‘Brimstone and the Borderhounds’ 1-9 Comic Review
Hell has a DJ, in case you were wondering.
Hound Comics’ Brimstone and the Borderhounds has an interesting premise–bounty hunters for souls that have escaped. It’s nothing revolutionary and has been done before, but in Borderhounds’ case it’s got enough going on and enough plot development to keep it really interesting through each issue. This comic’s got a Supernatural sort of feel to it just from reading the description, something that will surely appeal to fans of media that focuses on the preternatural and the realms of hell (and beyond). It also explores a variety of different themes such as prejudice, power struggle, and discrimination.
In a word, Brimstone and the Borderhounds is bizarre (which is awesome; I thrive on bizarre). Our titular character, Brimstone, works with a team of hunters to keep souls from escaping hell, and, naturally, they get a kick out of it. These bounty hunters come in a variety of dress and shapes and sizes, each delightfully weird in their own ways, and character interactions feel smooth and natural. The interpersonal relationships are well-written and provide backstory. When they converse with each other, it’s easy and hilarious–just a couple guys on a job, making jokes and bets and talking about the poor souls they’re there to deal with. And they’re not the only group that does this. One of the most interesting parts about Brimstone and the Borderhounds is, these bounty hunters are in an everlasting competition with other squads.
Meanwhile, topside, there’s another storyline entirely going on. People are being slayed, and hardworking detective William (Billy) Altar is on the case to capture the perp who, incidentally, is an offender he’s captured before. It’s familiar fare, the story of the detective who needs to solve this case again and who will do what is necessary to capture the criminal. And as these stories go, Brimstone and Altar inevitably cross paths since they’re both looking for the same guy.
It’s a hell of a story (pun intended). Brimstone and the Borderhounds is like a movie you can’t decide whether you like or you just watch for the laughs. There’re things about it that would have me putting it solely into my ‘When I really need an over-the-top horror story’ category–the off-kilter dialogue, a couple of the outlandish characters, the premise on a whole. But there are also several qualities that make this comic series cool while helping the various storylines mesh well with each other. The character interactions, the art, the dialogue, all of these elements in Borderhounds come together to spin a fantastic tale. Honestly, one of the things that appealed the most to me was the competition between the squads as to who would be top dog for capturing souls. I also appreciated the looks into Billy’s backstory, even though I found his storyline as the hardened detective searching for ‘that one criminal’ to be familiar fare.
Overall, Borderhounds is entertaining and a worthwhile read–a good way to spend an afternoon. It’s well drawn and well laid out; the panels work together to make a cohesive story and spin the characters’ lives together effortlessly. The story, while familiar in many aspects, has unique points that manage to set it apart from other tales like it, and while it is intriguing, it’s not going to come off as something new and revolutionary to fans of the genre.