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Beyond #1

Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2008
By: Caryn A. Tate

Ron Marz, Deepak Chopra
Edison George, Parasuraman A. (c)
Virgin Comics
This is a great first issue of a new series -- the characters and their personalities are introduced without being too heavy-handed, the dilemma of the plot is posed, the world is explored. Honestly, this feels like it might turn out to be some of Ron Marzís best work.

In issue #1, a man named Michael is on vacation in India with his wife, Anna, and teenage son Ty. In the blink of an eye, Anna suddenly goes missing even while Ty is keeping an eye on her whereabouts. Michael begins the search for his wife and soon realizes that thereís more at work here than meets the eye -- possibly something supernatural.

Itís not that this tale or the way itís told is excessively complex or unusual. In fact, in reading it, I thought of a handful of other films or books that were no doubt inspirations for Mr. Chopraís story. But Ron Marz writes this with a freshness, a pure spirit of exploration, that keeps it from feeling tired or trite. The characterization, especially that of Anna, is well developed in just a few pages -- just the way I like it. I donít want to have to read six issues of a title before I get a good amount of story out of it and the characters begin to feel real. I want each panel, each page, to be utilized to its full potential, and thatís what the creators have done here.

The character of Michael is a somewhat overly utilized archetype, but it avoids being a stereotype here. He feels real because Marz keeps his characterization simple and straightforward. Observing the differences between Michael and Anna as people was a pleasurable experience; Annaís pure spirit was in stark contrast to Michaelís bitter and closed-minded one. Even though I knew where the story was going, I didnít mind; Marz made the ride worthwhile.

Marz sets up some dubious encounters in the comic that start us suspecting things as the astute readers we are, but these moments donít feel too heavy handed or obtuse. The style of the storytelling and little dropped hints actually reminded me somewhat of some of the classic Hitchcock films, like The Man Who Knew Too Much. So if youíre a fan of suspense or mystery tales, I can recommend this comic.

The pencils by George are very well suited to this type of tale -- theyíre simple and realistic, while adding a dimension of suspicion and uncertainty to this world that Michael and Anna are visiting. Mr. Georgeís work pulled me into the story and didnít disappoint by releasing me from that grip until I finished the last page. The colors are muted and earth toned, complimenting the mood and feel of the setting and the pencils.

All in all, I am surprisingly pleased with this new series, and Iím actually looking forward to buying the second issue. Thatís not something I can say very often with new comic series, unfortunately, so Iím always thrilled when it happens.



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