AfterShocks Beyond the Beach is an emotional, brutal, gorgeous science fiction horror series that keeps dropping little crumbs that deepen the overall mystery of the series. Strong character work and a group effort that pulls out all the stops in creating a living and breathing new world beyond imagination help this series heavily stand out from the pack.
After two issues that have set the scene and deepened the mystery of the moment multiple dimensions collided with the one we know, Beyond The Beach slows down just a bit in order to begin answering just a few questions. It does so in a way that keeps the series moving at the same rapid pace already set, with even more character and plot-advancing moments.
Things aren’t getting any easier for those who are left in this area of California where the breach has occurred (at least as far as we and the characters know it’s just this area of the word), a harsh and brutal new word is forming around them. Damian Couceiro and Patricio Delpeche bring this to life beautifully once more, never wavering from showcasing the brutality and realness of this situation alongside some of the wonder and human moments coming from this story.
Capturing the brutality and the action and the supernatural trappings is one thing, but Couceiro captures all the emotions and facial expressions so well. You feel the anger, shock, sadness, and every other emotion at play here. It truly helps with the goal of making these characters fleshed out and realistic and ones that we can potentially relate to or empathize with. At the same time, all the various beings and things from different dimensions are rendered so well and have a depth to them as they are different and scary in so many ways.
Much of this world is very dark now since the breach and the color palate that Delpeche uses mirrors that but keeps some bright tones to it as well. There are purples and oranges and reds that are dulled, in a sense, to match the tone of this world but still afford some pops of colors that help things stand out and remain varied. Especially things like the bright blue of the bounty hunter’s laser-like weaponry, or the pretty glitchy cool effect that occurs when Samuel attacks and kills some of those soldiers. This effect especially is pulled off beautifully and is one of the best indicators I’ve seen used in science-fiction for showcasing that some human-looking beings are truly from another place instead of just slightly different colored blood or facial features.
This also comes into play with the really awesome SFX that Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou brings into play, giving them those same otherworldly or colorful looks. There is one truly great smoke whisp like one that comes from Samuel throwing a knife that is just brilliant. Throughout the issue to the way that dialogue is presented from the variety of characters is different, befitting their different dimensional status.
Ed Brisson’s story has all the trappings of science fiction fantasy-type stories we’ve seen before, all while offering its own thing. Vanessa is a perfect audience surrogate type character, because not only is she an outsider to all the things from the breach (as are all the humans from this realm) but it shows in this issue that she’s an outsider to the United States and some of the stuff taken for granted, as she’s Canadian. It’s very refreshing to get a story of this nature-centered around a character that isn’t just a typical United States-focused type.
There is still a ton not clear about the situation of the story, but Brisson is dropping enough crumbs so far to keep the intriguing pretty high. The next issue promises to reveal more about the breach and Samuel, but this issue gave us enough that indicates that this whole situation is far bigger and grander than first thought by Vanessa and probably a good portion of the audience.
Beyond the Breach #3 is now on sale in print and digitally from AfterShock Comics.