"Thaniel #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by OSSM Comics
Written by Omar Spahi
Illustrated by Terry Huddleston
2014, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 26th, 2014
Look! On top of that building! It's a guy in a black costume with scythes, ready to cut your throat out! It's...Thaniel! Cleaning up the streets of his neighborhood, Thaniel is like the Punisher, but without guns. Instead he just slices up bad guys when they get in his way. The pitch for the comic had to do with this guy being the son of Death and dealing with this new found knowledge. Unfortunately, none of that is seen in this issue. The only super power that Thaniel displays is the ability to change from a hoodie to a more menacing hoodie.
When he's not brutally murdering local drug dealers, Thaniel makes small talk with his friends or gets shit from a lady friend about dropping out of school. The dialogue gets a little preachy at times with the message of staying in school and keeping on the straight and narrow path. After all, you don't want to get on Thaniel's bad side, do you? Most of the issue features the title character thinking about his actions and justifying them to himself. The few moments we see when he's outside of his skull-and-crossbones hoodie make him look like a pretty boring guy. He doesn't show much in the way of personality.
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The dark, brooding vigilante is a classic comic trope and Thaniel certainly looks the part. His choice of name is a bit odd though. Thaniel is his actual name. He also goes out on patrol with the same moniker. This would be like Spider-Man fighting crime in his blue and red costume but calling himself Peter Parker. Doesn't anyone figure this out? Or is it that no one is left alive after coming in contact with him?
While the story leaves a little to be desired, Terry Huddleston's artwork more than makes up for it. It's absolutely superb, such as when Thaniel is talking to Mackenzie about his future. The page is split down the middle, bisecting each of them to create one face, similar to Two-Face. The left side of the page shows the right side of Thaniel's face and the right side shows the left side of Mackenzie's face. That's some brilliant art direction.
The scenes with Thaniel in action are awesome. He moves like a shadow, slashing his blade through the flesh of his enemies. The comic is presented in black and white, except for these panels. This is where red comes splashing across the page. Used sparingly, it works very well.
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Thaniel's aforementioned dark hoodie costume is actually pretty menacing. It's frayed with wisps of cloth coming off the edges. The outline of a skull appears on the front and a skeletal ribcage on the back. His pupils are replaced with small skulls for a nice effect.
Thaniel has a lot of potential. The second issue will quickly follow this one, so I'm hoping some of the bits with Death come up soon. According to the press release, he's supposed to be able to control an energy that is cosmically linked with death. So far he's just slicing up drug dealers and looking badass. I'm hoping that's cleared up in the coming issues.