by Jeremy Haun, Jason A. Hurley & John Rauch
The mystery of The Beauty continues to deepen with every turn of the page. This indie series from Jeremy Haun, Jason A. Hurley and John Rauch is playing the long game and every single chapter finds a way to balance each disclosure with the right amount of restraint. Here, the two detectives aim to bring this cover-up to the public and expose what has been going on. Once again, the creative team impress with the craft on display.
There is something to be said for developing a world that feels so natural in its construction. The universe in The Beauty conveys a real sense of history such that nothing feels crafted for the plot. Even with the introduction of new characters and motivations, Haun and Hurley’s script manages to never suggest something that causes a reader to hesitate. Instead, the book has a flow to its narrative that allows readers to fall back into it within moments of opening it. The problem plaguing those infected is spreading and the detectives make a desperate effort to have the story broken. Many parts of this issue, as well as the series thus far, consist of subsequent scenes of conversations. The creators make the decision to never linger on a location for more than a few pages. As a result, the book manages to feel tense and thrilling from start to finish, even throughout prolonged stretches without an action beat.
There is a real urgency throughout the series, but it certainly picks up dramatically in the fourth issue. Over the previous few issues, readers have been amassing information from a number of characters and perspectives, trying to get a sense of what is happening and who is pulling the strings. Here, the story narrows in a bit, resulting in the most gripping issue yet. Now that readers have a real sense of stakes, the creators can ratchet up the suspense even more. Making good on following up on teases left in each issue, here readers get to see the shadowy figure, Mr. Calaveras, unleashed on the detectives. Haunts pencils and Rauch’s colors bring the story to life and the events unfold in cinematic fashion. The book is filled with small visual moments that linger; never drawing too much attention in the moment, but leaving an impression well beyond the final page turn.
The Beauty has a premise so simplistic it almost feels underwhelming. But it is that very same simplicity that makes the book so intriguing. Taking that and running with it, the creators of The Beauty make good use of every page in the series, holding the attention of the reader throughout. In keeping with the rest of the issues, this one ends with another moment that will leave people wishing the story wouldn’t end. Despite this chapter being a bit more action than mystery, the series presses forward confidently and manages to put forth its best issue yet.