Publisher: Image Comics
Story: Jeremy Haun, Jason A. Hurley
Art: Jeremy Haun
Release Date: 16th December 2015
What if there was a sexually transmitted disease that would make you beautiful? No fat, no wrinkles, no hair loss – just tight, toned perfection. Surely that would be worth always running a minor temperature for, right? Surely that would be just a small sacrifice to make in the pursuit of attractiveness, right?
However, when people infected with ‘The Beauty’ start to spontaneously combust for no apparent reason, things get interesting. The corporate spin machine springs into action, trying to downplay the link between the disease and the deaths, while simultaneously working on ways to prolong the lives of the people who are infected – not cure, you understand, just prolong – and going out of their way to silence anyone who wants to reveal the true story.
The sheer strength of the premise behind Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley’s series is truly astounding, with all manner of complex and intriguing moral layers to their story. This latest issue sees Foster and Kara continuing to work with some unlikely allies in their attempts to refine and distribute the cure, while simultaneously dealing with their own issues as carriers. The dialogue remains sharp throughout, with the exposition handled efficiently and the pace kept quick enough to keep things from getting dull while remaining steady enough to prevent the reader from ever feeling lost.
Jeremy Haun’s artwork remains clean and solid here, with some expressive characters in what is primarily a ‘talky’ issue. This is presumably the deep breath before the final chapter of the first arc, and Haun does a great job of displaying the tense, fragile emotional states of our lead characters, particularly during the final couple of pages. Company hit-man Calaveras remains a truly terrifying creation creation, and the more we see of him in action – not to mention of his unusual ‘appetites’ – the more chilling he becomes. He also provides the only real opportunity for Haun to cut loose from a visual perspective in this issue, an opportunity he seizes with both hands, providing yet another truly disturbing sequence.
Another gripping issue then, with a tense cliffhanger that throws the next step in this series into significant turmoil. A shining example of a brilliantly inventive premise being executed to absolute perfection, The Beauty continues to ask some truly challenging questions while still retaining all the tension and drama of the conspiracy thriller at its heart.
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