In a world suffering an apocalypse of beautiful people, there just has to be an extended gunfight. Join the detectives as they battle it out in Beauty #25.
Story: Jeremy Haun & Jason A Hurley
Artist: Thomas Nachlik
Colorist: Nayoung Kim
Letters: Thomas Mauer
Editor: Joel Enos
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: November 14th, 2018
Previously in Beauty #25: A sexually transmitted disease makes the infected beautiful. But only now has the full ramifications begun to be felt as the beautiful burn up. Detectives Foster and Vaughn are on the trail of a gang led by a Beauty, which leads them to a hell ride across the city and a spectacular shootout…
OPENS WITH A BANG
Beauty #25 opens where the previous issue left off, with our heroes in the firing line as they pursue their investigation. Allied with Timo and Bonita, who have been killing their way through the Bianchi crime family, Vaughn and Foster give chase. Bullets fly and cars crash spectacularly before the next cliffhanger is ominously set.
This feels very much like it is linking up to the next stage in the Beauty story. Action should reveal character, but through all the car chasing and gunfire, all that’s revealed about Vaughn and Foster is their willingness to take extreme risks in pursuit of their investigation. While that’s fine, it makes for a largely sterile issue, character-wise, which after the previous issue, feels like a letdown.
On the plus side, all that action makes for a heady reading experience. Artist Thomas Nachlik makes excellent use of dynamic poses and extreme angles to overcome the static nature of the comic medium. Plunging gunfire and cowering targets give a sense of immediacy and danger in the opening pages that help fill the gap in an otherwise sparse story. Similarly, Timo’s method of slowing down the gang members by use of a blade secreted in his boot is bloody, visceral and shocking. Again, Nachlik’s art, and especially the color palette of Nayoung Kim, really bring home the immediacy of a brutal death.
Overall, the art really carries Beauty #25. The highlight is the extended silent sequence as the quartet break into the gang’s headquarters and make their way through the seemingly empty building. The ability to create rising menace and atmosphere out of sequential art is really well done, with good use of angles and well-positioned panels creating the desired effect.
BUT WHAT’S IT FOR?
Looking at an issue like Beauty #25 makes me wonder about the pacing of the overall story. The action is great, especially in series populated by cops and gangsters. It’s expected, after all. But with a story this thin, you really wonder, other than the great art, why this issue even exists, given the next issue starts at roughly the same point as Beauty #24 ended. It doesn’t add to our knowledge of the characters, it doesn’t really interact with the overall narrative of the story and it leaves me feeling that Beauty #25 exists because a certain number of issues have to exist, and this issue helps reach that target. I’m certainly not saying the writers tossed off this script because they had to – I’m sure in their eyes it is an essential part of the story. But as a reader, I’m left puzzled as to why I would hand over my cold hard cash for a story that left me feeling a little shortchanged.
Overall, Beauty #25 is not a compulsory read within the larger body of the series. Given it ends on a similar cliffhanger to the previous issue, I feel that you could very well skip it and proceed to the following issue, which will no doubt propel the story farther along. For all that, the artwork is solid as usual, and while the story is as thin as the paper the issue is printed on, there is a good sense of pacing and action that lifts it just above average. Not essential, but still good.
Beauty #25 is not a compulsory read within the larger body of the series. Given it ends on a similar cliffhanger to the previous issue, I feel that you could very well skip it and proceed to the following issue, which will no doubt propel the story farther along. For all that, the artwork is solid as usual, and while the story is as thin as the paper the issue is printed on, there is a good sense of pacing and action that lifts it just above average. Not essential, but still good.