Brimstone and the Borderhounds #1-4
Written by Brimstone, M.H Carnevali
Art by Sajad Shah, Thiago Castro, Allen Chickering
Cover Price: $3.99
Brimstone and the Borderhounds, if anything, is the progression of several artists and writers as they try to understand the intricacies of creating a comic. I have chosen to review all four issues of Brimstone and the Borderhounds because it needs to be examined in its entirety. I was fortunate enough to get all four issues instead of one at a time and thankfully it made a world of difference to this review and me.
The first issue of Brimstone and the Borderhounds left me feeling so underwhelmed that I could never have imagined that it could pick itself up and actually become a decent comic. As I continued reading issues 2 through 4 I was able to witness a creative team begin to come together and make something that surpassed each previous issue. Yes, there are many artistic errors in this book and yes the writing is often clichéd and painful to read, but it my attempt to understand and give this series a fair assessment, I will present it in its entirety.
The premise of Brimstone and the Borderhounds is by far the best part of this book, so let’s get it out of the way. Brimstone and his crew patrol the borders of Hell capturing escape souls and brining them back to where they belong. At the same point detective Billy Altar is called to work on a case resembling one that almost cost him his life involving the psychotic killer Hostlie. Eventually both parties intertwine and hell literally breaks loose. It’s a concept that has taken a few cues from books like Spawn and Preacher but still holds some originality.
The problem is it seems like the creative team spent all their energy on a good high concept and forgot to build believable characters. Billy Altar is a bland muscle bound detective with a dark past, so basically every dark brooding detective we have ever seen in television and movies. Brimstone the tough talking half-demon bounty hunter who fills a shirt like a Greek god is just as devoid of depth as the rest of the cast. Then there’s brothers Luscious and Dawg (not a typo, god I wish it was) who Brimstone and Borderhounds website describes as “If Webster’s dictionary had an entry for FAT LAZY BOOZED UP MEXICAN, Dawg and Luscious’ pictures would be right underneath.” Let me reiterate, that’s a real quote taken from a real website made by real people who managed to create the most unauthentic cast of characters conceivable. Each character has virtually no background to speak of and we are expected to follow them blindly and care about anything that happens to them. The crazy thing is that on the Brimstone and the Borderhounds website there is detailed backgrounds for each character that actually fleshes them out pretty well – why in the world would you not add that into the comic instead?
The art in Brimstone and the Borderhounds steadily improved with each issue, what started as shaky lines and flat colors became a pretty solidly drawn comic by issue four. I had a few issues with the character designs however; each character seemed to be sporting the same skintight shirt tucked into jeans. It’s the type of style you would see in a Youngbloods comic circa 1990, it worked then but not so much now. Minus a few continuity issues the characters and set pieces are unique and add some much needed flavor to Brimstone and the Borderhounds.
The time I spent with Brimstone and the Borderhounds was a rollercoaster ride, at times I absolutely hated this comic but later on I found myself smiling at the campy dialogue and muscle headed heroes. Maybe I had just plunged so deep into the depths of madness while reading Brimstone and the Borderhounds that I felt this way, but it actually grew on me after a while, maybe it will do the same for you.