Doncha just hate it when you sell your soul to the literal devil and there’s a *catch*? Your Major Spoilers review of The Curse Of Brimstone #2 awaits!
Storytellers: Philip Tan & Justin Jordan
Dialogue: Justin Jordan
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Wes Abbott
Editor: Jessica Chen
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: May 2, 2018
Previously in The Curse Of Brimstone: “What do you do after you unknowingly make a deal with the devil that transforms you into Brimstone, and you can’t stop the constant feeling of screaming, fiery pain burning from head to toe? Joe Chamberlain is determined to relieve himself of this curse by tracking the devil by his tail. That is, if the devil’s Hound doesn’t get to him first…”
“LOOKING AT THE WORLD THROUGH A BURNING MIRROR…”
We open with Joe Chamberlain, newly turned into Brimstone, trying to hold back his powers from destroying his home town and killing everyone he knows and loves. There’s a LOT of exposition in these first few pages, as Joe/Brimstone argues with The Salesman who gave him his powers, recapping the entire first issue and adding the wrinkle that he may, possibly be able to fight off the influence of his new fiery form. Joe awakens, as if from a dream, to find his friend Annie wondering what happened, leading to more exposition and discussion and somehow transitioning into a fight scene with The Hound, another agent of The Salesman. Elsewhere, Joe’s dad is entrapped by agents of the darkness as well, and the issue feels like it literally ends in mid-sentence…
My biggest complaint about this issue is in the art which is intentionally abstract, but in a manner that feels unfinished rather than artsy. Joe’s transformation is shown several times, but he’s nothing more than black shadows with fiery lighting effects to indicate that he’s powered by Hellfire blah blah blah. On the one hand, the fire effects are impressive, but having no other definition in the character works against the story, as does having all the characters look as if they’re in a fogbank in a dream that a baby is having… or something. This issue’s story is very much a paint-by-numbers affair, as well, with a LOT of discussion and explanation but not a lot of things happening, but the sheer amount of exposition undermines the tension that the creators seems to be trying to create in these pages.
BOTTOM LINE: NOT SURE WHAT THEY’RE GOING FOR
As with the other ‘New Age’ books, there’s a clear effort to ape Marvel Comics in these pages, in this case seemingly Ghost Rider, but the attempts to show the jeopardy Joe has put himself and his loved ones in falls flat thanks to walls and walls of dialogue and (intentionally) indistinct art. The Curse Of Brimstone #2 doesn’t quite find its footing in terms of either story or art, and it’s not really clear whether we’re looking at a scenario where Brimstone is doomed, a tragic hero or constantly fighting his own demon side like Ghost Rider or The Hulk, leading to a disappointing 2 out of 5 stars overall. I’d like to see more of this book, if only to see if they can put everything together and tell the story that they want to, but this issue does not work for me.