The Curse of Brimstone #4

Writer: Justin Jordan
Penciller: Eduardo Pansica
Inker: Julio Ferreira
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Wes Abbott

So it looks like after 3 issues on Brimstone, Philip Tan has relinquished interiors to Eduardo Pansica, but Tan continues to do the covers. I’m finding Pansica an improvement over Tan as his style is a bit more clean, and it is easier to decipher some of the action scenes within the book.

The opening of this issue left me thoroughly confused, considering that the ending of issue #3 was Joe and Annie’s dad being turned into ash. I thought surely they would address this, or the issue would pick up with them dealing with his death. NOPE. It starts with Annie and Joe driving the car, and Joe complaining about the car. There is some throwaway dialogue from Annie about how he isn’t responsible for destroying York Hills, and he didn’t kill their father. But Dad is pretty much an afterthought in this issue after being so central to the previous one. They stop at a town that is no longer a town because it is completely underwater. Here we are introduced to Enoch, a former “Agent” of the Salesman who can siphon the powers from the Salesman’s creations. There is an attempt to tie the Salesman into the events of Metal and the The Batman Who Laughs.

We find out that Enoch knows this water skull creature (who actually looks pretty cool), and it has been aptly named Detritus. There is some background about the ledger, but Detritus decides to attack Steve and his family in their station wagon. Brimstone and Enoch swoop into the save the day and team-up to destroy Detritus. In a plot twist, nobody (groan) saw coming, the two characters introduced in this issue are BROTHERS! They destroy Elijah (Detritus) and Enoch disappears. Leaving Joe and Annie to have a bonding moment in the remains of Enoch’s brother (seriously).

Sorry folks, but this book has not improved. Pansica coming in for Tan is an overall improvement because the characters and action are drawn more clearly, and you can actually understand what is happening. Detritus is the highlight for me with this issue. It is this swirling mass of water that has a bunch of skulls for a face, random body parts, trees and other debris floating around in its “body.”

However, the writing and the execution of this concept are just awful. There is a moment when Enoch and Brimstone are fighting Detritus, where Annie asks Enoch if he is just here to watch. Enoch’s reply equally awful: “No. I’m here to kill.” The attempt to connect the Salesman to the Batman Who Laughs is not done well at all, and it looks more like an attempt to make these characters relevant to the DC Universe as a whole. I guess we finally figure out what Brimstone’s powers are, spoiler alert: he burns stuff. I couldn’t care less about all of these characters, they are just not enjoyable to read. Even Enoch, who I guess is painted as having some conflicts about killing his brother, comes across like a total a**hole. I did find the ending where Annie and Joe have this brother and sister moment in the remains of Detritus absolutely hilarious though.

Don’t waste your time or money folks. I have a feeling that The Curse of Brimstone is going to finish this story arc and disappear into the DC Universe ethos.

Rating: 2 out of 10 (Pansica really is an improvement over Tan)

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