June 7, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #231: Rose And Thorn

The split personality hero may not be anything new, but how often does one side not know the other is a hero? Probably too often, honestly...

Normally when I come up with the idea on who to highlight here, it comes from me remembering some character, sometimes minor, that I used to read about.  I’ll start off with the idea the character has been missing for a while.  Sometimes I find out that isn’t the case.  Someone revived the character, and I just hadn’t read that new issue of whatever yet.  But this time around is a bit different.  I read an article recently that said Brian Michael Bendis reintroduced an old character.

So, let’s look at that one.  This is Rose and Thorn.

And yes, they are one person.

OK, truthfully, DC has had two Rose and Thorns.  Or two Roses and two Thorns.  I’m not sure it makes a difference.

Anyhoo, Rose and Thorn is basically a Jekyll and Hyde story.  A woman named Rose has an alter ego named Thorn, but she’s a split personality, so Rose doesn’t seem to know Thorn exists.  The first Rose and Thorn might have.  That Thorn was a supervillain who battled original Flash Jay Garrick until she was cured of the Thorn persona.  Then she married Green Lantern Alan Scott.

That Thorn had some plant control powers.  Anyway, Rose got pregnant during her honeymoon with Alan, and fearing Thorn would hurt her kids, she gave them (a pair of twins) up for adoption.  And from time to time, Thorn would show up to fight Alan.  But somehow, the Green Lantern who couldn’t affect wood never knew that he was battling his wife all those times.  No one ever said Green Lanterns were very bright.

But that was the original Rose and Thorn.  What about the next one?  The heroic one?  OK, so, in October of 1970’s Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #105, the new version came along.  Rose’s name was Rose Forrest.  Her father was a Metropolis police officer killed by the gang known as the 100.  When Rose goes to sleep, she changes into the vicious vigilante Thorn.  Thorn doesn’t have any powers.  She’s just really rough and violent.

If this happens when Rose goes to bed, she must be pretty exhausted all the time.

Oh, and she also apparently chops off bad guy’s hands for spits and giggles.

Later work would revise the character’s origins a little.  Now both her parents would be killed, and she fought back hard enough to go to a psychiatric hospital.  Because that’s what happens when a 12 year old mutilates a full-grown adult, even if he is a murderer.  She also had at least two other personalities, one named “Wild Rose” who was even rougher than Thorn.  The other one is “Mom,” and that’s the gentle one.

Now, Rose and Thorn tend to mostly pop up here and there, often for a Metropolis-based story that needs a vigilante that might make Batman blanch with horror.  She may get the occasional mini-series here and there, but she seems to be mostly a supporting character.

Like here, when she supports Booster Gold to freedom.

But it does strike me that I mentioned the original Thorn’s twins were Jade and Obsidian.  I’m pretty sure the New 52 more or less wiped those two from existence.

I may have the next two columns figured out right now.

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