[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Justin Jordan
Artist: Philip Tan
Heroes are born in tragic ways, parents being killed, radiation, mystical arts, alien biology, even pure ingenuity. For Joe Chamberlain, it all started when the coal mine in town ceased operations, then the businesses left, and finally, the people left if they could. That’s when the salesman came around with a deal.
Joe agrees and finds himself suddenly burning alive. His skin cracks and turns black, solidifying and growing. Beneath the cracked and jagged skin, stripes of glowing red magma flare through. Next thing Joe knows, he is waking up in his bed screaming and naked, just like the first time he was born. Nightmarish images of an ash covered city still coursing through his brain.
Annie comes running into the room worried about her brother who she dragged in from the wild the night before. She isn’t sure what exactly happened but she knows her brother is in on it. Pointing to the window, she tells him to go look. As in his dream, the meager village is covered in ash, the phones, internet, power, it’s all out. While trying to figure what’s going on, the power comes on and they get a call. The Salesman tells Annie, he knows it’s her, her father has told him so much already.
Joe loses it, his eyes flare, his hands ignite and he wants to burn the salesman down, turn his power against him. As the brother-sister duo leave the house, the are greeted by a cold, blond haired woman. Suddenly she’s throwing ice and has turned black just like joe did. Without thinking Joe becomes Brimstone again and prepares to fight. Just before Annie rams both of them with her car.
Justin Jordan has written a simple take on a new hero. Joe Chamberlain is down on his luck and wants to make things better for his family. What is interesting is that Joe, unlike Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Tony Stark, or Peter Parker, doesn’t have anything special about him. No money, not education, no inherent power. Joe simply is desperate, needs help, and is willing to do anything to help his sister. I am interested to see what Joe will do now that he has real power, even though he didn’t mean to have it.
What he does have is a sister who he levels with and she just instantly starts to help him. It’s great to see a protagonist that doesn’t hide there new power, and a supporting character that just says, “Ok, what’s next.”
Philip Tan has crafted a beautiful visual world that perfectly fits the narrative. The world is dark and dirty. Cloths are plain, buildings are simple and quaint. The supernatural elements are the only thing that exist with any polish or vibrant color. The Hound is in fact shown in a clean, bright blue coat with glowing blue eyes. Now, Joe even has a bright glow, as he turns into Brimstone.
There are no negatives worth mentioning in this issue.
Brimstone #2 is an exciting issue and part to Joe’s story. We finally get to see him engage in a fight, even if he has the help of his human sister when fighting a demon of sorts. I’m excited to see where Joe goes and how he deals with the Salesman and his curse/deal.