Salem: Queen of Thorns #3 (of 4) (Boom! – Morgan / Walsh / Rock / Schely / Lucchini / Unai)
The controversial series continues! The Queen of Thorns has set her sights on Hooke and his accomplices and will not rest until he is captured -and forced to face the truth about who and what he is! A new hero in the tradition of Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane and Clint Eastwood’s The Man with No Name, from the screenwriter of Wanted!
I am pretty torn about this supernatural action book. The main character is Elias Hooke who is, for lack of a better term, a witch hunter. And his main quarry is The Queen of Thorns, who is the uber-evil witch spirit of the New England area. And the theme of Elias’ story is that sometimes in the world, good guys have to do bad things to keep worse things from happening. This premise has tons of potential. The hardcore anti-hero with a pure heart is a classic character and can be a great read.
But then they throw in sado-masochistic church leaders, a muddied background that the reader can’t quite get their hands around and the fact that most of the other characters in the book have actions that are just as gray as Elias’ or worse… well, then Salem‘s story doesn’t resonate like it should. To put this in a fanboy perspective: Wolverine’s character plays out best when he is interacting with boy-scout Scott Summers, Wolverine would not have the popularity he has had historically, if as a character if he was on a team of other morally gray characters and he fought morally gray bad guys that sometimes he struck deals with. I think Boom! does have a gem here in Elias Hooke, but we have to have him in a situation where his shadow is being contrasted with definitive black and white.
Unfortunately, the art is all over the place here. With four artists working on twenty two pages that’s not surprising. Some of it was great, some of it was not. Another thing that will help Elias’ future is to find an artist for the book and let there be a consistent style.
Grade (story): B (with tons of potential)
Grade (art): C- (felt like a slot machine)