The Curse of Brimstone #5 – Justin Jordan, Writer; Inaki Miranda, Artist; Philip Tan, Jose Luis, Pencillers; Daniel Henriques, Julio Ferreira, Inkers; Rain Beredo, Colorist
Ray – 6/10
Ray: This has been DC’s first experiment in a while in doing an in-continuity horror book, pitting its demonic anti-hero and his sister against atrocities from the depth of hell. As we all know about horror, the success of a horror movie depends heavily on how scary the villain is. The Curse of Brimstone #5 brings us a new villain that, while deeply unsettling, feels so out of central casting that they’re not scary at all. The new format of the series seems to be that Joe and Annie head from small town to small town, fighting remnants of the Salesman’s bargains. This time, the opening pages show us a town being slowly picked off by an army of possessed, knife-wielding children. We’ve seen this kind of plot before, with movies like Children of the Corn, but the opening visuals are nicely creepy. By the time Joe and Annie get there, there’s virtually no one still around save for one man – almost completely out of his mind and menacing everyone who comes near him with a knife.
The main problem with this issue? Well, just look at those credits. This line is supposed to be an artist-forward line, but it’s the fifth issue and we’ve got three art teams on the same issue. That gives this issue a very scattered feel that distracts from what it’s trying to do – create a sense of tension. You don’t have tension, you don’t have a horror title. The bulk of the issue is Joe, Annie, and their new barely-sane ally running from possessed children popping out of corners like a Jack in the Box. Brimstone briefly pops up to menace the man when he threatens them with his knife, but the flaming demon mainly seems like a side character in the story. For a title named after him, he doesn’t seem to have all that much to do. The main villain, Slackjaw, appears to be a child who has his own deal with the Salesman, and is enthralling the town’s children with the power of TV. The big showdown will have to wait for next issue, and it could deliver, but this first installment didn’t really sell me on this arc.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.