Comic Book Review: The Curse of Brimstone #8
Nothing more horrific than being powerless in the face of true darkness. Quite the cliffhanger the last issue of Brimstone left us on when Joe suddenly finds himself unable to access his powers in the face of the latest creation of the Salesman. This is a genuine race against time for Joe and Annie are facing an uphill climb to fight a war that could consume them in the process.
Where this issue picked up was chilling. I think we all knew where this story was inevitably headed, but there was no telling how this creative team would execute that moment once it came. The suspense was painful because from the start of this encounter with the Bel Dame, you could feel that this was a losing battle in some way. Joe losing his powers to her was only the start of the troubles. Someone who can shut you down just like that would never make it that easy to fight back. The introduction we are given to the Bel Dame made her standout from every other evil we have come across so far. They had us believe that she was just another creation like the rest, but we quickly found ourselves realizing that she was much more. The truth to her presence catches you off in a big way since we come to learn some things about the Home Office that we weren’t prepared for just yet. Getting hit with that kind of realization is a great feeling hard for the fact that reveals such as what we got here should never be seen coming.
The horror that the Bel Dame unleashed was the strongest sense of horror we have gotten out of this series as well. This was the fist time that I legitimately felt afraid for both Joe and Annie. Usually you would be bracing for what could go wrong because Joe was that strong as Brimstone. However, this was a situation where he and Annie were completely out of their depths and outmatched. The Bel Dame’s powers, her confidence, her sleight of tongue, all of it grabbed your attention from start to finish.
Now the big thing for this issue is what decision Joe could have made to challenge the trust that Annie has in him. My fear was always that Annie would simply lose that trust for the pettiest reason. She was getting to that point with every argument she had to have about control, but she needed a real push that wasn’t so trivial. Siblings don’t fall apart over trivial things. What drove that final nail into the coffin was perfectly executed when this creative team truly drew that line in the sand between what these two were willing to do in order to protect those they cared for. One chose right despite the decision being life-threatening, the other? Failed to hit the mark when the heart was in the right place in terms of intentions.
The Curse of Brimstone #8 did not play around when it came to the lesson that this Bel Dame had to teach Joe in sacrifice. It was as clever as it gets for taking Joe to that tipping point where he could both lose himself to Brimstone and lose the trust that his sister has in him. I knew heartbreak was coming for this brother-sister duo inevitably, but not like this. This is a story that knows how you play with your emotions in the best of ways.