Thomas River #1

What if James Bond was Black and American? That’s basically the high concept of this indie comic from writer Doug Wagner and artist Brian Stelfreeze, published by 12 Gauge Comics. This is a project I backed on Kickstarter, and I was not disappointed in the slighest.

This issue includes two stories by the creative team, first is a 5-page story called THE BRAVEST SOLDIER. It’s pretty much all non-stop action, meant to show off how bad ass our lead character is. Wearing a high-tech suit Thomas thwarts terrorists in an armored car to rescue some hostages but finds out that everything isn’t exactly how it seems.

This is followed by the main story, OPERATION WRATH. It’s 29 pages long and it opens with a series of suicide bombers launching simultaneous attacks in 8 different American cities, including Baltimore, Maryland, where Thomas runs a successful engineering firm. But that’s his cover identity. We get a quick glimpse of his fighting skills when a shady businessman arrives in his office with a couple of henchmen trying to shake him down and Thomas effortlessly dispatches them.

When he gets news of the bombings, he’s called into action by the President of The United States, who is a woman in this book, under his code name of Wrath. We also see that one of the victims of the bombings was Thomas’ uncle, and through flashbacks we get some info about Thomas’ upbringing, which helps to flesh out his character a bit more.  Wagner has crafted an exciting spy tale, and Stelfreeze’s artwork brings it to life vividly. The only downside is that this issue ends on a cliffhanger, which leaves me desperately wanting more.

The issue is rounded out with some of Stelfreeze’s original sketches of the character, plus there are a few script pages included, giving us a glimpse into the creative process behind the production of this book. Altogether it’s a package worth getting, and I really hope we get to see more of this character at some point in the future.

Chacebook rating: FIVE STARS


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