The new age of DC heroes is here and with it comes plenty of new series and books to dive into. The Curse of Brimstone #1 comes to us from "story tellers" (I really like that, by the way, a nice touch from DC) Philip Tan and Justin Jordan. Jordan's name was what initially piqued my interest in this title as we've had him on our podcast and I've really enjoyed his work overall. Brimstone does not disappoint in that regard and even has some elements of Jordan's much loved Luther Strode series.
The story is set in a small town like thousands of small towns in America. This one happens to be called York Hills and it is the home of our protagonist, Joe Chamberlain. Joe seems to be like a lot of twentysomethings in these old coal towns, looking for a way out while not wanting to abandon the beloved town he remembers from his youth. Joe also has a family to think about with his sister Annie and his Dad on disability.
Joe as a character is instantly relatable. His struggles and desires are things we can all empathize with and understand; A longing for a world we knew that doesn't exist, that painful nostalgia of a childhood that "wasn't all that long ago" as Joe opines in the opening pages of Brimstone #1. His struggle to find a terrible job to keep a shit car running to get to that terrible job to make just enough money to get by is something that many Americans deal with on a regular basis. It's one of the most natural and real introductions to a character in recent memory.
And then all the real and natural shit goes right out the window when a mysterious man in a car rolls into town with his "hound" who is clearly NOT a pooch. He represents "the home office", they're in York Hills to do something and he just epically alters Joe Chamberlain's world when he makes him an offer to save his home.
The story itself initially shows a solid set up and the ending twist gives you a big old dose of OH SHIT so I can confidently say Curse of Brimstone will be added to the old pull list based on the story aspects alone. But the art is really enjoyable as well.
Tan kills it on the cover along with the book's colorist Rain Beredo. It's an attention grabber for sure. And the look of the town of York Hills is perfect. Just modern enough with that still untouched small town Americana feel to it, Tan sets the story in a town we've all driven through but rarely stopped in for long.
The general dusty feel for the entire aesthetic really emphasizes how lonely and empty York Hills is supposed to feel. Beredo's color palette compliments these choices perfectly and makes the red haired Chamberlains stand out even more. Wes Abbott also does an excellent job on lettering here with some solid choices for the different characters and moments.
FINAL SCORE: 8 out of 10 Proper Agents
The Curse of Brimstone #1 allows Justin Jordan to flex his most powerful muscles as a creator of characters that people can identify with while providing a great landscape for Philip Tan to play in and create stunning visuals.