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The Thorn(pop culture)
The Thorn—not to be confused with the Modern Age anti-hero of the same name—was one of the most bristly babes to shake up the pages of Golden Age (1938–1954) superhero comics. Penned by Robert Kanigher and rendered by Joe Kubert, she first blossomed in Flash Comics #89 (1947) as Rose Canton, a botanist student with a latent split personality. While studying the flora of Tashmi Island, Rose discovers that the toxins produced by an indigenous thorn alter her physiology, granting her toughened skin and a limited form of superspeed. The revelation ignites her dormant schizophrenia, sprouting two distinct personalities: the docile Rose (a blonde) and the thunderous Thorn (a redhead). As a chief antagonist of the Flash, the villainess became the proverbial thorn in the superspeedster's side, often appearing in a whirlwind of green smoke or a tornado of thorns. While wreaking havoc with her plant-based weapons arsenal of explosive and poisonous thorns and her thornladen plane or roadster, the Thorn's diabolical plottings were interspersed with the innocent proclamations of Rose—ever convincing the Flash that she was Thorn's “sister” and gaining his trust. The Thorn proved as fickle as she was prickly: after a period of incarceration she lost interest in the Flash and became obsessed with the Golden Age Green Lantern, while Rose, in her new identity of Alyx Florin, developed a crush on the hero's alter ego, Alan Scott. They eventually wed, but when the Thorn reemerged, Rose faked her own demise to spare her husband from her dangerous dual personality. It was disclosed in Infinity, Inc. Annual #1 (1985) that at the time of her “death” Rose was pregnant with twins, whom she secreted from the Thorn by putting them up for adoption. Her children— Jennie Lynn Hayden-Scott (Jade of Infinity, Inc., who in 2006 fights with the Outsiders) and Todd Rice-Scott (the living, three-dimensional shadow, Obsidian)—were the villainess' downfall, as Rose committed suicide to prevent Thorn from killing them.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.