Review: AfterShock’s Beyond the Breach Is a Gripping Sci-Fi Roadtrip

Review: AfterShock’s Beyond the Breach Is a Gripping Sci-Fi Roadtrip

In AfterShock’s Beyond the Breach, Vanessa goes on the roadtrip of a lifetime, encountering an alien world encroaching onto her familiar reality.

Warning: contains spoilers for Beyond the Breach #1!

AfterShock’s latest offering, Beyond the Breach, tells the story of a hellish road trip. Written by Ed Brisson, with art by Damian Coucerio, colors by Patricio Delpeche and letters by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, Beyond the Breach brings horror and sci-fi sensibilities to the road trip genre and is on sale now in print and digital.

The road trip is a genre that rarely gets explored in mainstream comics, but when it is spotlighted, it is often to great effect. On the superhero front, Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams’ seminal Green Lantern/Green Arrow saw the titular heroes embark on a cross-country odyssey that helped redefine comics; other notable examples include Y: The Last Man and, in many ways, even The Walking Dead. Now, Ed Brisson – whose past credits include New Mutants, Ghost Rider and Old Man Logan for Marvel – reunites with Iron Fist and Old Man Logan artist Damian Coucerio to bring readers Beyond the Breach, in which what was supposed to be a journey of self-discovery goes seriously awry.

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Vanessa is done with it all, and no-one could blame her, since her boyfriend Tristan cheated on her with her sister while their mom was in the hospital dying of cancer. Needing to clear her head, Vanessa embarks on a week-long road trip up the West Coast (the itinerary is printed in the issue’s back matter), but the trip goes off the rails when she suddenly blacks out, causing her to crash. She awakens to find other cars have crashed too, and some of the people are being eaten by monsters! Vanessa saves the life of a young boy named Dougie, as well as a small, mysterious, furry humanoid creature named Kai. The three of them must pull together to solve the mystery of what these creatures are and why they are here.

Beyond the Breach, AfterShock

Road trips can be great for either seeing the sights or can present a person with the opportunity to discover themselves; at the same time, there is always a fear something could go wrong, or that someone, or something, with less than good intentions could be waiting at the next rest stop. Beyond the Breach taps into both the good and the bad: Vanessa will no doubt discover who she is on this trip – but at what cost? The book presents a number of intriguing mysteries – what are the monsters, how have they invaded our reality, and what does Vanessa’s blackout have to do with the horrifying truth of her situation – but those larger questions are matched by the immediate, pulse-pounding need to survive.

Beyond the Breach‘s art is as stunning as any fan of Coucerio might expect, depicting not just unique horror creatures, but a believably threatening ecosystem, while Delpeche’s vivid colors hammer home the idea of another reality encroaching onto our own. Captivating and compelling, Beyond the Breach is the road trip from hell, delivering another win for AfterShock Comics.

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