Top Cowâ€™s Pilot Season continues this week with The Beauty, and despite the quality of the previous offerings so far, I think I have found my winner.
After the first few pages, my instant reaction was â€˜Who on Earth thinks this stuff up?â€Â Of course, that has to be one of my favourite reactions, a reaction surprisingly uncommon after Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis and Garth Ennis established their reputations several years ago. In fact, the work of Mr Ennis made another debut this week in Stitched #1 from Avatar. I hate to say it, but unless the tale is going to have a dramatic twist in the next few issues, so far I only see more of the same.
Thatâ€™s not to discredit Mr Ennisâ€™ work, but I canâ€™t help but see the resemblance in Stitched with other Avatar titles. No one can deny Avatar has cornered the market in its own unique style, a little gory, a high body count and language that your mother would not approve of. Theyâ€™re very good at it, and that is why we like them.
Zombies, anti-heroes, anti-Messaihs and more zombies. There will always be a market for them, and we love them. But after several years, discerning fans want that little extra something. That twist.
The Beauty, by comparison, has the twist in the first few pages. A sexually transmitted disease that makes people lose fat, gain muscle mass, lose acne and recoup hair loss. Now who wouldnâ€™t want that?
As always, there is a price to be paid, and the world learns what the price is in this issue. Some sort of not-quite spontaneous, not-quite combustion, but very very icky.
Set against a backdrop of the politics of the situation, people chasing after the â€˜Beautyâ€™Â (the disease) while purists, fundamentalists and possible some sensible people do their best to avoid it. Of course, both sides have their extremists, the latter resorting to ever more aggressive tactics. Like the X-Men in their time, a good allegory for modern society, but taking a totally different tack.
Written and beautifully illustrated by Jeremy Haun, the title has a certain noir quality and enough surprises that I have no idea where the title is going to head. Another plague? A conspiracy? Alien intervention clearing out the current residents of the planet before they move in? I have no idea.
And I love it.