Author: Dave Franchini
Illustrator: Bong Dazo
Released: January 16th 2019
Issues: Belle: Beast Hunter 1-6
I received a copy of Belle: Best Hunter Vol. 1 through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
This has got to be the most unique interpretation of Beauty and the Beast I’ve seen yet, and I feel like that’s saying something. Every trope and expectation formed from previous incarnations is torn down and stomped upon for this retelling. In some ways that felt liberating, in others horrifying.
In Belle: Beast Hunter, Belle isn’t some helpless damsel in distress. Nor is she someone I’d consider to be bookish, for the record. Instead this Belle hunts beasts. Specifically beasts of the sort that go bump in the night. It’s her family’s specialty, apparently. Think a weird mash-up of Beauty and Van Helsing, and you’ve sort of got an idea of what is going on here. Hrm. Maybe Helsing isn’t the best comparison. Think Trevor Belmont. That’s a more accurate comparison.
This was an interesting read, to put it mildly. In some ways I loved the complete change in interpretation of Belle and her life. In other ways it felt heavy handed and forced. I think that mostly depended on what was happening moment to moment, as I read.
For example, the rose theme, while beautiful…is probably not terribly practical for gearing up and fighting monsters. But hey, I could be wrong. It’s not like I’m the one with the family business of hunting monsters.
Speaking of, I did like the twist with Beast. It was unexpected, and not a complete reversal of the original character. It showed that the authors really were trying to make the plot work, while also making thematic matches.
I’m not sure how I feel about the series being set in what looked like modern, or almost modern, times. I almost feel like the series would have done quite well if they had kept it in the time period it was originally set in. I know it would have been abnormal to have a female fighting in that time and place…but based on the family history it sounds like that was happening anyway, so why not? Plus it would have allowed them to have more fun with period appropriate clothing.
All in all I’m actually pretty happy I gave this series a try. I think I would pick up the next volume, given a chance. I say that without being sure if there’s going to be a next volume. They wrapped things up in such a way where they could choose to go forward, or leave it as is. I’m not sure what their decision will ultimately be there. It may depend on the sales of the series.