"Brimstone and the Borderhounds #1-4" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Hound Comics
Written by M.H. Carnevali
Illustrated by Sajad Shah
2011, 156 Total Pages
The question of what happens after we die is one that has plagued humanity forever. No one knows but we've made up several theories along the way. Creators Brimstone and M.H. Carnevali have made yet another in Brimstone and the Borderhounds. Theirs is a lot more intricate and entertaining than most of the other ideas that are already out there.
Brimstone and the Borderhounds is set around the world after our own, where souls of the dead are used as "post-prime existence labor" by corporations tied to the different religions on earth. When you die as a Christian, your soul belongs to one company and if you die as a Buddhist, it could belong to another. Souls are a hot commodity and are bought, sold, or stolen legitimately as well as in the black market.
Bounty hunters are used to police this marketplace and that's where we meet Brimstone. Half human, half hellion, he's the best member of the Border Enforcement and Retrieval Department. Brimstone works with a pair of brothers, Dawg and Luscious, to bring back any souls that were lost or taken along the way. This is mainly done in the next world, but due to Brimstone's unique genetic makeup, he's able to come to Earth to do his job from time to time.
This brings us to our story. Brimstone has been tasked with retrieving an escaped soul that's wreaking havoc in our world as a serial killer known as Hostile. Detective Altar is on the case, as he was ten years prior when this murderer was first on the prowl. There's a strange connection between Altar and Brimstone, but details are hazy on this. Altar doesn't seem too freaked out that the guy he put in the ground a decade ago is back causing trouble. That might be because he himself was dead for a good eight minutes once so that could give him a different kind of insight into the afterlife.
Brimstone and the Borderhounds has a pretty high concept, but once you get into it, it's pretty cool. It's also rife with possibilities. We're shown only a handful of the situations that Brimstone and his team can encounter with an attack on a shipment of souls and Hostile's escape. There's all sorts of bizarre corporate espionage that can be worked into future stories.
While I dug the story, some of the dialogue was a little rough. Most of the characters seem to be fueled by nothing but testosterone, struggling to be the biggest, baddest guy around. All these egos bumping into each other can make for an awkward flow to a comic. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the character of Luscious is the stereotype of the big gay guy turned up to the max. He wears a pink boa and obsesses about his looks while commenting on how cute every other guy is.
The art is handled by Sajad Shah and for the most part, it's quite good. Some of the characters look a little unfinished, like this was a sketch that would have been gone over again with final pencils. This varies greatly by issue and by panel though, as some of the close-up shots are quite well done. The non-human elements are Shah's strength as there are some pretty scary bits here. The souls are ushered into "Hell" on a barge that's driven through the mouth of a gigantic horned skull. Shah depicts this in an epic manner that's both impressive and terrifying.
Brimstone and the Borderhounds is a unique take on the afterlife. I'm not sure if everyone's soul ends up in this realm or just the bad ones, but I'm sure that I wouldn't want to run into Brimstone and his crew. This is a four issue mini-series that will eventually be collected into a trade. There's a lot more coming from this world, though, as Hound Comics is releasing an animated series and a video game based on the comic. I just hope that more books are planned because I want to find out more about this version of the afterlife.
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