The Beauty #2 continues the story of an STD that has reached epidemic levels, mainly due to the fact that people actually want to contract it. As the name suggests the beauty is a disease that transforms its sufferer’s looks, making them a prime example of what society deems as beautiful. Naturally then, this infection became a must-have for many people – after all, it has no negative side effects, right? Well, actually no. While for quite some time it seemed the beauty was harmless, this book depicts the horrifying turn of events that reveal the disease is actually far deadlier than anyone could have imagined. This issue picks up where the first issue left off, with Detective Foster still reeling from his recent – and entirely accidental – contraction of the beauty. As Foster is one of the few people with knowledge of the infection’s fatal effects, he is unsurprisingly terrified about his sudden transformation – something that no doubt isn’t helped by the fact that his position as a leader of the Beauty Crimes Task Force gives him no respite from the fact that he’s now headed toward a brutal death. I loved the first issue of this series, and with this second instalment my interest in this book only grows. Writers Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley continue to build a great sense of tension, which leaves the book with an unsettling tone that perfectly reflects the morbid events unfolding on the page. The story this book is telling becomes notably more complex this issue, with hints being dropped here and there about the true nature of these events but the answers being held just out of reach. This kept me engaged and left me speculating about what could be going on in this book long after I’d finished reading this issue. Of course, a strong story can often falter if its characters aren’t interesting or believable; fortunately, the two leads in The Beauty – Detectives Vaughn and Foster – are very well rounded, and their interactions in this book are effective at selling us the idea that these two have been friends for many years. Indeed, in spite of the high-concept premise this entire book feels very believable with the shady backroom deals and cover-ups present in this issue, feeling like an accurate representation of what would actually happen if an epidemic such as this one were to occur in the real-world.
This is no doubt helped by the artwork by Jeremy Haun and John Rauch, which is perfectly suited to a gritty police drama such as this one. The beauty of all those infected seems to be emphasised by their drab surroundings, while the frequent use of shadow and darkness helps enforce the sense of dread looming over Vaughn and Foster as they edge closer to the truth.
The Beauty continues to be a book worthy of your time and money, with this second issue maintaining a fast pace from its explosive first page to its action packed climax. With its intelligent story, well-rounded characters and wonderful artwork this book is shaping up to be something very impressive indeed.