We live in a society that is willing to go to extreme lengths for their physical appearance. However, what if aesthetic perfection became achievable, but took the shape of an STD?
Image debuts its new series, The Beauty, this week which poses this intriguing premise and gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “drop dead gorgeous.” Is it good?
The Beauty #1 (Image Comics)
This exciting new series’ creative team is composed of Jeremy Haun, known mostly for his artwork which has been featured in series such as Batwoman, Constantine, Red Hood and writer Jason Hurley. The Beauty won the 2011 Top Cow Pilot Season, a competition where readers vote on a number of one-shots and the winners get the opportunity to become an ongoing series. So while the series is no spring chicken, it’s certainly been anticipated for quite some time (Did I really just use the term spring chicken? I sound like my grandfather).
As described above, the quasi sci-fi series examines our culture’s obsession with self-image while creating the thought provoking hypothetical of beauty literally becoming a disease. The story takes place in a world where an STD dubbed “The Beauty” has affected a large portion of the population — some who contracted it by accident, but many who did it intentionally. Once contracted, The Beauty slims away body fat, enhances features, and perfects skin, all at the cost of a mild temperature, or so it seems. The story focuses on a member of “The Beauty” task force which has begun seeing more action of late involving anti-Beauty demonstrations against those carrying the disease. However, the immediate case our character is investigating involves a Beauty death which may have been caused by the disease itself rather than someone else.
This issue does an excellent job at introducing the world while not overburdening the introduction. Not only do we get a clear context of what the disease is and its influence within society, but the issue is paired with natural-sounding dialogue and great hook at the end. The debut issue’s plot suggests that the series will be framed as a detective storyline that contains a fair amount of action. The concept of the series is truly unique, but Haun and Hurley back up their idea with some solid art and quality writing.
I’m really fond of Haun’s art which is very realistic and detailed. This is a particularly difficult series to illustrate considering so much of the story is dependent of the image of the characters and Haun is able to distinguish those individuals who carry the disease and make it obvious for the reader. The series also contains some mature panels as one can imagine considering the comic is about a sexually transmitted disease. Haun is able to make these specific panels slightly erotic without making them too graphic, but including just enough to peak your interest.
Is It Good?
I personally had no expectations when I picked up the issue and I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. The Beauty makes a lasting impression and certainly stands out as a well-rounded issue from the concept to the aesthetic execution. I definitely recommend picking it up.