It’s a double dose of DC this week, as Batman and Deathstroke take the deadliest paternity test ever, and Brimstone enters the New Age of Heroes!
Batman and Deathstroke have always had a pretty strong rivalry, but DC’s never played it up like they are with Deathstroke #30. As the start of the “Batman vs. Deathstroke” storyline, the Christopher Priest and Carlos Pagulayan issue is being marketed as a good launching on point for the series, and after reading it, I have to admit, it’s really awesome.
After receiving some disturbing intel possibly pointing to the fact that Damian Wayne may be the son of Slade Wilson, Batman makes it a point to take out all of Wilson’s contracts to get to the bottom of it. Two of the DC Universe’s best fighters are going to come to blows, and it’s all due to the simple, but still emotional, fact that Batman’s son may not even be his.
While the two don’t come to blows just yet, Christopher Priest’s script does a fantastic job of setting the stakes for this conflict. Priest is already a proven comics master with this series and Black Panther, but he’s on fire with this issue, writing a Batman that is extremely badass, and I love the fact that he uses Deathstroke as the voice of the cynical comic book reader, calling out every single way that this “revelation” could be a ploy to get the two to fight each other. In all honesty, the scene where the two just shout at each other is just as satisfying as them slugging it out.
Of course, when that fight comes, it’s gonna look awesome under Carlos Pagulayan’s pencils. Deathstoke #30 is a great showcase for Pagulayan’s style, as he’s able to handle quiet moments between Batman and Gordon and scenes with Batman messing up Deathstroke’s contract hits with ease. If this book can look this good with little action, just imagine how awesome it’ll be when the two finally throw down.
As someone who fell off of Deathstroke around issue 17, I was a little worried that I’d be completely lost when I picked this up. Thankfully, that’s not the case at all, and this issue was so good that it’s guaranteed that I’ll not only jump back on this train, but also go back and catch up on this series. I can’t wait to see where this brawl goes.
Curse of Brimstone #1 (DC Comics)
DC’s “New Age of Heroes” continues on with The Curse of Brimstone. An interesting mix of The Hulk and Ghost Rider, the Justin Jordan and Philip Tan series takes the titular character out of a big city setting, and instead places it in a small, economically depressed town that’s in desperate need of someone to inspire them. With a lead character that’s able to erupt things into flames though, that’s probably not going to happen anytime soon.
Joe Chamberlain has lived in York Hills his entire life. He takes great pride in what the town used to be, but lately he can’t stand the depressing nature of the town. He’s trapped, with no job, no money, and seemingly no way to get out of the depressing rut his life has become. But when a mysterious stranger offers him a chance to change his fate, Joe takes it, becoming Brimstone, a being that may not be all that was promised to him.
Justin Jordan’s script is very much a slow burn. A large part of this issue is used to set up Joe’s friends and family, and just how depressing York Hills has become. While I’d initially balk at this decision, I have to admit that the time you spend with Joe really helps you sympathize with him. While there are times where he comes off as a little too “Make York Hills Great Again”, I have to admit that coming from a similar background as this character did cause this book to leave an impact on me. It’ll be interesting to see where Jordan takes this character now that he’s given a chance to change his town.
Philip Tan’s art is sadly under suited for this type of script. Well, that’s not entirely true, as the moments at the end of the issue where Chamberlain becomes Brimstone are very impressive. But a majority of the issue doesn’t fit with Tan’s strong suits, which are namely big, bombastic action. The quiet moments and character work that fit in with this series are done adequately under Tan’s pencils, but I still feel like we don’t have a true inclination of what this series will be like with Tan’s art just yet.
Curse of Brimstone is one of the stronger books in this “New Age of Heroes” series, but I am curious as to how he’ll fit into the DC universe as a whole. The other characters in this line have some sort of connection with the DC universe, whether from being tied to Metal or interacting with other characters in the universe, so having Brimstone be removed from the other characters is both refreshing and confusing. I guess with time we’ll see see how Brimstone fits in with the larger world around him.