Sunday, February 13, 2022

Comics Review: CLEAR #1: The Last Page is a Killer

comiXology/Best Jacket Press

STORY: Scott Snyder
ART: Francis Manapul
COLORS: Francis Manapul
LETTERS: Andworld Design
EDITOR: Will Dennis
COVER: Francis Manapul
32pp, Colors, 3.99 U.S. (October 2021)

Age Rating: 15+

Episode 01

Clear is a digital comic book series created by writer Scott Snyder and artist Francis Manapul.  It is published by comiXology as part of its “comiXology Originals” line of digital comics.  This cyberpunk science fiction series will later be collected in trade paperback form by Dark Horse Comics.  Clear is a murder mystery that also examines how the world falls to the escapism of virtual reality.

Clear #1 opens in San Francisco, 2052.  Before we meet the main character, we witness a stunning act, one we might not believe, as this world is full of illusions.  People use “veils,” filters that can make the world look like whatever they want it to be, from a specific decade to any kind of apocalypse.

Then, we meet Detective Sam Dunes, who specializes in helping clients who want to know what the people close to them are purchasing.  After a particularly invigorating case, however, Dunes comes upon a very personal mystery … when a gift he once gave to someone special returns to him.  Now, it holds a chilling message.

THE LOWDOWN:  Writer Scott Snyder spends the first issue of Clear establishing the series' setting, and he does a good job of it.  He clearly explains the virtual reality concept of “veils” and hints at the reasons why the world might have come to be this way.  As dystopian science fiction, it is plausible, considering that some dystopian fiction barely works as an allegory.

I have long been a fan of Francis Manapul's art.  I can never get enough of it.  Clear is beautifully drawn and colored, and I find myself going back through this first issue to look at particular pages again.  Pretty much every digital comic I have read on comiXology looks pretty because the colors seem so bright and inviting – like soft neon lights.  So Manapul's colors look even more attractive than usual.

The 2005-06 comic book miniseries, The Surrogates (Top Shelf Productions), covers some of the same territory as Clear, and if you liked that, you may enjoy Clear.  And that killer last page of this first issue is sure to make you come back for more, dear readers.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of Scott Snyder and of Francis Manapul will want to try Clear.

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2022 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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