WANTED: Earth-Two's Most Dangerous Super-Villains

The Thorn

Personal information

Name: Rose Canton

Residence: Usually Mobile
Professional Criminal, former botanist assistant

First Appearance (Golden Age): Flash Comics #89 (November 1947)
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): All-Star Comics #72 (June 1978)

Character History

   Rose Canton is a life-long schizophrenic, a disease which manifest itself  even as a small child. When her mischievous side took over, she told her parents of an evil "other little girl" who committed the acts of mischief. As a young woman, she was a student of Professor Benton Hollis studying the flora of Tashmi Island in the Pacific. Hollis gave Rose two plants to study, a jungle rose and a toxic thorn.  In her studies of the thorn, she learned that the toxins produced by the plant produced alterations in her physiology, making her immune to thorns and granting her a limited form of super-speed. The discovery served as a wedge that chiseled apart Rose's two personalities: The meek, helpful Rose and the merciless, murderous Thorn. As time wore on, Hollis noticed a strange figure in the jungle at night and to his regret, learned the nature of Rose's transformation. As the Thorn, she had been stalking the jungle at night, terrifying the natives and eventually murdering Hollis.

Leaving the island, Rose made her way to America where she established herself as a criminal in America's emerging super-villain community. In 1947, the Thorn moved her operation to Keystone City and deliberately provoked an encounter by announcing her robbery of the Mid-Town Bank. When the Flash arrived, he found several thugs absconding with the bank's money and quickly rounded them up. As he scolded them for their antics, he was confronted by a green whirlwind with a woman's voice. When he tried to touch the spinning dervish he was stung violently and hurled backwards. With the hero incapacitated, the Thorn revealed herself. Not content to let the villainess escape, Garrick leapt to his feet and tried to seize her, only to be again met with the whirlwind. As she spun up and out of sight, the lithe figure of Rose Canton appeared. Telling a rather biased version of the Thorn's origin, Rose claimed to be the criminal's "sister" and won the Flash's confidence.

the_thorn resize


Shortly thereafter, the Flash again encountered the Thorn as the she tried to rob a large shipment of diamonds being brought into Keystone on a barge. As the Flash captured her assistant, the Thorn herself swam towards a departing ocean liner, intending to blend in among the passengers and disappear. Seeing the Flash closing in, she hurled a special explosive thorn stunning the hero and sending him below the waves. Unfortunately for the would-be escapee, the blast dislodged her from the side of the boat to which she clung and detonated the remainder of her explosive arsenal. Assuming the Thorn killed in the explosion, Garrick returned to Joan's apartment. Shortly thereafter, Rose Canton arrived and was told of her "sister's death",  not realizing that the criminal was in fact standing right before them (Flash Comics #89,  with additional details from Infinity Inc. Annual #1 and unpublished Flash Comics #107).

A few months later, Garrick was visiting Canton at her home to check her progress. As the two walked in the rose garden, Garrick was stuck by a thorn. This event excited the Thorn half of Canton's personality and within hours, the Thorn had unleashed a massive thornstalk in downtown Keystone City. Vaguely aware of Garrick's suspicions, the Thorn waited at her apartment disguised as Rose while the stalk grew and after a quick and confounding visit by the Flash, departed for the scene. After some initial efforts by the police fail, they managed to remove the Thorn from her protective vines only to have her vanish in whirl of thorns. While the dazed hero recovered in her wake, Rose Canton appeared bewailing the errant ways of her "sister". The next day, everyone who had been touched by the Thorn's plants ran amok in a drug-induced rage. When the Flash captured them all, the Thorn appeared again and offered her hand, daring the Flash to walk her to a jail cell. When he did, she shoved him inside and set off an explosion with her explosive thorns. Her ploy failed, of course and as the Flash bore down on her, she dove into a nearby sewer drain and detonated the street behind her. Again assuming his adversary dead, the Flash reported the news to mournful Rose (Flash Comics #96).

Flash vs thorn

All-Star Comics #34

In 1949, Rose Canton finally made a confession to Garrick, that she and the Thorn were one in the same. While the Rose aspect of her personality was repentant of the Thorn's crime, the Thorn aspect was enraged at what she perceived as betrayal. She attacked Garrick in his laboratory and revealed her plan to kill him, Joan Williams and the Flash in turn. Leaving the scientist for dead, she kidnapped Joan Garrick and left an ultimatum for the Flash to try to rescue his confidante. When the Flash arrived, the Thorn had Joan trapped in an explosive bubble, perched high atop Stony Point, a cliff overlooking the river. Seeing the hero approach, the Thorn pushed the bubble over the edge, sending Joan to her doom.  As the Flash freed his future wife from the trap, it exploded, knocking the Thorn from her perch overlooking the river. Her fall knocked her unconscious and she recovered in Joan's apartment, Rose again managed to assume control. In the 1940's, mental health care was inadequate to the needs of as complex a case as the Rose and Thorn. Contacting the Justice Society, the Flash, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman agreed that it was best that she be tended to outside of the American penal system, specifically on Transformation Island, a rehabilitation facility administrated by the Amazons. As Rose was taken aboard Wonder Woman's invisible plane, her attention to Green Lantern became a fateful obsession that would become significant years later (unpublished Flash #107 with addition details from Infinity Inc. Annual #1).


