Set in a world where an STD that makes people look beautiful has been contracted by half of the population, The Beauty takes a look at our obsession with appearance through a dark and slightly twisted science-fiction filter. Needless to say fans of the TV show Black Mirror will feel right at home here, but honestly I’d recommend this comic-book to anyone who likes good science fiction, because this is a very strong first issue indeed. The story unfolds from the perspective of Detectives Foster and Vaughn; at the beginning of the issue they’re called in to investigate the sudden death of someone with the beauty, who seemed to spontaneously combust from the inside. This is particularly alarming news to Vaughn, one of the few people to have contracted the disease by sheer accident. What follows is part police drama, part science fiction, with a dash of horror thrown in for good measure. Writers Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley push the plot along at a fast pace, while still taking time to properly introduce the main cast of characters. The pair gives us just enough hints and clues to ground us in this potentially thrilling mystery, but don’t by any means place all their cards on the table. This combined with a fantastic last page reveal leaves you awaiting the next issue of this series with great anticipation, as there is huge potential for The Beauty to go from strength to strength.
The art duties are carried out by Haun who does an excellent job in making the world of The Beauty look and feel much like our own, thus making the story feel very much grounded in reality. Haun’s art is really brought to life by colorist John Rauch who uses shadow very effectively to create an eerie sense of foreboding throughout the issue. Another clever use of colour can be found in the way that all people infected with the beauty disease have a brighter skin tone than those without it. This was a small touch, but I found it really helped build the distorted reality in which this story is set.
The Beauty #1 is one of the most promising debuts of the year so far. With some believable characters making up the cast, an intriguing mystery developing and some beautiful art to top it all off, I’m very excited to see where The Beauty goes next. If you’re a science fiction fan then you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not picking this book up.