A Journey Comes To An End: Reviewing ‘Beyond The Breach’ #5
by Scott Redmond
Beyond the Breach hit the gas right away in issue one and hasn’t let up, even as the gorgeous trippy brutal, and emotional science fiction horror series comes to a conclusion. There are so many unexplored avenues presented within this intricate and fleshed-out world, showcasing the depth that this creative team achieved with this series. While this conclusion is satisfying (and heartbreaking), it also leaves one craving far more from this team and from this world.
When one journey ends, it’s often just the precursor to the beginning of many new adventures. With its fifth issue, Beyond The Breach reaches what is the conclusion of the story as it stands now but also promises more journeys that might be explored one day.
Through the first four issues, Ed Brisson, Damian Couceiro, Patricio Delpeche, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou built a world that is dangerous, fully formed, gross, beautiful, engaging, and just deeper than one could imagine. Not a bit of that changes here within the fifth issue as Vanessa, Dougie, Samuel, Turtle, and Kai’s mission of survival comes to a heartbreaking and fitting conclusion. At least for the moment.
It has been extraordinary to witness Couceiro and Delpeche cut loose every single issue when bringing the various aspects of this beautiful and horrifying world to life. All of the various creatures that come through the breaches, denizens of various other realms, are unique and different and don’t just look like some riff on something we see here on Earth outside of a few outliers such as Turtle. It would have been very easy to just create one or two monstrous otherworldly beings to throw at this group, but this team went out of their way to create so many creatures and beings that are vastly different coming from vastly different intricate domains.
Couceiro doesn’t shy away from giving this world a detailed look, including some of the more brutal or possibly grotesque aspects. One of the antagonists meets their end this issue and while there is part of one that wants to cheer, the way it happens is not what anyone might wish upon even an enemy. We see this happen and what works with Couceiro’s art is that it has detail and is brutal and gross, but not in an overly graphic way. Just like most of what is happening within this series, it skirts that line that makes you shudder but not potentially feel overly sick by the whole thing.
This is still helped by the darker color palate that Delpeche employs here, alongside some moments of brighter but still muted colors. These color changes come into play quite often in this issue as they enter another truly trippy realm, the artistic duo just going all-in again with these visuals, and then at the end as a safe haven of sorts is found. It’s pretty delightful to see the usage of so many bright pops of color in a variety of ways while making sure that the overall tone of the scenes matches the time of day or feeling needed for the moment.
It’s quite easy to give a standard sort of dialogue balloon to characters, along with emphasizers and other means to showcase changes in dialogue. Otsmane-Elhaou takes it steps further though, by having balloons and caption boxes that change shape and color, and style to match whoever is speaking or to indicate something like they are hurt and their words aren’t coming out normally. To many, it’s a small thing but really it’s a kind of big thing because it helps set the mood just as much as the rest of the artwork within the book.
Within just these five issues Brisson has made sure to run the audience through a gamut of emotions when it comes to the various main characters. Samuel being a big one that many might have been unsure of how to feel about him through most of the issues, but this one continues what the last issue started of making him more sympathetic again. Helps when one gets a big hero send off in a way, doing that whole sacrificial type thing when it counts.
While the grotesque and trippy nature of the book is awesome, the character moments are the glue that holds it all together. The bonds that have been formed are really intriguing here, especially once the others make the choice to return for Samuel, despite his insistence that they do not. Dire circumstances can make for interesting connections and relationships, and what these characters have faced was sure to forge such bonds. There is depth and weight to their words, even the off-hand sorts of moments, as Brisson sells it all quite well.
It’s mentioned at the end of this issue that this is the ending for the moment, sort of like a pitstop as more of the journey is planned out, and hopefully more is able to be planned out and ends up on shelves soon. One thing that is great about comic books is their ability to create worlds and expand them far more than other visual mediums because there is no budget or constraints like one might find in shows or films. There was a ton introduced within this story, the breaches potentially changed a great amount of Earth, which was only briefly touched upon.
The mark of great creating is being able to build something out so much that there are various unexplored avenues that are tantalizing to both the creators and audience alike. This is something that this book and team accomplished.
Beyond The Breach #5 is now on sale in print and digitally from AfterShock Comics.