens the envelope to find a plain white piece of paper with a single thumbprint on it. It’s a thumbprint she's seen before but can’t quite put her finger on which it belonged to. Can this be someone who saw the robbery last night that she didn't stop? Or maybe it was her boss John who's a little angry about getting his ass kicked. Either way she takes it as a threat and vows to kill whoever it is that’s messing with her.
The art was done by Vic Malhorta and it was alright, nothing special. Maybe the art could have been a bit more realistic looking, especially since the events that they're speaking of actually took place and real servicemen were held accountable for what went on at Abu Ghraib. The dark undertones set the right mood for the book, but the subtlety just didn't cut it. The only thing that stood out was the flash back panels that were mostly blue and black, but had hints of other colors for a cool effect.
Thumbprint was a good read but would be better as a graphic novel. I believe it is a mini-series with just a few issues but it’s not something that many people will be looking forward to over the next few months but will probably do well as a collected edition especially people who are fans of his dad, Stephen King, who are looking to see if the apple falls far from the tree. If you didn't preorder it then don't feel too bad, but when the trade comes out then make sure you pick it up because it is a good story and I can already tell that it’s probably going to have all sorts of crazy twists and turns.
Writes: Joe Hill and Jason Ciaramella
Artist: Vic Malhotra
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: 6/12/13