Title: The Curse of Brimstone.
Writer(s): Justin Jordan.
Illustrator(s): Philip Tan, Eduardo Pansica, Júlio Ferreira, Jose Luis, Inaki Miranda, Daniel Henriques, Denys Cowan & John Stanisci.
Colourist(s): Rain Beredo & Chris Sotomayor.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: December 18th 2018.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆.
As I continue my quest to sample the latest stories in DC Comics’ The New Age of Heroes line-up, my hopes of landing on an original, captivating and beautiful story shrinks and my expectations for the remaining couple of series achieves new lows that I’ve never attributed to anything I anticipated reading before. Following the aftermath of DC’s cosmic event Dark Nights: Metal, new and old heroes surge out of their corners of the world and bring forth brand new desires for heroism as they face new deadly threats from the dark multiverse. While many of these series have been cancelled in recent days, it’s to be seen how the new cast of heroes will fit within the DC Universe henceforth that makes these titles so tantalizing. Collecting issues #1-6, this volume looks to introduce new and old fans to a brand-new character who is on the path to figuring out his destiny.
The Curse of Brimstone (Vol. 1): Inferno follows the story of Joe Chamberlain as he finds himself at a dead-end in his life. Desperately wanting to save his long-lost little town in America from being completely forgotten, things align themselves for him to reach a turning point in his life. Crossings paths with a mysterious figure who goes by the name of the Salesman, Joe Chamberlain contemplates shaking hands with the devil to obtain powers that could potentially save his town from extinction. What he ultimately gets is the curse of Brimstone that slowly devours him from the inside when he turns himself towards it for its irresistible powers. As the story progresses, Joe Chamberlain and his much-more mature sister learn about the Salesman, the Home Office and all of its agents that look to convert the forgotten lands of America into entry points for the creatures of the dark multiverse, into new homes for them to settle into.
While I saw potential in some ideas that were present in this story arc, a lack of coherence and transition from one issue to the other has made this a bit of a bumpy ride. The first part of the story looks into Joe Chamberlain’s character, his entourage and his encounter with the Salesman that will lead him to discover his new powers. During this part, there was an intrigue being teased that makes you wonder where exactly the story might lead, until the moment you realize that it ventures into “horror” territory. Once Joe Chamberlain is acquainted with his curse, the story turns into a cycle of monstrous confrontations where Joe and his sister take a car trip around America looking for deserted towns where the Salesman might have in fact made a deal with individuals and created monsters. Their goal? Eliminate them all.
And then there’s the artwork. If your comic book story looks to play in the world of horror, it will clearly need to find a style that manages to convey the proper emotions. Fear, disgust or sadness rather than joy and love, for example. Unfortunately, as it seems to be the trend with The New Age of Heroes line-up, multiple artists worked on this first story volume and the constant change in artists made for a truly inconsistent and unpleasant experience. To add the cherry on top of the cake, most of the artwork was mediocre at best to my eyes with very little effort put into the character designs, action sequences or setting. With a very scratchy style, disproportionate at times and with sometimes horrible transition from one event to another, the only redeeming element about the artwork was the design of Brimstone, yet his action scenes were often too messy and sometimes impossible to comprehend and appreciate.
The Curse of Brimstone (Vol. 1): Inferno is the uninspiring origin story of Joe Chamberlain as he becomes Brimstone and showcases his generic and fiery powers to the world.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!