It’s Wednesday, and that means new comics. Let Deadshirt steer your wallet in the right direction with reviews (and preview pages) of titles out today from Image, Dark Horse, IDW, BOOM! Studios, Archie, MonkeyBrain, Oni, Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, Action Lab, and more!
The Beauty #4
Written by Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley
Art by Jeremy Haun
Color by John Rauch
Letters by Fonografiks
The Beauty has all the makings of a classic crime thriller but with the added bonus of a juicy dystopian twist. For those unfamiliar, the title of this comic refers the name of an STD, one that more than half of the population of the United States contracts ON PURPOSE, because the disease causes people to lose weight, have clearer skin, fuller hair—basically, it makes you pretty. After two years of spreading of without any side effects (minus good looks), most don’t consider the big B much of an epidemic except for select “anti-beauty” factions, but everything changes when a Beauty spontaneously combusts on the subway. Now two beat cops who also have the disease (not by choice) have found themselves in the midst of a dangerous conspiracy that could mean the deaths of millions.
This comic has a lot to say about society and our obsession with outward appearance, but the message never overshadows the plot (although now the “beauty free” hashtag is starting to pick up steam on Twitter). In fact, the story starts off rather character-driven, and with the two lead Beauties feeling very spiteful about their condition even before people started blowing up, the discussion is less about hotness and more about how individual lives are affected. However, now that Beauties seem to have an expiration date, the story is becoming more of a countdown, and I found myself in a page-turning frenzy while reading this issue.
This issue has featured some hauntingly gorgeous art on the main cover that sets a frightening tone for the story when set against the less stylized interior art (which is tackled by the same team in this case). Jeremy Haun definitely has a knack for emoting faces, which is good because of this comic’s focus is on bodies. The themes of physical appearance are as present in the art as they are in the story, and just about every panel seems to feature an attractive human form set against a drab, dilapidated city scape. John Rauch’s color adds a bright contrast only when someone’s head is exploding or guns are being fired, so the action and violence tends to jump off the page at exactly the right moments.
The Beauty is technically a relaunch, so I can’t exactly say it’s one of Image’s best new titles this year, but being new to me, The Beauty is definitely one of the best new comics I’ve read this year. The story concept is strong, and there’s been a nice slow burn building to the grand conspiracy that now plagues our heroes. With every page turn threatening a gut punch, this is a highly readable and pull-worthy comic.
(Click thumbnails to enlarge.)