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'The Beauty #1', A Review

Updated on April 3, 2016

How to be beautiful

How would you define beauty? What makes a person beautiful?

There is

evidence that a preference for beautiful faces emerges early in infancy, and is probably innate, and (...) the rules by which attractiveness is established are similar across different genders and cultures.

Moreover, we now know what defines beauty, as it is

symmetry [that] has been scientifically proven to be inherently attractive to the human eye.

How do such answers associate with the truth that people would do many things in order to boost their attractiveness, from changing physical traits to changing their authentic self?

We begin to understand this behavior when we get that

people who are repeatedly rejected and people who feel routinely lonely and isolated may suffer from not just psychological problems but also physical problems.

Therefore, these ideas might explain some of our days’ realities and the preference for taking shortcuts towards becoming beautiful; thus, accepted and admired.

beauty by ~mary on flickr.com Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)
beauty by ~mary on flickr.com Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) | Source

The Beauty

Now, imagine there is a way, and not even an unpleasant way, you might become really attractive. Your skin would glow, you’d look as if you’re healthy and in the prime of your life. Yet stop, you wouldn’t really want to be tempted in taking this path. For this beauty is a disease, a sexually transmitted disease.

The mentioned scenario is the premise of the graphic novel “Beauty” by Jeremy Haun (Writer), Jason A. Hurley (Writer), and John Rauch (Colorist).

So then, an STD, that has the side effect of making people beautiful, appears in the world. It’s not known where it came from, and a couple of detectives keeps an eye on the case.

In this novel’s world people gladly take the “chance” of becoming beautiful. In 2 years, half the population contracts the STD. To be fair, some get it by accident.

beauty by Leslee Mitchell on flickr.com Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
beauty by Leslee Mitchell on flickr.com Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) | Source

Oh, here they come, the beautiful ones

This graphic novel's premise is exciting. How would such a disease transform what love means? Would beauty still be held as a standard in life and in love? Would people be able not to see everything through the beauty prism?

How far away is this world from one where people are willing to endure painful surgeries and implant foreign objects in sensitive areas of their bodies in the name of beauty? Even just to stand for hours in uncomfortable waist trainers in order to obtain a tinier waist? One has to appreciate the opportunity for analyzing our own world, that outside the graphic novel. What beauty do these procedures bring on?

At first, the only side effects of the STD seem to be a “slight constant fever” and a change in metabolisms. In time, another danger develops, that of being the target of a hate crime. As the disease also fractured society in another way, anti-Beauty and pro-Beauty movements appeared.

One day, though, at the metro, a woman all of a sudden explodes. Soon enough, it starts happening to others. However, the police conclude that it was not the case of a bombing attack. The beautiful people just start to internally combust.

High on diesel and gasoline

The detectives mentioned, Vaughn and Foster, start investigating only to be taken off the case. Their intuition detects something suspicious. Rightly so. This graphic novel is action packed.

The lady detective, Vaughn, has the disease. She got it by accident. Foster starts healthy but contracts the Beauty later on from his wife. At some point, they encounter people that developed a cure and Vaughn wants to be the one that tests it. It was an interesting surprise to see how the first healed human looked. She appeared free and fearless.

I found that the action parts are following a bit too much a detective/thriller format. That gave me the feeling that I’ve seen chases like the ones in the novel before. Also, that the outcomes are predictable. However, that does not make the novel uninteresting. I read it all with curiosity. Moreover, I do not know how the others volumes develop.

The art in this novel follows a realistic format and is beautiful. At my copy’s end, there were beautiful alternative covers designed by different artists. That gave the ending a nice wrap-up.

I read the first volume from “Beauty” as an arc offered by netgalley.com and Diamond Book Distributors and thank them for the opportunity.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty

http://legacy.jyi.org/volumes/volume6/issue6/features/feng.html

John Cacioppo professor at the University of Chicago cited in https://www.coursera.org/learn/happiness/lecture/Eti3R/week-3-video-2-further-evidence-of-our-social-nature

Lyrics from Suede - Beautiful Ones

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