World of Darkness: Crimson Thaw #3 is the third and final installment of the Crimson Thaw spinoff and last comic book dealing with the protagonists of Vampire: The Masquerade: Winter’s Teeth, a ten-issue preceding miniseries. They are both set in White Wolf’s World of Darkness that was mega-popular in the Nineties and is only now making a return.
The premise is the vampires of Minneapolis and Saint Paul have accidentally defiled the holy grounds of a group of Garou (werewolves), erecting magical barriers that keep out werewolves. Despite this being just another acquisition to them, the local werewolves take it as a declaration of war. After killing one of Prince Cecily Bain’s close friends, the issue is further complicated by the arrival of Justicar Ian Carfax that has his own plans for the Garou.
Ian Carfax is a Justicar of the Camarilla and thus one of the most powerful vampires alive. He has been feeding on werewolves to hold off the mysterious “Beckoning” but has greater ambitions than that. He believes by learning the secrets of Garou spirit magic that he’ll be able to devour the power of Mother Earth and make himself a god. You know, basic supervillain stuff.
Unfortunately, for Ian, Garou are not reasonable about their magic or holy places. This triggers Cecily Bain trying to decide how to bring peace to her land while also rebelling against the man who put her in charge of the Twin Cities (an unforgivable offense). I really liked the twists and turns here but would have appreciated an additional two issues to better explore the fallout from Mitch’s death as well as more character interaction between Cecily and her Anarch friends. Sadly, I feel like this will be the last time we deal with them.
I feel like the final confrontation between the werewolves, Ian Carfax, and Cecily was a bit on the rushed side, though. I don’t think a Justicar would ever allow himself too far from his Archons and support, so I didn’t quite buy the ending. I also was curious why he was still in the Twin Cities when his business concluded at the end of Winter’s Teeth.
Storyline-wise, I feel like this is a pretty good endpoint for Cecily Bain as it provides a sense of what she’s going to be like for the next few decades and how she’s going to evolve as a Prince. Unfortunately, the Anarchs don’t get a much time as they deserve and there’s no room to really discuss Colleen’s feelings about the death of her husband. Still, I feel like we could have had worse follow-ups.
The art is excellent, and I really like the way everyone is depicted. Cecily is quite fetching in her less Gothic Punk ensemble and more fashionista look. It goes to show that clothes make the Prince. I do think the book didn’t have much in the way of gaming material in the back and that’s a shame, especially since the first issue gave some hints about Werewolf: The Apocalypse 5th Edition. On the other hand, they gave a nice short story this time.