Previously in The Beauty, Vol. 1
The first volume of The Beauty introduced a disease of the same name; a sexually transmitted disease that turned people into a more beautiful version of themselves. A Beauty Task force was created to deal with crimes associated with a disease, and two of the lead detectives uncovered a government conspiracy that had long-lasting consequences. It certainly seemed as if the series was done, wrapping up a compelling and exciting story in just six issues. Thankfully, though, it’s not done.
The Beauty #7 | Writers & Cover Art: Jeremy Haun & Jason A. Hurley | Ary by: Mike Huddleston | Color: John Rauch | Lettering & Design: Fonografiks
Volume 2 spans the next five issues and goes back to when The Beauty was still somewhat new to the world. In issue #7 we meet Timo, an enforcer in organized crime who decides to disappear from the game before the boss’ son, Paulo, can get the whole crew killed with his impulsive and poor decisions. But when you’re over 6 feet tall and nearly 300 pounds, it’s not so easy to massacre a group of people and disappear. So, Timo purposely contracts The Beauty so he can be someone else.
The Beauty #8 | Writers & Cover Art: Jeremy Haun & Jason A. Hurley | Ary by: Brett Weldele | Lettering & Design: Fonografiks
This issue offered a nice contrast between someone who caught The Beauty to hide who he really is, and someone who contracted it in order to be who they truly are.
Ezerae is a transgender woman who lost her mother, the only person who understood and supported her, when she was a teenager. She eventually finds a family of sorts in Mr. Parks, a regular at her diner witnessing her beating up some guys harassing her. He sees her potential and she begins working for him as an assassin.
We join Ezerae’s life after she and another of Mr. Parks employees, Lucca, are tasked with delivering a flash drive. Their out-of-town job turns romantic and the two spend the next several days together. How refreshing to see a trans woman portrayed in a loving relationship. Of course, given their line of work, I expected there to be trouble.
The Beauty #9 | Writers & Cover Art: Jeremy Haun & Jason A. Hurley | Ary by: Brett Weldele | Lettering & Design: Fonografiks
While Ezerae and Lucca bask in their new relationship, we’re given more insight into how she came to work for Mr. Parks. After she kills the guys who were harassing her, he helps her dispose of the bodies and then says she now needs to do something for him. They currently have a close relationship, and at this point he appears Parks truly cares for Ezerae, but this feels very manipulative. Yes, Ezerae became really good at what she does, but would this have been the life she chose for herself?
Ezerae’s story eventually links to Timo, who was also part of Parks’ crew. And just like Timo, Ezerae learns you don’t walk away from that life. Parks gets word that the the drive they delivered was stolen and the person they gave it to was murdered. They think Lucca did it, but Ezerae is Lucca’s alibi. She’s not going to kill him, even if he had done it. Parks agrees to buy them some time so they can all disappear, but Ezerae later finds him dead in his apartment.
Beauty #10 | Writers & Cover Art: Jeremy Haun & Jason A. Hurley | Ary by: Brett Weldele | Lettering & Design: Fonografiks
We finally get the full measure of just how badass Ezerae is as she races to save Lucca from the fate Parks met. Each action panel could have been taken from an action flick as Ezerae John Wicks her way through the men in Parks’ building and later the men who have Lucca cornered in her apartment. She eventually finds him just long enough for him to die in her arms. Shot twice, Ezerae passes out.
Beauty #11 | Writers & Cover Art: Jeremy Haun & Jason A. Hurley | Ary by: Stephen Green | Lettering & Design: Fonografiks
Everything comes full circle when Ezerae awakens in a hospital room and is greeted by Timo’s new handsome face. She’s the “bonita” he called in issue #1 to say he’d be disappearing for awhile. Together the two of them tear through the men responsible for killing Parks and Lucca.
The ending was certainly happier than I expected it to be, especially after Ezerae suffered two big losses, but it was still sad. She’d found a family and acceptance, and while she still has some of that with Timo, I wanted her relationship with Lucca to last.
At times this arc was like watching Pulp Fiction; violence could pop off at any second. And when it did, it was bloody. The final issue had a different artist (Green), and it brought panels that were sleeker and brighter. This actually fit with the ending of the story, which was more hopeful than the issues before it. There was also a surprising amount of heart here, and it was refreshing to have a black trans woman be the center of the story.
I’m excited for the new arc kicking off in February 2017, and I have my fingers crossed for an Ezerae cameo in the future.
The Beauty Vol. 2 = 9.2/10