York Falls is a small town left behind by time. Joe Chamberlain is a young man at the end of his rope in this town. He couldn't get into college. There aren't any jobs in town. His truck is too broken to get Joe out of town to find a job elsewhere. His sister, Annie, is a waitress making money for nursing school. However, she is having to support the family, as their father is laid up from an on-the-job injury.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, for Joe Chamberlain, there's a man coming to town who may be able to solve his problems.
Curse of Brimstone immediately impresses by capturing the cycle of poverty that exists in many small towns across America. Joe is a driven, angry, but ultimately well-meaning young man who just wants the ability to support himself and for his sister to have a good life.
Most of Curse of Brimstone is spent setting up the characters, the town, and the scenario. By the end of the first issue, you know Joe, Annie, their father, and York Falls. The comic also uses southern gothic plot beats and set-dressing to bolster its narrative While the comic is very light on action, it can be forgiven when the character establishment is this good. Plus, Philip Tan and Rain Beredo are given a couple of panels in which to show off the design of Brimstone, and he looks pretty damn awesome.
The comic even touches on how often small towns like York Falls are forgotten by liberals — and yeah, we do sometimes.
Tan and Beredo do some great work here. There is careful attention to detail, the town is well fleshed-out, and painstaking effort is even put into how much of a piece of crap Joe's in-the-process-of-breaking-down truck is. There's also a full-page spread of their father which is surprisingly haunting.
Curse of Brimstone blew me away with its ambition, its heart, and the pain it's trying to convey. Superheroes meet southern gothic drama in this stunning display from the team of Justin Jordan, Philip Tan, and Rain Beredo, and this comic comes highly recommended. Give it a read when it comes out on April 4th.