The Beauty: All Good Things
Writers: Jeremy Haun, Jason Hurley
Artists: Jeremy Haun, Matthew Dow Smith
Welcome back to The Beauty. A story about the things people do to look a certain way. But young on, I thought that story was all wrapped up? It was. This one-shot is an after-story. This one-shot is the aftermath.
As the authors note in their letter at the end of the issue, The Beauty felt prophetic in some ways once the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world. While everyone has faced some of the most difficult times of their lives since those early months of 2020, the emergence of this strain of coronavirus let Jeremy and Jason revisit the world of The Beauty with a whole new perspective. What does the world look like after a virus changed the fabric of society?
The subtitle, All Good Things, is a reference to the saying “all good things come to an end. . .” and while there was much to be scared of when it came to The Beauty virus, there was, at least at first, perceived benefits. But any benefits of The Beauty that people once had have now fallen away, leaving distraught husbands, wives, lovers, to pick up the pieces of what it all meant. In many ways, it’s not dissimilar to our own world, with the big difference being the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over and we’ve not been able to have this retrospective.
When it comes to the art, this comic has a true and thorough identity. That’s not a surprise, given that there are 5 volumes of The Beauty before this one-shot. There are two very distinct styles mixing here, however. The first half of this issue is all hard lines, impressionistic more than real. Speech balloons stand out, and the letters look crisp the rather raw illustrations. It feels a bit dreamlike. It sot of is a dream.
The second half of the issue brings readers down to earth. It takes on a realism that shows tears, and death, which inevitably leads to existentialism. Every scene is splashed in gray or twilight pinks like evening has just fallen or is about to. While these last scenes could have the whole world taking a breath, instead it feels like everyone involved is finally giving up, saying “F it, we did what we could and it wasn’t enough. Now we live with the consequences.” Here comes night.
It is, sadly, perhaps another prophetic moment from the creators of The Beauty, but really, only time will tell.