Story: Paul Jenkins
Art: Wesley St. Claire
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
What They Say:
As Jake, Narine, and the redoubtable Shadwell struggle to solve the mystery of the Beyonders Code—one that seems to be connected across time and space—they are running out of options with the Faceless Man and his Order in hot pursuit. Will they uncover the mystery of mankind’s greatest riddle? Will they unearth a stunning answer that turns all of modern history on its head? Will they prevent a cataclysmic end to the world? And will there be time for a sandwich?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
A lot of books from different publishers ended up being delayed last fall into the last month or two which has been problematic for some of the more complex books. Beyonders had its fourth issue of mysteries and craziness back in November and now this issue hits and is the final one of the arc – which I suspect will read much better in collected/marathon form. Paul Jenkins delivers us some intriguing twists into all of this, not entirely unexpected, and sets up for a new arc to carry the larger storyline forward if we do get more. Wesley St. Claire has been putting in some fantastic pages across the run with all the craziness and this issue is no exception as I love his character designs and some of the quirky elements of the world. And his work on Shadwell makes me a huge fan.
With the Order after Jack and Narine (and Shadwell), the trio are making their way around quietly since they know there’s a wide surveillance net searching for them. There’s some good discussion in the rain early on between them about how to best proceed and with realizing just how isolated they are from everyone else at this point, which works to add some good background tension. Their next destination is what takes up most of the book as the head to the Turkish Topkapi Serai Palace that’s on their map. They’re playing the role of tourists well while heading into the place and figuring out the tricks to get through, which reveals a new musical connection from the 17th century to a couple of centuries before that’s amusing. Discovering more people of note throughout history are Beyonders through this method is definitely a fun routine.
The exploration of it all is pretty nicely done as it digs into the various rooms and what they’re finding down there, but coming from the big about Da Vinci connecting with Christopher Columbus two years prior to his arrival in America is amusing and awkward. Jenkins avoids the whole Columbus discovers America thing by giving in to the idea that he was on a mission here with a map of the New World that Da Vinci provided, but it’s still awkward considering the way Columbus has been viewed for some time. That said, it adds a fun new wrinkle before slamming the trio head first into The Faceless Man, who now seems to want to be a part of all that they’re doing by protecting them, with the expected connection between them revealed. This wasn’t a shock moment but it does provide a more personal reason for some aspects of it all and throws the pair into more uncertainty and confusion.
I really enjoyed the five issues of Beyonders overall and I’m firmly in the “I want more” category, though without the gap between issues. This is not a series that can handle those well because of the complexity of the storylines and mysteries at play here. I really enjoyed what Jenkins has produced overall because it’s a fun kind of revisionist history piece that’s a delightful romp to play with. And it got me to look up the truth about a few things as well. Wesley St. Claire has been producing great work for some time now but this series just clicked in a really great way with a style that I adore combined with great color work that felt completely appropriate. It’s a very fun title and if you’re not into singles I definitely recommend grabbing the trade.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: March 27th, 2019