Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Brimstone #2 Review

Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
Writer(s): Michael Kent, Brian McCarthy
Artist: Hyunsang Michael Cho
Release Date: July 2011

The Viper and his posse discover a vault piled high with gold but guarded by a dying man armed for Armageddon.

He draws his last breath with only a single word of warning: “Run!” There is something out there, watching and waiting... and it’s hunger is growing stronger. 28 Days Later collides with the Old West in the newest action/horror series from Zenescope Entertainment! 32 pages.

After raving about Brimstone #1 a couple of months ago, I was finally able to get around to reading the second issue of Zenescope’s new horror/western comic.

Brimstone #2 – Trail of Blood begins pretty much where the first ended. Our makeshift gang of heroes have arrived in town to find it deserted and immediately begin searching for answers. It’s not long before trouble starts when Jackson’s horse is stolen, by the woman we met briefly at the close of Issue #1. As the gang wait for the mystery woman to wake up after falling unconscious when Viper shoots the horse to stop her getting away, they discover millions in gold guarded by a mysterious man who Jackson wastes no time shooting and killing.

A little while later trouble breaks out, and Willaims, one of the characters from the first issue returns as either a zombie or possessed by a spirit (I’m just guessing here since we don’t really know what’s going on yet). The girl awakes just in time for the gang to be attacked by an army of zombies, who manage to take Skerritt, which naturally leads to lots of gunshots and fighting, but by the time the final page rolls around, things aren’t looking good for poor Skerritt and we are left with him croaking Viper’s name as he is pulled away by the zombies.

This issue manages to hold the momentum that Issue #1 created and although the story is still only in its introductory phase, there’s plenty of action and surprises which keep you glued to the page. I have to admit, I did race through this one because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, particularly towards the end when the action really kicked in.

All of the characters return from the previous issue and they are a great bunch of misfits. They may not be the nicest people ever to grace the pages of a comic but they work brilliantly together as people who aren’t interested in working together. It’s an interesting way of storytelling, to have what is essentially a team of heroes who each act on their own impulses rather than consulting with the others before they act. It’s refreshing and its fun because you never know what’s going to happen next, especially with our main character Viper.

The artwork again is astounding and its one of the highlights of the series. I often have to remind myself not to get too distracted by the artwork or else it would take me hours to read a single issue. There were a couple of pages which I absolutely adored, there’s a double page spread early on depicting Annabelle unconscious after being knocked off Jackson’s horse. It’s beautifully rendered and has an almost ghost-like quality to it. The final page also really stood out because of the use of green and yellow colouring. It was incredibly vibrant, especially as it some of the brighter colouring in the issue.

The writing is also very strong, it has style and it has attitude which works perfectly for a comic about a group of criminals battling zombies in the old west. Although the artwork is brilliant, the writing also has its merits and I’m fearful that the writing may become overshadowed by the artwork in other reviews, but they work together to create a wonderful final product.

If I had one complaint about the issue, and this is minor, it would be that often, because the scenes take place at night, there is a lot of darkness on the page which can sometimes make things a little difficult to follow. It’s not a problem when there’s less black on the page, but because the characters are all in dark clothes, occasionally I had to go over and re-read and take a closer look at what was actually happening. But as I said, when there’s a bit more colour on the page or in the panel (such as guns being fired or blood splattering) it’s not an issue at all because we get a better range of colours.

Overall, Brimstone #2 is a fantastic read, the storyline is really starting to pick up now and the artwork continues to amaze me. However, I am finding that it is the characters and their attitudes that I’m particularly enjoying about this series. In short if you are a fan of horror comics then this is recommended as it offers something new and exciting but if you fancy something new or want to gauge in some beautifully crafted artwork then Brimstone is worth a look.

Rating: 4/5