Rose and Thorn

Rose and Thorn I created by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert
Rose and Thorn II created by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru, and Mike Esposito
...

NAME + ALIASES:
Rose Canton, Alyx Florin

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Alan Scott (former husband), Jennie-Lynn Hayden (daughter), Todd Rice (son)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
None

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Flash Comics #89 (Nov. 1947)

APPEARANCES:

  • Flash Comics #89, #96
  • Lois Lane #113 (two pages of unpublished Golden Age story)
  • All-Star Comics #72–73
  • Infinity Inc. #13–14, 18, Annual #1

SEE ALSO:

The Thorn, a ruthless villainess with multiple personality disorder, was one of the deadliest foes of the original Flash. She was later revealed to be the birth mother of Jade and Obsidian, the product of a brief marriage to Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern. Prior to the Crisis on Infinite Earths, she existed on the parallel world of Earth-2.

Good and Evil

Rose Canton's dual personality first manifested when she was a child. Although Rose was a sweet, good-natured girl, her alter was cruel and vicious, prone to acting out and hurting others. Eventually, Rose began to see her evil personality in mirrors, later coming to believe that her other self was actually her sister.

As a young woman, Rose became the research assistant of Professor Hollis, a well-known botanist conducting experiments on the plant life of the tropical island Tashmi. Handling the strange, thorny vines of Tashmi and being exposed to their sap caused a bizarre change in Rose, physically transforming her into the evil "sister" she had glimpsed so often in the mirror. Her hair even changed color, from blond to red. After terrorizing Tashmi's natives, she murdered Hollis and returned to the U.S. to embark on a life of crime. (Flash Comics #89, Infinity Inc. Annual #1)

The Thorn then appeared in Keystone City, where she clashed repeatedly with the Flash. Between those encounters, she changed back to her Rose identity, who claimed (apparently genuinely) to be searching for her evil sister. Rose befriended Jay Garrick and Joan Williams, who had no idea she was the Thorn. The Thorn was seemingly killed several times, but each time, Rose reappeared soon afterward. At one point, she even suggested that if her evil sister were truly dead, she could return to her work with Professor Hollis, apparently unaware that she had already killed him as the Thorn. (Flash Comics #89, #96)

It was not until their third encounter that the Flash finally realized that the Thorn was Rose's malevolent alter ego, not her sister. After attempting to kill Joan by trapping her in a transparent globe rigged to explode if it were touched, the Thorn once again became Rose, who pleaded with the Flash to lock her away so her Thorn personality couldn't hurt anyone else.

Perplexed, the Flash contacted his Justice Society of America comrades for help. Wonder Woman suggested taking Rose to the Amazons' Transformation Island in hopes that Amazon training would allow her to overcome her evil personality. Green Lantern agreed to fly her there, although as a man, he could not actually land on Transformation Island or Paradise Island. (Unpublished 1948 story excerpted in Lois Lane #113, Infinity Inc. Annual #1)

Rose Becomes Alyx

Rose remained on Transformation Island until the 1960s. Her Amazon training did not endow her with any new powers, although it did greatly reduce her aging, and her evil personality appeared to be gone for good.

After the JSA reformed in 1963 (Flash #137), Rose overheard Wonder Woman and the Amazon Mala talking about the other Justice Society members and mentioning that Green Lantern was secretly Alan Scott. Although she had only encountered Green Lantern very briefly before, Rose became obsessed with him.

A few years later, Mala declared that Rose was cured, so Wonder Woman returned her to the United States. There, Rose took on a third identity as "Alyx Florin," disguising herself with glasses and dyed black hair. She sought out Alan Scott, by then the president of the Gotham Broadcasting Corporation, and became romantically involved with him. Before long, he asked her to marry him, even revealing his secret identity — which "Alyx" already knew.

On the first night of their honeymoon in a remote vacation cabin, Rose's Thorn identity reawakened and immediately attempted to kill Alan. Struggling for control of herself, Rose accidentally started a fire in the cabin and then fled into the night. Alan awoke in time to escape the blaze, but assumed his new bride had perished in the flames.

