"The Curse of Brimstone #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by DC Comics
Written by Justin Jordan
Illustrated by Philip Tan
Colored by Rain Beredo
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on April 4th, 2018
The New Age of Heroes at DC Comics continues with The Curse of Brimstone. Joe Chamberlain is stuck in the dead-end, dying town of York Falls and he's circling the drain. He yearns for the town's glory days when people actually cared about this place. One night after getting into an argument with his disabled father, Joe storms out and meets someone that will change his life forever and will definitely put York Falls on the map. It just happens to transform him into a monster engulfed in flames. Win some, lose some.
You really get the sense of Joe's desperation throughout this debut issue. It's very relatable too, as so many people have been in a similar situation. His options are limited and he wants nothing more than to break free of these constraints that he's stuck in through no fault of his own.
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It helps that Joe's a good kid too. He hates that his sister, Annie has to work as much as she does to get herself through nursing school. Their father has been sick and the medical bills are piling up. Money is beyond tight. Joe's also kind to his elderly neighbor. He wants what's best for everyone, not just himself which is a noble cause.
This makes the monster he turns into so alarming. We see this on the cover and the first page. Brimstone is a fiery mass of charred flesh and spikes. You can barely discern his facial features aside from glowing red eyes that can pierce right into your soul. This is like Hell itself has been put into a man. His transformation is painful and horrifying. Picture someone being burned alive, but instead the flames literally consume the body in an explosion of dread and anguish. The fire is lively and vibrant, engulfing the panels themselves.
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As awesome as Brimstone looks, the scenes of human Joe and the other townsfolk are a little rough. I'm not sure if this is attributable to Philip Tan's pencils or Rain Beredo's colors. It's like the edges around everything and everyone kind of blur together. This works alright in smaller panels, but in larger ones, such as the one in Annie's diner, it can look like a mess. It's like a jumble of colors splashed across the page.
The Curse of Brimstone has some definite potential. Writer Justin Jordan establishes the main character well in this debut issue, giving us time to become invested in his life before tearing it apart. Although Joe has the best of intentions, he may cause more harm than good with these newfound powers. Let this be a lesson to everyone. Be very careful when a stranger offers you a deal too good to be true. We've seen enough tales of crossroads and demons to know that much.