Beyond the Breach’s debut issue solidly sets up the concept and nightmarish scenario of this book within the first few pages and doesn’t let go as it races towards quite the cliffhanger. Gorgeously beautiful and horrific scenes are brought to life by the supremely talented art team for the book. Most definitely one of the strongest debut issues of the year.
There are a great number of things that tend to attract someone to a comic book. Sometimes it might be a member or the entirety of the creative team, it might be the concept of the book, it could be the characters when talking about ongoing comic book universes, it could even be the setting of the story. Then there are the times where it’s some mix and match situation of the above.
That’s the case when it comes to Beyond the Breach #1 for this reviewer.
Being a science fiction and horror fan and a lifelong California resident, where this book takes place, there was zero chance that I wouldn’t be picking this up. The writer was another thing that caught my attention right away.
Ed Brisson is a writer that has been on quite the rise these last few years from creator-owned to some big gigs at Marvel Comic. Quite a number of the books by him that I’ve read have been very much enjoyed or even have become favorites.
Stories that slowly draw you into the world or concept are often great, but sometimes the best way to tackle a story is to just hit the gas and throw the readers into the deep end from the starting line. This book is one of those. There are a good number of panels that allow us to learn a bit about the main character Vanessa before the otherworldly horror takes over and throws everything into glorious chaos.
While the work of Brisson is quite familiar to me, the work of Damian Couceiro, Patricio Delpeche, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou isn’t as familiar. That being said a little research showed that Couceiro has done a few issues for Marvel in the recent past, including some issues with Brisson. Looking back at those issues, which were really solidly done by Couceiro, it’s clear that with this book he’s found a whole other level that is really great.
There is so much detail in all of the work and paired with Delpeche’s fantastic colors and Otsmane-Elhaou’s amazing lettering makes this book sing. There is a page very quickly into the issue (seen below) where the breach of the title opens that is just stunning. The more normal-looking colors shift quickly to some bright otherworldly palette while both the car that is the focus and the big bold SFX around it becomes almost like photo negatives of pure bright white.
A great number of books these days have been doing something I’m a huge proponent of, and that is changing how panels and pages work. Here there is the main background that takes up the whole page while the panels are transparent almost (outside of the border) and are scattered across the page in a way that almost seems haphazard which adds to the confusing feeling the page is meant to evoke. While the same scene can work in the standard way of panels, it’s hard to argue that it’s not more effective and engaging when done this way.
After this moment it all just keeps getting wilder in the best way possible as everything takes on a much darker shade. Each of the break beings that are now attacking humanity are so creepy and horrific in their own ways, with multitudes of limbs and eyes and sharp teeth as they are covered in the blood of their victims. All of the horrific SFX used just make the scenes even grosser and terrifying as you begin to imagine you can actually hear the flesh being ripped apart or the chomping happening on the page.
The best books are those that become a truly immersive experience, which this book pulls off well.
As mentioned before the issue just speeds down the road and doesn’t stop to explain things, which is the best way to go about it. Surely there will be things to learn down the way but watching the world change and Vanessa’s battles to try and deal with it and escape are enthralling. That last page cliffhanger elicited quite the audible gasp.
Bring on the second issue of this non-stop horrific and engaging ride.
Beyond the Breach #1 is now on sale in print and digitally from AfterShock Comics.