Let’s go back and visit with Mal, in the final installment of Thumbprint, issue #3. Is it good, soldier?

Thumbprint #3 (IDW Publishing)

Missed reviews of issues 2 and 3? Check out the first issue review here, and the second issue review here.

Written by Jason Ciaramella and adapted from the Joe Hill novella of the same name, in issue #3 things get crazy. The first two issues were merely setup for the insanity that’s unleashed within these pages and panels. There are differences between some of the execution of events in the comic as well as in the novella, but I’m going to avoid talking about those. I’m dealing with the comic, and in any adaptation a work should be able to stand on its own without being compared to the source material. I’m happy to report this issue is exciting, and captures the psychic trauma that can befall a vet exquisitely. Nobody gets out unscathed, be it mental or physical trauma.

The art by Val Malhorta occasionally suffers from the silly face here and there, but it gets the job done. In particular the severed thumbs are drawn well. The colors bothered me a bit, as they have in the last two issues, but they seemed to work better in this one. It’s a case of the visuals not impeding upon the story, and often enhancing it, but never surpassing the writing.

There is a nice couple of panels where she flicks the bean, though. Alllll riiighhhht.

Yeah, gurl. You get nice and clean.

But then she slaps herself, which is decidedly less alright.

Yeah, gurl. You slap yourself… wait, please stop doing that.

Mal got some issues. I mean, we all got issues, but Mal got some iss-ueeees.


  • Exciting.
  • A strong finish.
  • Art is passable, but far from spectacular.

Is It Good?

It’s all right. Definitely the most exciting issue of all three, but at the end, I can’t help but wonder if different coloring and art would have made me enjoy the series more. It’s perfectly acceptable art, it just didn’t wow me. Same with the coloring; it works, but it doesn’t pop. The writing makes up for the mediocre art and coloring though, and if you’re a fan of the Joe Hill novella or dramas about the hazards of serving in war (particularly the most current conflicts), it’s worth a read.