The Beauty / Jeremy Haun & Jason A. Hurley (Powell's Books)
The Beauty makes for a particularly interesting read, with its take on our cultural obsessions of how we look. The story is dark, layered, and well composed. The story arc is solid, I'm not sure if the series is over with this volume ("Volume 1" leaves me thinking there will be more), but if it is, it ends at a very solid place.
The look at beauty standards is clearly limited to a narrow set of Western ideals. The Beauty offers only transformation towards a specific body type and appeal, not something tailored for individual preference. In some ways this makes for problematic facets, but in terms of a straightforward story arc it makes sense. Among other things it allows for a more direct approach. Not everyone who has the Beauty wants it, and not everyone who doesn't have it wishes they did. It is a disease, albeit one that transforms the infected into someone who might grace the page of an underwear ad.
There's definitely room to explore more facets of the story. What about people who think the disease is worth the ending? The commodification and effects on sex work are acknowledged but never explored, and that could make for a fascinating story all on its own. I don't know where the comic will go after this volume, be it continuing forward as the fallout effects people's lives, or going back in time to tell origin and parallel stories.
Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Image Comics in exchange for an honest review; changes may exist between galley and the final edition.