[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Justin Jordan
Artists: Philip Tan
Did you ever get pressured into making a bad deal? Joe Chamberlain is paying for the deal he made. Granted, the Salesman sold him a bill of goods about helping the town of York Hills when he turned poor Joe into Brimstone.
Now, Joe’s refusal in the last issue places him and Annie on the run from the Hound, and she’s driving them to the place where the Salesman is holding their father hostage. Will this threat be enough to push Brimstone too far?
Annie is such a bright light. Joe needs her. She is resilient and determined. If you had a big sister who was tough on you and cool, she might look and sound a lot like Annie.
She has a great line on Page 9. It’s 1 of 2 inset panels set above a larger splash panel of the Hound and Brimstone fighting, while the Salesman crawls away. In the first panel, Dad argues that they can’t leave Joe behind. Annie responds, “I’m not. You need to keep moving. I can’t rescue him and you at the same time.”
Annie is more than just talk. On two occasions she goes toe-to-toe with the Salesman. During the second struggle, she wounds him with a knife and gets him on the ground. When the Salesman tries to offer her a deal, she refuses, saying,”I’m not my brother. I don’t make deals with things like you. You’re going to undo what’s been done. And then I am going to kill every instance of you.” It’s a great quote that sets up the next positive.
The Salesman reveals that he exists in many places at once and is having more than one conversation at the same time. This means that his apparent death at the hands of Annie is only the first. There will be many chances to hunt down and kill the Salesman, again and again.
When Brimstone explodes on Page 16, the blast kills the Hound and Joe’s father.
Joe was stuck in York Hills because he and Annie felt responsible for their father. His condition kept him immobile and dependent. It had created a cyclical loop of self-sabotage that kept Joe from setting out on his own.
Now, with the town and his home gone, Joe’s dad was the last piece of York Hills that could hold him back from his potential. Also, the poor guy had been dealt a raw hand by life, and it meant something that he could be a part of giving his son a chance at fixing his mistake, and possibly changing fate. It’s an emotional anchor that will remind Joe of the responsibility he carries by wielding the power of Brimstone, and the consequences it can mean for others.
By setting the story of Brimstone in a small town like York Hills, Justin Jordan paints a story of desperation. It’s a word that the Salesman uses to goad Brimstone. Desperation pushed Joe to take a deal he knew was a trap. It’s a feeling that will take many shapes when Joe and Annie use the Salesman’s ledger to track down agents operating in other small towns.
My only negative for this issue is that powers are used, but not explained.
Brimstone burns things and not just by touch. He doesn’t shoot flames. Does that mean he heats the air around him until everything is susceptible? It would help to understand what he can do to help gauge the growth and development of his character.
The Hound is a female figure who changes into an ice dog that can throw ice weapons and freeze people. Cool stuff, and yet the supernatural nature of these characters, leaves the feeling that these descriptions only scratch the surface.
The Salesman is still unclear. He has the power to give people powers, but is that all?
A three-issue arc makes a promise to the reader. It introduces a problem, a goal, and the forces that are in opposition. The end of the arc either brings the story to a resolution or sets up the characters for a long journey to achieve their goals. The Curse of Brimstone accomplishes both of these at the end of issue 3.
It’s a writer’s dream to take their characters in any direction. I only see endless opportunities for Justin Jordan, Annie, Joe, and Brimstone.