The secret of the breach stands revealed in a truly engaging fourth issue of Beyond The Breach, which continues to flesh out this amazing science fiction world evne with only one more issue to go. Every inch of this brutal and horrifying yet intriguing world has been lovingly given life to the level where it all feels lived-in and weighty, showing just how great this creative team is at building worlds.
Right from page one of the first issue, Beyond the Breach has been heading for its conclusion at breakneck speed throwing a lot of stuff at the reader, all of it very interesting and easy to follow. With only one issue left to go, the series, at last, begins to peel back the layers to reveal just how this whole breach incident occurred and what that means for Vanessa, Dougie, Kai, and Samuel.
All along it’s been made clear that the mysterious Samuel wasn’t telling the full truth and had something to do with the breach that changed the world, but Ed Brisson made sure to do enough across the last two issues to keep him sympathetic. That remains here as the majority of the issue is him revealing his backstory and Vanessa’s reaction to it. It’s a heartbreaking and engaging story by all accounts.
Damian Couceiro and Patricio Delpeche continue to bring this beautiful and horrifying world to life, creating some truly stunning and trippy visuals. As with the last issue, it doesn’t shy away from the brutality that comes with the various creatures that are now in ‘our world’ as well as the violence perpetrated by the villainous Maccan and Samuel himself. There is just such detail and depth in Couceiro’s work that really makes every part of this world stand out.
We can feel the emotional toll that this is taking on the characters, the agony and anger and sadness etched into Vanessa’s every feature as she hears Samuel’s story and the grief and guilt is plain as day within the older man. These characters are not some all-around brave heroes that are always on top fighting for what is right, but they are average people pulled into a brutal world and barely hanging on as they struggle to survive. None of this needs to be written down for us because the artwork makes it 100% clear on every page.
Delpeche still uses his darker color palate with darkness that feels like real late evening darkness with lots of purples and blues but mixes it up with a slightly brighter but still duller palate for the flashbacks. Using muted and alternate colors to depict flashbacks is one of the really great things that a lot of books are using these days and it’s a very solid move. It makes it visually clear to the reader (much like filters or B&W used in films/shows to the same effect) and visually distinct from the rest of the story.
There is a page in the middle of the flashbacks that features Samuel and Turtle’s journey through dimensions. It’s mind-bending in its dimensional ripping format, heightened by the really trippy and out-there colors that are chosen to depict these realms. It’s truly wonderful how much work was put into every aspect of the world-building to make the various creatures and characters and science fiction trappings look gorgeous as well as distinct and something that we haven’t seen before.
This is a very dialogue-heavy issue, as one would expect for a background reveal, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou works that lettering magic to keep it flowing. There are some great touches done to the balloons and boxes here such as changing their shape depending on who is speaking or how they are speaking. The Maccan’s get square bubbles while the bubbles take on irregular or jagged shapes for characters out of breath or hurting or sad compared to when they are normally talking. The same thing with the emphasizing measures like bolds or sizing up the text for yelling, it all just helps differentiate bits of dialogue so we can ‘hear them’ correctly as we read.
Flashbacks that are meant to showcase a whole part of a character’s backstory can often be hard, but Brisson makes it seem easy. In just a handful of pages and panels, we get a pretty full idea of what Samuel went through and what it did to him, and of course, the worlds touched by his actions. It was very much effective to wait for this issue to do this, as we got a couple of issues to not only come to grips with the dangers of this world but see who Samuel can and wants to be after what his, understandable, actions have wrought on other worlds.
On the one hand, it’s almost a shame that a world that has been so richly built by this creative team only has one more issue to go, but at the same time ending stories where they need to rather than dragging out is a good thing. There is nothing that says that they won’t revisit this world later, but right now whatever happens in the final issue will feel like a complete very deep, and built-out story has been told.
Beyond the Breach #4 is now on sale in print and digitally from Aftershock Comics.