This issue of Belle The Beast Hunter wraps up the six issue mini-series which followed the titular character and her journey of self discovery.
Let me preface this review by stating that I’ve enjoyed this series and I hope to see more of Belle in the future. However, I have serious issues with the writing in this concluding book. I will elaborate later but suffice it to say this issue left me unsatisfied.
Picking up where Belle #5 left off; Belle is confronted by her mother, revealed to be her foil these many years. Hopelessly outmatched, Belle fights against her mother in a desperate bid to stay alive. Meanwhile, while Belle is intent on keeping her head, her mother seems intent on taunting her with knowledge. She reveals various actions she has taken over the years, all of them seemingly leading to this final fight. Additionally, she reveals many of the reasons she had for taking those actions. These revelations are seminal moments in Belle’s life and include the transformation of her friend Alex into the hulking monster she fought in Belle #5. However, these revelations are ultimately given short shrift as they are thrown out there and then forgotten as the fight between Belle and her mother resolves mid issue. Belle’s mother is either missing or dead and the “grand reveal” is sadly disappointing as the six part mini-series come to a conclusion. One would hope that Dave Franchini could have given us a confrontation and some of these revelations earlier in the series so as to provide more tension and greater emotional stakes. Building this throughout this mini-arc would have provided more satisfaction at the end of this third act confrontation. Instead we are left to wonder what may have been as the reunion between mother and daughter comes and goes in less than half an issue.
Following the fight with her mother, Belle succeeds in rescuing her friend and the wounded Alex in monstrous form. Using technology given to her in a previous issue, the trio are teleported to an undersea base. There, a group of scientists reveal more pertinent information about Belle and her family’s past. Once again I was left confused. Much of this exposition would have been useful earlier in the mini-series rather than at its finale. Additionally, Belle’s mentor, Candlestick, is revealed to be alive after being ‘miraculously’ rescued by this group. This plot point smacks of ret-conning and comic book logic and erases much of the emotional journey that Belle went through during the series.
This series felt unsatisfying in its conclusion. When I read the ultimate chapter of a book or comic series, I don’t expect to be given new information while previously established plot points are erased or radically changed. While I understand that Franchini may have done this to set up new adventures for Belle, it has definitely soured me on this final chapter of a series I was enjoying immensely. That said, the art continues to be beautiful and on point. Bold color choices and dynamic action define the feel of this comic and the action sequences in the fight between Belle and her mother are exquisitely rendered. In short, I’m disappointed to write that this issue was a disappointing conclusion to Belle The Beast Hunter. The artwork and story that come before elevate the books final score but I’m afraid I won’t be revisiting this issue anytime soon.
Writing – 1.5 of 5 Stars
Art – 4.5 of 5 Stars
Writer – Dave Franchini
Art – Igor Vitorini, Eman Casallos, Arid Murti
Color – Juan Manuel Rodriguez
Letters – Kurt Hathaway