Last month science fiction/mystery series The Beauty debuted and has certainly received a lot of attention and praise with its unique premise. Can issue number two follow up the success? Is it good?
The Beauty #2 (Image Comics)
When we left off, Detective Drew Foster, our main character, had just contracted the Beauty STD. This issue, following a more public death of a Beauty, follows the reaction to Foster’s transition as well as his and Vaughn’s current case of the spontaneous combustion deaths. My initial criticism of this book is just how far the story can go. Knowing already that the Beauty is killing people isn’t much of a storyline considering the reader doesn’t necessarily care how the fictional disease actually works. After you get over the inventive concept of the idea itself, the comic doesn’t have much more to contribute.
This issue plays off the chase scene within the first issue and further develops the main plotline of the series. While The Beauty has the pull of the original STD concept, ultimately the series is about a cover up on a national conspiracy level. This is a little disappointing to me, considering the science fiction aspect of it was the main intrigue for me and I’m sure many others. While it’s still obviously an integral part of the storyline, the series seems to be headed in a more “political scandal” direction.
Haun and Hurley set a nice pace for the issue and rotate the focus of the story to several different groups after another very strong first few pages that immediately sucks you into the story. I enjoyed the incorporation of Foster’s personal life and while you may be confused as to how he contracted the disease it is eventually explained within the issue. I’m not sure whether it’s purely the visuals or the dialogue, but it seems as though Foster and Vaughn are going to become a thing which would be pretty predictable and disappointing, but I’ll hold judgements until then. It might just be based off of one scene where Vaughn discusses a hotel room while looking very…enamored (but as Jessica Rabbit once said, they might just be drawn that way). Unfortunately the issue began losing momentum towards the end as the logistics of the cover-up had to be sorted out and as opposed to the strong beginning, the end isn’t much of a cliffhanger and finishes in a somewhat cliché manner, especially in comparison to the first issue.
The art however is still very strong and kudos to Haun for being able to draw really attractive people. Although, the difficulty with a concept such as this is that it depends so heavily on the visuals and there are times where the distinction between The Beauty and just average people became blurred. In the first issue those who were infected had a kind of glow to them and I didn’t see that as much in this issue, but it would really help make things clearer.
Is It Good?
All in all this is still a good issue. It more clearly establishes the future for the series and this plot building had a lot to do with the issue being slow at times. Yes, it comes down a few notches from its first issue, but that’s to be expected. Issue three should give us a clearer view of the quality of the series overall.