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     As far as is known, Rose remained on Transformation island for nearly twenty years, a model prisoner. However, while the outward schism between herself and the Thorn seemed contained, Rose had developed an obsessive crush on Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern. After years of good behavior, Rose as allowed to return to the States where she dyed her hair black and developed an alias as Alyx Florin. Her youth  preserved by Amazonian science, she moved to Gotham City where she aggressively pursued Alan Scott. In the late 1960's, the two were wed. On their honeymoon, the Thorn re-asserted herself, seizing the sleeping hero's power ring. Unable to wear it, she flung it into the fire, creating an explosion that covered her departure and left the grieving Scott believing her dead. Unbeknownst to Scott, however, Rose was now pregnant with his children, twins who she put up for adoption to keep them out of the clutches of the Thorn (Infinity Inc., Annual #1).

    For years thereafter, the Thorn remained submerged beneath the personality of Rose, who disappeared into American society and obtained a job as a nurse in Keystone City. In the late 1970's, the Flash revealed that he and Jay Garrick were one in the same in an interview in We magazine (Flash Spectacular #1). This event triggered the re-emergence of the Thorn, who launched a crime wave in Keystone City which attracted the attention of the Justice Society. Recruiting the Sportsmaster and the Huntress as her allies, she murdered several officials in Keystone before turning her attention to Joan Garrick, now publicly known as the wife of the Flash. After nearly killing Wildcat, the Thorn and her cronies were rounded up and carted off to a maximum security prison in the Midwest (All-Star Comics #72-73).


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     Several years later, the Thorn escaped. Now aging and lacking direction, she retreated to Tashmi Island to further study the flora that had given her original powers. How long the Thorn remained on Tashmi and whether she occasionally left is unknown. In the early 1980's, her children, now grown and displaying super-powers of their own, visited Tashmi Island after finding it on a map in the JSA headquarters. Thinking the island deserted, the heroes planned a quiet vacation, a vacation that was rudely interrupted when their presence evoked an appearance of the Thorn (Infinity Inc. #13). Realizing who the children must be, the Thorn left Tashmi and attempted to capture them but was thwarted by the Harlequin, a Golden Age adversary of the Green Lantern who had been keeping track of  the children since their adoption. In a climactic confrontation, the Harlequin, Jade, Obsidian and Alan Scott faced off again the Thorn, who had sworn to kill them all. Before she could execute her intentions, the personality of Rose emerged with maternal fury and rather than allow the Thorn to continue, killed herself, removing the Thorn in the process. In the aftermath, the Harlequin revealed to the astonished heroes and their common bond with the Thorn (Infinity Inc. Annual #1). Whether the legacy of the Thorn's madness affects her children on Earth-Two remains to be seen.

Thorn 5

Powers and Abilities

The Thorn's principle abilities derive from the toxins of rare flora known only to Tashmi Island. These toxins have given her the ability to spin and possibly move in other ways and high levels of speed, though certainly not as fast as The Flash. She has a toughed epidermis that makes her immune to minor injury such as pricks from the thorns. She has also has developed a number of weapons based on thorns, including explosive thorns, poisoned thorns and thorns with attachments such as rope. She maintains an operation of several criminal agents which have designed her specialized planes, boats and automobiles with a thorn motif.  She is able to grow and manipulate large thorn vines but it's not clear if that is an inherent ability or a function of the chemical is which she is so well-versed.

Weaknesses and Limitations

 While she has some minor powers, the Thorn has essentially the same limitation as most mortals. Her major Achilles Heel is the warring factions within her own mind. Her submissive side, Rose Canton, often asserts itself under stress to undo the criminal ambitions of the Thorn, making her vulnerable to defeat.

Multiversity Villains


Prior Earth-0

The history of the Thorn is thought to be largely similar to her Earth-2 counterpart.  She re-surfaced earlier than the Earth-2 timeline as part of an early group of villains fighting the Justice League (JLA: Year One LS) but otherwise is thought to have lived our her life and died in a similar manner.




Reprinted in

Flash Comics #89

First Appearance, vs. The Flash

The Flash: 80 Years of The Fastest Man Alive Deluxe Edition

Flash Comics #96

vs. The Flash

The Flash: 80 Years of The Fastest Man Alive Deluxe Edition

Flash Comics #107 (Unpublished)

vs. The Flash

Robyn Snyder's The Comics - vol. 6 #10, The Flash: 80 Years of The Fastest Man Alive Deluxe Edition, Lois Lane #113 (partial)

All-Star Comics #72-73

W/the Huntress and the Sportsmaster vs. Justice Society

Justice Society TPB Vol. 2, Showcase Presents All-Star Comics Vol. 1, All-Star Comics: Only Legends Live Forever

Infinity Inc. #13

vs. Infinity Inc.

The Best of DC #69

Infinity Inc. Annual #1

Revealed as mother of Jade and Obsidian, dies in this story

Crisis on Infinite Earths Companion Deluxe Edition #2