Publisher: Image Comics
Story: Jeremy Haun, Jason A. Hurley
Art: Jeremy Haun
Release Date: 27th January, 2016
While Jeremy Haun and Jason Hurley’s THE BEAUTY has been a fairly cerebral series thus far, one which asks some complicated moral questions about the nature of superficiality and corporate greed, the conclusion to their first arc is nothing less than a white-knuckle ride of blood, bullets and – yes – death.
There’s absolutely nothing beautiful about this final issue, as the good guys enact their plan to help spread the cure for the increasingly unstable virus, only for things to fall apart in fairly spectacular fashion. Jeremy Haun’s usually restrained artistic style is finally let off the chain here as he provides shocking moment after shocking moment, including one particular sequence with an oxygen tank that I think is going to linger with me for quite some time.
After a tense, contemplative set-up for the first five issues – albeit one peppered with sporadic bursts of action – Haun and Hurley shift gears impressively here with a finale which is almost shockingly visceral at times. Lead characters Foster and Vaughn each have their own issues to deal with, and after a tender and touching exchange in the opening pages, go their separate ways. The issue is packed with some serious emotional punch from start to finish, and the dialogue flows smoothly throughout, with masked hitman “Calveras” once again delivering the most memorable lines.
I’m not going to delve too deeply into the actual events of this issue in order to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say that the creators have delivered a conclusion that is both satisfying and wonderfully open-ended, and while we may have seen the last of Foster and Vaughn – for now, at least – it’s going to be extremely interesting to see where Haun and Hurley take the series as it moves into its second arc. Whatever they decide, you can most definitely count me in again when the series returns in May.
While it started off with an interesting hook – a sexually transmitted disease that can make you beautiful, but which comes with a hidden price – the strength of its characterisation has pushed THE BEAUTY to a whole new level, and with near-limitless potential as the story expands to the larger world, this is set to become one of the absolute must-buy books of 2016.