The Curse of Brimstone #2 – Justin Jordan, Writer; Philip Tan, Artist; Rain Beredo, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Can He Save the Town?
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Outside of The Terrifics, The New Age of DC Heroes has been an oddball line with a lot of strange tonal problems. That continues with The Curse of Brimstone #2, a horror-influenced title, as it becomes clear that it’s the second one of these titles to essentially be a Hulk book. Well, maybe Hulk crossed with Ghost Rider. While Damage is a straightforward action Hulk title, this one has more in common with the darker-edged takes on the character, involving a man with a monster inside that he’s terrified of and the people who want to exploit it. This series has the supernatural twist, of course, but after a while, it’s still just generic monsters smashing each other. The issue opens with Joe having a nightmare of being used by the mysterious Salesman to destroy York Hills, only to wake up as his sister Annie comes home – and tells him it’s not actually a nightmare. York Hills is burning and it’s only getting worse.
Research indicates that this is not the first town where it’s happened – each town visited by the Salesman meets a horrible but distinct fate, and the stories are considered nothing more than legends. However, while Joe refuses to become a monster, the Salesman is impatient and sends one of his soldiers – a woman with ice powers – to kidnap Joe and Annie’s dad and try to coerce him into fulfilling his destiny. Once she shows up, though, the series starts to feel very generic. There’s one monster, then there’s another, and then they fight, and then someone runs a car into them. We’ve seen plots like this hundred of times before, and it doesn’t help that Tan’s art – while very atmospheric – is also a bit unclear in the action scenes and doesn’t let us get a clear picture of either villain or Brimstone himself. They just look like dark, shapeless hulking monsters except in a few scenes. I continue to like the two lead characters a lot, but the supernatural plot surrounding them is still somewhat lacking.
Corrina: I had two problems with the Curse of Brimstone #1. The first was simply the choice of subject matter, with it set in a small town that seems to blame the outside world and the government for its dire economic situation. The second was that once Joe accepted the deal with the Salesman, the destruction of the town seemed inevitable.
I have to put aside the first problem in order to evaluate the story in this second issue.
On the second concern, I was pleased to see that the town was still standing (so far). Plus, the mystery deepened with the revelation that other towns had been destroyed by others who made a deal with the Salesman/devil. (And the implication that someone in a number of these towns is bitter, angry, or frustrated enough to make a deal with the Salesman is interesting, making Joe and those like him are their own worst enemies.)
But, as the issue closes, I’m still not sure where this is going. Will Joe get control of his powers or continue to Hulk out? Will the story remain in this town and allow it to have an ending or will Joe head off to parts unknown?
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.