The Curse of Brimstone #2 // Review
Brimstone creators Justin Jordan and Philip Tan, alongside colorist Rain Beredo, return for issue two in this ongoing series in DC’s New Age of Heroes. Issue one introduced the sleepy and fading town of York Hills somewhere in Appalachia America. Down on his luck main character Joe Chamberlain made a deal with a shady character known only as The Salesman to help save his town. However, these two characters have different definitions of “save,” as The Salesman transforms Joe into the living inferno Brimstone, who inadvertently sets the town of York Hills ablaze.
Writer and co-creator Justin Jordan continues his in depth look at decaying life in modern day Appalachia. This dissection has made a great setting for this book, with very relatable characters so desperate to escape their reality that they might make rash decisions, as previously mentioned with Joe. Jordan continues to explore the relationship with Joe and his sister Annie, whom Joe is trying to help get away from York Hills for a better life. Joe is aware that he may not amount to much, but is determined to not let his sister become another victim of this fading town. Annie knows that, despite his best efforts, Joe still needs a guiding hand, and is the one to find him after his nightmarish transformation. Joe has visions of York Hills reduced to ash and bones. He remembers the words of The Salesman saying that his wish was granted, and now York Hills will be a placed that everyone wants to see. Jordan cleverly uses the old adage “be careful what you wish for” in a way that really tugs on the heartstrings. Annie quickly learns that all is not well with Joe and the charred bed sheets may have a connection with the rash of fires that have engulfed the town. With his newly granted powers, not having any idea how they work, Joe is still determined to make things right and prove that York Hills can thrive again. Jordan also introduces another character like Brimstone with ice powers called The Hound. She’s a lovely young lady that has shown up in York Hills to make sure that Joe finishes the “job” that he was bound to by a handshake. Not much else is know about her, other than she has much better control of her powers than Joe.
Philip Tan, artist and co-creator, once again paints the picture of a town fading away. Jordan is writing about these people suffering under the weight of a failed town, while Tan is drawing a town that is being erased from modern America. Tan also gives a glimpse of what The Salesman has done in other cities. Gruesome displays that make York Hills look like a dream. One town overgrown with green, choking out life, another that looks to be drowned in either oil or some viscous substance. However, with the arrival of The Hound, York Hills now faces a blizzard. Half the town and its residents are statues of ash that are now being covered in snow. Tan is able to draw York Hills fading away in more than one way in this issue, which really goes to show he is on top of his game with this book.
Rain Beredo’s color work on this book meshes so well with Tan’s drawing to further plunge the reader into the desolate town of York Hills. What’s left of York Hills, after Joe’s first transformation into Brimstone, is a smokey grey and black waste. With the arrival of The Hound, Beredo layers on light blue and whispy white to create a dreadful looking blizzard. Mixing those on top of the ashes of the town in one panel reveals already-frozen, charred bones. It’s just one panel, but it’s makes the skin crawl with how raw Beredo can make it look. As previously mentioned with the glimpses of the other towns, Beredo’s colors on the those wastelands cranks up the creepy factor. Hopefully more of these towns are revealed in future issues, so Beredo can deliver more creepy color combinations.
Jordan, Tan and Beredo have delivered another solid issue of The Curse of Brimstone. Joe seems more determined than ever to help reverse the damage done to his town and others that have been affected by The Salesman. It will be interesting to see if Joe can learn to control his incredible powers going forward, or if he will be consumed by them and his guilt over what happened to his town.