"The Curse of Brimstone #8" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by DC Comics
Written by Justin Jordan
Illustrated by Eduardo Pansica
Inked by Julio Ferreira
Colored by Rain Beredo
Lettered by Wes Abbott
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on November 7th, 2018
Joe and Annie's road trip searching for answers and redemption has put them on a collision course with the Bel Dame. This incredibly powerful being has an army of deformed innocent people at her beck and call, ready to teach these two siblings a lesson. She could bring out the inner darkness within Joe and unleash the full power of Brimstone, but if that happens, there might be nothing of the young man left.
The hideous undead that the Bel Dame calls up are absolutely sickening. Strange tumor-like growths appear all over their skin, creating these off-balance, shuffling monstrosities. These were once normal people living their lives in a small town and now they're walking pustules. Hats off to artist Eduardo Pansica for making me want to throw up within the first few pages. Also, it's pretty cool that he snuck a Michael Jackson Thriller reference in the crowd.
The Curse of Brimstone #8 is like one big action sequence. While there are moments where the characters can catch their breath and take stock of their surroundings, they are short-lived. Joe and Annie are in constant danger from all sides. Pansica's panel layouts reflect this frenetic feeling with ever-changing grids and panels of unique sizes and shapes.
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The only area that doesn't totally gel with Pansica's artwork is Brimstone himself. The fire is more subdued in this design, acting like an aura that surrounds a charcoal-black frame. He looks more like a covert ops soldier who happens to be on fire than a being powered by the flames of Hell itself. He does appear much clearer than he has in previous issues, aided in part by Julio Ferreira's inks, but there's something to be said about the feeling of being lost in the fire.
Speaking of the fiery look, colorist Rain Beredo definitely brings the heat with The Curse of Brimstone with some powerful yellows and oranges. They contrast well against the pitch blackness of the rest of Brimstone, as well as the somber look of the quaint town the battle is taking place in. Beredo found the most cringing shades of browns to use for the infected townsfolk. It's like vomit crossed with pus.
Much of The Curse of Brimstone so far has been a quest for answers as Joe and Annie look to right the wrongs that left their hometown devastated. This issue gives their journey some more meaning with an added wrinkle and new adversary. Writer Justin Jordan pushes Joe to his limits, releasing the monster within in a burst of flames and anger.
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This also comes through in Wes Abbott's letters. When Brimstone speaks, you feel like you need a glass of water just reading it. There's a dark, guttural quality to it with jaggedly shaped word balloons, a black background and orange font. It adds to the monstrous quality of this supposed hero.
The Bel Dame strikes a devastating blow to Joe and Annie, driving a wedge between them that won't be easily fixed. Joe is once again forced to use his powers, despite the ever-growing cost they have. Each time he fires them up, a piece of his humanity is lost and it's become more and more difficult to get back to normal. You have to wonder if there will come a time where he won't be able to change back. The series is really hitting its stride.