See all reviews of Thumbprint (3)

Joe Hill is taking the comic book world by storm! Adapted from his novella of the same name, Jason Ciaramelia does the writing on this one. He’s brought along Vic Malhotra on art duties. And though I normally don’t show alternate covers, damn, is the alternate for Thumbprint rad.


Thumbprint (IDW)



Thumbprint is the story of Mallory Grennan, a former soldier stationed out of Abu Ghraib, Iraq. Mallory starts to receive plain white sheets of paper with black ink thumbprints in the center in the mail. There is never an address anywhere on the back of the paper. She attempts to solve the mystery of who leaves the thumbprints, all while coming to grips with her memories from her time served in the Army in the Middle East.

The adaptation by Ciaramelia gets to the point and captures the essence of the story. Mallory really is quite the bastard when we get to see her out in Iraq.

However, we get the sense, through Ciaremelia’s dialogue and Malhotra’s art, that she regrets what she did. In the present, Mallory works at a VFW bar. She is constantly hearing how great her dad, a medic while stationed in Vietnam, was. It drives her nuts, as she doesn’t feel anywhere near as noble. Stands to reason, as the panel above shows her time enlisted had her being, well, a real bitch-on-wheels. We also get to see a dude with the sketchiest “I want to plow you,” face I’ve seen in quite a while.

Damn gurl, run.

Malhotra’s art is understated, and the color is as well. Everything seems somewhat muted, if that makes any sense. It’s not terrible, just doesn’t seem to pop. But then, the plot is so over the top, the art doesn’t need to be all that flashy.

6.5

  • A heavy plot, which tackles subject matter not easy to swallow
  • A complex main character
  • Art is underwhelming
  • This issue isn’t very exciting

Is It Good?

It’s okay. I can’t help but feel like this issue, though capturing the flashbacks well, doesn’t manage to be all that exciting when it cuts back to the present. I’m not afraid for Mal. She looks fine. Perhaps it’s the condensing of the story for the comic book format. In Hill’s novella, you get a feeling of time elapsed between thumbprints. In this issue alone, Mallory gets 2, and they seem like they are back to back, with very little time in between. The art is fairly… is sleepy the right word? Let’s just say for a lady who tortures people in flashbacks, and then runs and grabs a gun, one finds themselves remarkably calm.