A Terrifying Team-Up & A Very False Idol In The Curse Of Brimstone Annual #1

by Olly MacNamee

When you bill your book as a supernatural series then at some point or another John Constantine is bound to turn up. And so he does in The Curse of Brimstone Annual #1 written by Justin Jordan, with art by Mike Perkins, colours by Rain Beredo and letters by Wes Abbott. And, as always, he’s his usual annoying self, managing to hitch ride with Joe and his sister Annie; the former rotting away in front of her very eyes every time he transforms into his alter ego. An alter ego he gained after making a deal with the Devil. And we all know how these things tend to go, right?

Needless to say, its not long until Constantine steals the show, chewing up every scene with flippant humour and his wise-ass ways. If you’ve ever seen Perkins’s black and white art then you’ll know he is a master of shadow work, and a book like this needs to be suitably dark, while still offering visuals that aren’t muddied. Perkins shows in this annual that he can balance the blacks needed to establish and sustain a certain level of creepiness that is essential to any horror-based book. He also does one Hell of an animated Constantine, too. Your eyes are immediately drawn to the guy in every panel in which he appears. That desirable blend of British northern cockiness I recognise immediately. He may not sounds as Liverpudlian as he could, but he’s certainly got that Northern attitude and Northern swagger. And with the coolest cat in any room, he never needs to tell anyone to, “Calm down, calm down.”

When the big bad of this issue is revealed – the God of Carnage – he’s a gruesome ghoul gloriously realised by Perkins. When you read on further and get a look of his Swamp Thing, you may be asking yourself for a Jordan And Perkins version of Old Green Eyes. Gnarly, suitably shaggy with bolder, looser lines that return Swampy to his horror roots superbly. Even if it is just for this annual. An annual that’s main story is very much a reminder no to worship false prophets. Especially ones that look this ugly! Its an electrify story – literally – and a book I an only regret not picking up earlier now.

Add to this two shorter stories, penned by Jordan and illustrated by Neil Edwards (in the tale, After The Flood) and the one and only legend that is Denys Cowan (in the final strip, Jack’s Big Adventure). It’s a reminder of what we’ll all be missing on its recent revealed cancellation with #12. Still, Brimstone’s out there now and ready to party with other magical and mystical DC characters. Who knows, he may even turn up in Justice League Dark one day. I feel after reading this comic, we shouldn’t accept we’re seeing the end of this fascinating character.

The Curse Of Brimstone Annual #1 is available now from DC Comics.


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