Using the name Smith, Rose took refuge in a town in Wisconsin, where she soon learned she was pregnant. Nine months later, she gave birth to twins. She did not yet realize that both children were metahumans, due to Rose's superhuman abilities and her exposure to the magical energies of Alan's ring during their conception. However, her Thorn personality again resurfaced and threatened to kill the children, so she fled once again, abandoning the twins. They were subsequently adopted by other families as Jennie-Lynn Haydenand Todd Rice. (Infinity Inc. Annual #1)

Later Life and Death

Rose eventually transformed into the Thorn once again, returning to Keystone City, where she was finally captured and sent to prison. Although she received psychiatric care, its only effect was to increase the Thorn personality's ability to control Rose's actions without physically transforming. (All-Star Comics #72)

She later escaped from prison and hired a new gang, including the Huntress and the Sportsmaster, to help her take over Keystone City. She was finally thwarted by the JSA after nearly killing Wildcat with a poisoned thorn. (All-Star Comics #72–73)

Some time later, Rose became the Thorn once again and escaped from a maximum security prison. When she finally resumed her identity as Rose, she returned to Tashmi, now deserted, to continue her botanical work. She no longer seemed to remember her other personality except as disturbing dreams, but after Infinity Inc. landed on the island for a brief vacation, she again transformed into the Thorn and attacked Jade. Defeated, she returned to her Rose identity without the Infinitors' knowledge and accepted their offer to fly back with them to Los Angeles. (Infinity Inc. #13)

In L.A., the Infinitors invited Rose to stay in one of the bungalows on the Stellar Studios lot, now owned by Sylvester Pemberton, the Star-Spangled Kid. (#14) While she was staying there, her Thorn self began to reassert itself once again. Molly Maynne, who had recently resumed her old identity as the Harlequin, confronted the Thorn and warned her to stay away from Green Lantern, Jade, and Obsidian. (#18) Molly later persuaded Rose to reveal most of her history as the Thorn.

Despite the Harlequin's efforts, Rose became the Thorn a final time and attempted to murder Alan, Jennie-Lynn, and Todd, whose identities she now revealed she knew. They eventually overcame her with the Harlequin's help, and Rose stabbed herself to death with one of her own thorns so that her evil self could no longer threaten the people she loved.

Afterward, the Harlequin and Green Lantern pieced together the missing pieces of Rose's sad story, revealing that she had been Jennie-Lynn and Todd's biological mother. (Infinity Inc. Annual #1)

Notes

Rose's last name was first revealed in Infinity Inc. #14; it was not mentioned in any of her earlier appearances. Her childhood history appeared only in Who's Who Vol. XIX in 1986, not in any previous comic book story.

The Thorn appeared in only two published stories in the 1940's. Bob Kanigher and Joe Kubert produced a third Thorn story in 1948, but it did not see publication due to the cancellation of Flash Comics. Most of the pages were apparently lost, but in 1971, the two concluding pages were belatedly published in Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #113.

In her second Golden Age appearance, the Thorn adopted a new, less-revealing costume consisting of a dark green blouse, yellow jodhpurs, and a cape. She wore this outfit again in her unpublished third appearance, but when she reappeared in the 1970's, she returned to her original outfit.

Powers

When Rose's Thorn personality became dominant, her physical appearance would instantly change, including her hair color and her clothing; they would change back when she became Rose again. As the Thorn, her principal ability was to control jungle vines (and possibly other plants), causing them to grow or entangle her foes and using their thorns as weapons. She could also hurl thorns (some of them venomous or explosive) and had the ability spin at super-speed, appearing as a "green whirlwind" whose flashing thorns would injure or kill anyone who got too close. The Thorn herself was invulnerable to their effects, but because the thorns were wooden, they were immune to the powers of the Golden Age Green Lantern and Jade.

In her final appearance, Obsidian suggested that the Thorn might have had some latent telepathic abilities, but there was no real evidence to support that theory.

At various times, the Thorn hired henchmen clad in thorn-themed green costumes. In the 1940's, she briefly used a customized thorn-plane, armed with machine guns.