It’s the old west, and zombies are looking to chew up everyone in their path. Zenescope’s Brimstone #5 charts a 350-word path of destruction within the enclosed 22 pages. Does anyone make it out alive…including the reader? Saddle up and find out!
Previously, in Brimstone: Y’know, your guess is as good as mine. Near as I can tell, the setting of our tale is somewhere in the old west. Except this time out, zombies are on the prowl while the humans aren’t particularly pleasant to one another. This issue features a lot of yelling and killing. Besides that, I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that ‘Brimstone’ is possibly the name of the western town they’re in.
QUICK ON THE DRAW…
I’m reasonably certain that it took me 5 minutes to ‘read’ this entire comic. Brimstone #5 is a 22-page comic with fewer than 350 total words. Keep in mind that my word count included people’s names and words such as ‘a.’ That’s not to say that wordiness is a prerequisite for good comics; quite the contrary, as a matter of fact. There are some popular writers (one in particular at Marvel) who cram about 350 words into one laboriously extended scene of dialogue, all comprised of talking heads mimicking a David Mamet film.
If you’re going to have sparse language usage in your book, then the visuals need to carry the weight of the story. Quite simply, that doesn’t happen here. The artwork has a painted look, but the images are murky and sometimes the panel progression is rough. The murkiness quotient is ramped up considerably whenever action sequences are taking place in darkness. At these points in the story, it’s like walking in the dark with steamed glasses. Not that I would have first hand knowledge of this. Moving on…
I PICK… NOT THE ZOMBIES?
I’m not even sure whom I’m supposed to be rooting for, since pretty much everyone either lacks any characterization whatsoever, or they’re portrayed as combatants. I think the safe money is that the zombies are bad. During at least one scene, I was rooting for them to rip one of the characters apart. It happened, so I at least had that going for me, which is good.
BOTTOM LINE: No Recap, No Words, No Clue, No Sale
I’m still trying to figure out how 2 writers can turn out a book with 350 words and such subpar storytelling. It might be worth mentioning that the same 2 writers are also listed as the book’s editors. Like zombie apocalypses, writers editing their own work doesn’t generally turn out real well. Some of the artwork is not bad to look at, but besides those few panels, I would recommend you save your $3.25 and the 5-minute reading investment. Brimstone #5 earns 1.5 out of 5 stars.