The third volume of ‘Beautiful Canvas’ picks up the pace.
Beautiful Canvas #3 continues the story of hitwoman Lon Eisley. After deciding not to kill the target of one of her jobs, Lon finds herself trying to protect the young boy. Of course, nothing is easy, and the target, Alex, has some deadly powers that he can barely control. Lon and her girlfriend Asia are going to need a lot of luck if they want to save Alex as chaos begins to erupt the city. Is it good?
Beautiful Canvas intrigued me with its first issue and a story that didn’t show you all its cards from the outset. It felt a little discombobulated as there were too many characters and seemingly unrelated events introduced very quickly. However, it didn’t seem random, more so that it was asking readers for a little patience and the trust that everything would fit together once more issues were released.
Now that we’re on volume 3, the pendulum has swung and I find the straightforward narrative bears little resemblance to that first issue. Not that it’s a negative, but I was just surprised when I went back over the other issues before reading this. Many of the elements, such as the mysterious Eric and his relationship to Milla, have dots that are much easier to connect in this issue. The same can be said for the little girl apparition that keeps appearing to Lon. Even though it hasn’t been explicitly stated, you could certainly make assumptions about their back stories and relevance to the plot that you couldn’t before. Originally the book seemed to have an almost Twin Peaks-like tone to it, but I found the third issue to be rather normal and maybe lost some of its uniqueness to me.
Lon’s character is still being revealed slowly and unfortunately, her strong, silent demeanor comes off as rather bland, when in the same book you have someone like the antagonistic Milla. While Lon broods, Mills races a car through and over crowds of people and revels in the chaos she has created, appreciating it as if it were art. With her purposely over-the-top delivery and psychopathic exposition, she makes Lon seem dull as a rock. Unfortunately, since many of Lon’s secrets haven’t been revealed yet, we don’t have much of a foundation onto which to attach our affections. All I know of her so far is that she feels guilty for some of the things she’s done. Seeing as how the rest of the book is written well, I can only hope she is developed further as her backstory is revealed.
The art by Sam Kivela and colorist Triona Farrell is surprisingly colorful and light, as with the subject matter, many would have gone with a more grim look to the panels. It works well, with pale shades of pastel colors standing out in chase scenes and super-powered fire burning people alive. The characters are drawn with a realistic touch, with believable expressions that serves as a good juxtaposition to the fantastic elements of the book, like the robot and plant-horse that make an appearance in this issue.
Is It Good?
Even though the issue felt different to me, more straight-forward, I enjoyed the quick pace it set. The villainous Milla may be a stand-in for our news as it delivers footage of the worst of our society and celebrates it, all the while watching ratings soar as it does so. There are bits that don’t work for me, particularly the credits that continually appear at the bottom of panels that announce which character is “starring” in the segment, as it’s become distracting and pulls you out of the story. Overall, Beautiful Canvas seems to be painting a bigger picture that might work better once all the pieces have been combined.