The Granddaddy Of All Conspiracies Unfolds In Beyonders #1

by Brendan M. Allen

A young boy obsessed with crop circles and cryptography finds his boring life turned upside-down when he discovers that all of his conspiracy theories are true, sending him on the ultimate treasure hunt for an ancient secret spanning thousands of years. What is the connection between a lost mountaineer, an indecipherable manuscript, and the lost library of Alexandria? How is this connected to a one-eyed, flatulent Welsh Corgi and endless plates of corned beef sandwiches? Find out in…Beyonders!

From Paul Jenkins (Alters, Wolverine: Origin, Sentry) and Wesley St. Claire (Fu Jitsu, Teen Titans) comes the mystery series that HAD to be told at AfterShock!

Beyonders #1 kicks off with a string of bizarre unexplained events from various points in history that are seemingly unrelated. To everyone except our young protagonist Jacob Tate, that is. Jacob has this whole thing figured out. Jacob lives with his aunt and uncle, who put up with his eccentricities, and seem to actually even feed his delusion. They also appear to be loaded, since they live in a crazy oceanfront property that rivals Malon Vorster’s Clifton House.

Turns out, the kid may be on to something. Something big. Enormous, really, and there are some influential folks that don’t necessarily want this case cracked.

Paul Jenkins does a fantastic job pulling the reader in with this first chapter. We don’t really get to know anyone except the one character and his corgi, but Jenkins sets up a great mystery in an interesting world. There’s a decidedly dark sense of humor on display as Jacob navigates the obstacles Jenkins throws at him, and the final reveal is a great callback that brings the scope of this thing squarely into focus.

Art by Wesley St. Claire has an interesting loose quality that sells an underlying tension throughout the chapter. There isn’t a lot of wasted detail, but there’s enough to keep things interesting and keep the script on track.

Oh, I haven’t even gotten to the best part. The best part is the inclusion of an actual cyphertext within these panels that leads to honest-to-god treasure. That’s right. These cats went all Masquerade and The Clock Without a Face on us. “Treasure” may be a slight exaggeration, but prizes, anyway. Sweet, sweet prizes. The first hundred readers who work out the key and send the correct plaintext to a dedicated email address will win one of those prizes and get entered into a drawing for a spectacular grand prize. How stinking cool is that?

Beyonders #1 is a breakneck introduction to what promises to be a disorienting and exhilarating ride.

Beyonders #1, published by AfterShock Comics, released 29 August 2018. Written by Paul Jenkins, art/cover by Wesley St. Claire, letters by Marshall Dillon.

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

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