"The Curse of Brimstone #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by DC Comics
Written by Justin Jordan
Illustrated by Philip Tan
Colored by Rain Beredo
Lettered by Wes Abbott
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 6th, 2018
Joe's hometown has been set on fire after he made a deal with the mysterious Salesman to put it on the map. It backfired like a monkey's paw, turning into into a flame-covered monster named Brimstone. Now he wants to renegotiate, but the Salesman has all the cards, including a henchman with ice powers named the Hound, and Joe's father held hostage. Joe has to hold his abilities in check long enough to save his dad.
We've had an idea of just how powerful Brimstone is, but not as much first hand. We would see the aftermath of the damage he'd cause when he let loose with Joe waking up across town without any knowledge of what happened. The Curse of Brimstone #3 shows this in brutal detail. Philip Tan's artwork builds with each page turn, culminating in a display of raw energy that leaves behind a chilling after-image. This outlines the tragedy of this character and it's only going to get worse for him if he doesn't get a handle on these powers.
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The battle between Brimstone and the Hound is like a swirling tornado of strength. Colorist Rain Beredo smashes these two forces together with a shocking blue and a fiery orange, piercing through the darkness to beat the ever loving crap out of each other.
Brimstone looks like some sort of knight from Hell. His body is covered in spikes. His eyes glow an angry red as one of the only distinguishing trait on his face. Flames billow around him unlike any other flame-powered hero. This is not the Human Torch. This is something much darker.
While I love the sequences with the Hound and Brimstone, the artwork falls short with the normal human characters. I've mentioned this before, so I won't go too deep into it, but the regular people lack definition. You can see their basic form, however they're kind of hazy, like their outlines can't quite hold together, so they could just kind of melt away at any moment.
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Joe and his sister Annie are getting desperate. The Salesman has countered every move they've made, so they're running out of options. This makes for an exciting and fast-paced read. There are some interesting revelations during this battle and I'm curious to see how some of them will play out as the story continues.
More importantly, putting Joe and Annie's father in danger made them all realize how much they care about each other. Things were tough between them back in the first issue. Their relationship was strained and it didn't look like there would be any sort of happy family reunion any time soon. The one good thing about Joe turning into Brimstone is that it put everything in perspective for them. Unfortunately, it may be too late.
The Curse of Brimstone is the dark side of a hero's origin story. If Joe can rise above all this torment and tragedy, he could be a force for good in this world. He could just as easily turn into one of the most fearsome villains we've ever seen.