Comic Review: Just Beyond Vol. 3: Welcome to Beast Island (BOOM! Studios)

R. L. Stine, the well-known author of creepy stories for young adults, brings us offshore to a tiny island for our tiny scares, in an original graphic novel, Welcome To […]

R. L. Stine, the well-known author of creepy stories for young adults, brings us offshore to a tiny island for our tiny scares, in an original graphic novel, Welcome To Beast Island.

Stine sets the tone early on, with an uncle, a marine biologist, supposedly bringing his young niece and nephew to Disneyworld for a vacation. Actually, they are on their way to a tiny island, presumably off the shore of Florida. It’s a secret destination, which of course, is a bit unsettling. But no worries, kids, this will be awesome.

So little niece and nephew disembark from the boat on the island of Mala Suerte (“Bad Luck”), and promptly find themselves stranded with unfriendly villagers and no hotel reservations. There are poisonous critters all around, and the island’s inhabitants are not exactly helpful.

The story has plenty of ‘young people-appropriate’ scenes and mini-scares. The dialogue is age-okay too, and the situations are well described by Stine, so the reader always knows what’s going on.

The artwork by Kelly and Nichole Matthews is well executed. The characters are cleanly drawn with good line work in the expressions and poses. The spooky scenes are spooky enough, with great dramatics. The island’s flora and fauna are nicely rendered in full colour, so it’s ‘pleasant’ enough for a spooky book.

Where the book strays off the centre line for me is in its assumptions: it’s “okay” for the young uncle to pilot a boat to a strange island without parental permission while lying about the destination. The island is populated by creeps and blonde white strangely vague looking people wearing white clothes. What is this a cult? There are also some unsettlingly mixed messages about empathy, and caring for the injured and disfigured.

But go figure, maybe ‘creepy’ is the main order of the day, in an offshore, off-handed way!

BOOM! Studios, Just Beyond: Welcome to Beast Island. $9.99 for 110 pages of main story

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!