Oct 19, 2016

[Comics] The Beauty Vol. 1

So I got into The Beauty similar to how I got into The Wicked + The Divine - blasted comiXology sales. Sure my wallet feels back when I give into comiXology's marketing techniques but I do come out all the better for it given some interesting titles that I get to explore. Totally no regrets there.

The Beauty was a title I picked up since (1) it had been nominated for awards and (2) the covers were hauntingly beautiful. I had no idea what the comic was about and I actually made a decision to get the first few issues solely based on that limited logic. Quite the risky maneuver on my part.

But I got lucky here and the end result was me enjoying a very, very interesting comic. It may not be the greatest thing since sliced bread and I can see how this may end up having a some ups and downs based on the limited quirks of the core plot idea.

Then again, I could be totally wrong. After all, I doubt I could have ever conceived the core plot of this story, so kudos to the team.

Synopsis: The Beauty is an odd speculative figure sort of comic created by Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley. Jeremy Haun was also responsible for the art including the covers.

The core concept of this comic book world is a seemingly simple one: there is an STD known as the Beauty that makes people beautiful. Your features improve, your fat burns away and you're left as a healthy, beautiful version of yourself. And thus it has reached a point where half the world has willingly contracted the Beauty despite it still being a disease.

And all that is poised to change when a woman on the subway dies. Cause of death: what appears to be spontaneous combustion starting inside her head. The rest of her is beautifully preserved like some delicate porcelain doll - just with her eyes burned out. And the only notable thing about her is that she has the Beauty. And as the police start to investigate the case, they find that there are parties who don't want news of the Beauty's potential negative side-effects to get out.

What I Liked: The comic feels like an interesting little police procedural that sort of has vibes similar to The X-Files or something along those lines. The world is pretty much  the same as ours except for the Beauty. An that little change makes all the difference as it makes your having the disease so visible to everyone and yet not necessarily a reason to ostracize or vilify them somehow.

The story moves at a steady pace across the 6 issues and the rabbit hole gets deeper and deeper as more of the players involved reveal themselves. And the whole ride is a lot of fun in its own right.

What Could Have Been Better: The story isn't immune to tropes and we have a few classic conspiracy twist moments throughout the first story arc. This does not make them bad story elements, but at times things can feel rather predictable.

The ending of the story is quirky enough but had to go with the whole semi open-ended route. And things get rather confusing once you get to the next issue beyond this first volume as the series shifts into more of an anthology-style series. And that's one twist that I wasn't expecting.

TL;DR: The Beauty is still a striking new comic with a great premise to explore. And I expect that each new story arc will investigate some other aspect of the world and just what might happen if stereotypical beauty was so easy to attain. Thus the first volume gets a solid 5 beautiful dead bodies out of a possible 5.

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