An STD that turns anyone who has it into the most beautiful version of themselves sounds like it could become the biggest new thing. Until it turns people into literal ticking time bombs. Beauty, created by Jeremy Haun and Jason A. Hurley and now in its tenth issue, is one of my favorite current indie comics. In my opinion, this book is what an indie comic is supposed to be. Suspense, intrigue, fresh and constantly surprising me.
The first six issues of this series revolved around a group of homicide cops working to shut the Beauty down. When that story arc played out, fans thought that the series was over, but Haun and Hurley surprised us with a comeback. In issue seven, we got the standalone tale of a gangster who uses the disease to change his identity and escape the life of crime. Hot on the tails of this story came the start of Beauty‘s second story arc. Ezerae is a transwoman who just wants to be with the man she loves–except she’s an assassin, and her bosses aren’t too happy when she wants out.
This book is wonderful. It’s drawn beautifully (issue ten’s artist is Brett Weldele) and in a way that really captures the gritty essence of the book. None of these characters are just playing at their lives–they’re taking it by the balls and making it happen for themselves, which makes this even more fun to read. I love tuning in every month to see where Haun and Hurley are taking us next and I’m really looking forward to seeing where we go when Ezerae’s story arc is over.
Also, the idea of the Beauty fascinates me. In issue 7, when the gangster catches the Beauty to change his identity, he goes from a morbidly obese, very dark-skinned black man, to a hipster-level-skinny, light-olive-toned man.
Think on that for a second, he didn’t just lose the weight and become a handsome black man. The Beauty was able to drastically change his physical appearance at a fundamental level, but my question is why? Did he change to look like the man he wanted to become or did he become a handsome man in the eyes of society? That fascinates me. Beauty, in my opinion, challenges the idea of what it is to be beautiful and how society perceives beauty.
What is beautiful and would a person be liked more if they were artificially beautiful?
So here’s my suggestion: If you haven’t read Beauty, go and read the first six issues. I promise you that they will make you think. Then go read the next four, and sign up to pick up #11 next month, because you aren’t going to want to miss what happens next.