Story by Phillip Tan and Justin Jordan
Art by Phillip Tan, Rain Beredo, and Wes Abott
In this issue, we finally find out that Joe Chamberlain’s purpose is to burn the town of York Hills to ash in order to remake the town into a more palatable living area for his new masters. Joe wakes up the next morning, picking up from issue #1 with Annie having him rescued him and brought him home. Apparently there is a blizzard outside now? Joe’s dad has gone out to help plow to clear out the snow, (I thought he was on disability and had problems walking/was possibly disabled. I guess not?) where he encounters this Elsa from Frozen look-alike named The Hound who (surprise) has ice powers. Through the power of Reddit, we are told that Joe isn’t the only one that has been cursed. If Tan’s area was a bit more clear, we would be able to figure out what other curses the towns have been experiencing. It looks like grass, water, snow and stone, later we are told cannibalism as well. Joe tells Annie about his powers and through off-panel detective work, they find out the Salesman is staying at an a local inn. The way they figure this out? Well, it’s the only room that has been rented out in town so it must be where the Salesman is staying. The Hound shows up at the inn where we learn she is there to ensure Joe finishes the job or to kill him. A bunch of fighty fighty ensues, and the issue ends with Annie running over Brimstone and the Hound with her car.
I’ll be honest, this issue was a struggle to get through. While I was hoping this issue would explain what Joe’s powers are as Brimstone, instead it introduced us to an Elsa knock-off and had him jump into a fight with her. While the fight would have been the perfect way to explain his powers and have the readers discover it along with Joe, nothing of the sort happens. We only learn that the Hound can hurt Joe (which really isn’t a big surprise). It’s as if Jordan was trying to come up with a villain for this story, Frozen was on in the background, and he said what if Elsa was evil?? The dialogue is stiff and unoriginal, it did not capture my attention at all. The story feels way too cookie cutter and generic for me to remain intrigued any longer. Tan’s art worked really well for the first issue, doesn’t hold up for this issue. A lot of the backgrounds feel rushed. A good example of this is where Joe wakes up from his nightmare and apparently he has charred his room and burned his mattress. All we see is gray and green backwash with a little bit of black around the edges. I couldn’t tell what had been burned or not. In another scene where Joe and Annie go to the hotel, it appears a dilapidated building, but apparently it is not. Overall, the hook that drew me in the first issue completely disappeared, the story took me in a different direction than I was expecting. Other than introducing a villain and providing us with the fact that Joe isn’t alone in his predicament, nothing else in this story convinced me to stick around for issue #3.
2 out of 10.