The Curse of Brimstone #1 // Review
The Curse of Brimstone is another explosive title in DC’s New Age of Heroes. Created by writer Justin Jordan and Artist Philip Tan, Brimstone looks to build off of the success of Dark Nights: Metal. The creative team is comprised of Justin Jordan, who has written for Green Lantern: The New Guardians, as well as Sideways; artist Philip Tan, who has drawn for many different projects including He-man and the Masters of the Universe; and colorist Rain Beredo, who has worked for multiple companies from Darkhorse to Marvel and DC. Together, they have created quite a unique book that looks at the modern day socioeconomic issues surrounding the vanishing Appalachian coal towns, a subject that has yet to be tackled in depth in comics and will make for a very compelling tale.
Brimstone co-creator and series writer Justin Jordan introduces the reader to the sleepy town of York Hills that resembles much of the “Coal Belt” that has been deteriorating since the 70s. Main character Joe Chamberlain is introduced as the typical down on his luck schlub. His life is in turmoil, as he is desperate to escape the trap that is York Hills. His admirable goal is to make sure his sister, Annie, who is studying to become a nurse, gets out of York Hills and never looks back. Joe is also torn about doing anything he can to help save the town he believes can rise from the ashes once more. Jordan weaves a sad tale for Joe, who is also trying to support his disabled father. Trying to help others while barely keeping yourself afloat is a real struggle for many in modern life, and will help create a very interesting narrative as this series carries on.
Series artist and co-creator Philip Tan gives the whole issue a very ethereal feel. The artwork is stylized, as if it’s being brushed or blown away, which adds to the overall feeling that York Hills and it’s residents are fading away. Jordan and Tan have displayed just how well their styles will blend with the first issue in this series. Tan unleashes hell on the pages with the gruesome and heartbreaking transformation of Joe into Brimstone. These pages of course wouldn’t have nearly enough impact without the addition of Rain Beredo’s colors.
Beredo’s colors are subdued for most of the issue, which helps tie into that ethereal vibe. However, when those transformation panels come up, Beredo lights the pages ablaze with crisp oranges, dazzling yellows and deep crimson reds. It will be interesting to see how Beredo will utilize colors in the coming issues with the stark difference between the muted colors of the town and the raging inferno of Brimstone.
This creative team of Jordan, Tan and Beredo have delivered a great first issue that follows in the dark footsteps of Dark Nights: Metal. It will be interesting to see what implications this character and his settings have in the new DC Universe, and if any of the heavy hitters will get involved further down the line.