Publisher: AfterShock Comics
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artwork: Wesley St. Claire
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Release Date: 26th September 2018
Jacob’s house is a smouldering ruin, his aunt’s face melted and his uncle’s head fell off, a series of events which was only made slightly less disturbing by the discovery that they were robots (mind you, that does explain the sandwich fixation). Shadwell the one-eyed flatulent corge is actually a super dog, and the random hot chick Jacob met on the internet is really an agent of a super-secret society known as The Beyonders.
Fleeing the army of soldiers hell-bent on hunting Jacob down, Narine whisks him to the headquarters of The Beyonders in the small English village of Avebury where he will hopefully uncover the secrets of the universe, like how the English can boil the flavour out of even a loaf of bread.
Beyonders continues to be a thoroughly entertaining romp in the vein of all good classic adventure stories. As I stated in my review of the last issue, Paul Jenkins (Hellblazer, Werewolf By Night, Alters) is creating a world and a story that harks back to the creations of Jules Verne & H. Rider Haggard. There are some really interesting aspects to this story and while the basic trope of a secret society secretly ruling the world by suppressing secret knowledge isn’t exactly new, the path we’re taking to discovering these secrets is certainly a different and interesting one.
While the implications of a world being deliberately kept from advancing to its full potential by a sinister group of fanatics is sobering stuff, this story doesn’t take itself too seriously. Jacob for example is allowed to be a reasonably typical, irreverent and sarcastic eighteen year old, albeit one with an almost savant-like abilities with codes. I mean, who could take a sidekick that’s actually a flatulent, genetically enhanced one-eyed corgi too seriously?
Wesley St. Claire’s (Fu Jitsu, Teen Titans) art and colouring continues to bring the world that Jenkins is creating to life wonderfully. You can’t beat an artist who knows how to do really good “ugly and flawed” characters or how to create a spark out of the simplest pose of a head or turn of a mouth. I’ve said before that his is a style that I really like in comics. I’m old enough to not really like overtly digital artwork, and I prefer the art to look like someone has put pencil, ink and brush to paper to create something enduring.
The team behind this book are also keeping me on my toes looking for all the hidden codes and symbols in the panels that may (or may not) be related to this damned code. Unfortunately, I still don’t have the first idea how to make sense of any of it and I may suffer a psychotic break soon if I don’t get a clue sometime really soon!!
Ahem… sorry about that.
A great concept that delivers on every level. Long live the spirit of adventure and the continuing quest for knowledge.
The writer of this piece was: Mark Scott
Mark Tweets from @macoy_comicgeek