Clear #3 brings us more of Sam Dunes tragic past and dangerous presents predicament too as he continues to try and solve a murder mystery that’s not just personal but getting more and more complicated too. This issue gets back on track with new faces, plot development and ever0stunning art. From Scott Snyder and Francis Manapul.
With the trappings and tropes of a classic crime-noir story set in a bleak futuristic world set out in the first two issues, this third issue of Clear manages to pull away from what has come before and progress the plot forward. The book opens up with another decent chunk of Sam Dunes’ backstory that Snyder has been tantalisingly drip feeding to readers since last issue. A story clearly tinged with tragedy and another piece in the broken jigsaw that is Sam Dunes. Not the first gumshoe with a tragic backstory, but certainly one that’s becoming more and more internal to the unfolding story being told.
We also get a good deal of narrative here too. And great contrasting scenes of decay and decadence too, once more beautifully realised by Francis Manapul. There is the same burnished browns utilised in the first few panels of this comic book to tie it into last issue’s flashback, before opening up to a brighter scene of seemingly family bliss only for the brightness to be ramped up as is the danger. It’s a startling crescendo of colours and calamity that wonderfully segues readers into the present and the broken body of our would be hero.
And that’s just the first few pages.
It’s a delightfully densely-packed comic book that while dialogue heavy (I personally love dialogue heavy comics, why would you?), still allows Manapul’s artwork to breathe. Andworld Designs do some remarkable work on this book to prevent it from being weighed down with the necessary plot points exposed by various characters. Of course, Manapul also know how best to lay out a striking panel that also allows for the clear positing of speech balloons weighed with words too.
Speaking of the plot, Snyder really ramps it up wit this issue too. There is still a good deal of mystery yet to be solved, and while Eem does make a discovery of sorts, he is still none the wiser of the bigger picture by the end of the book. A book that introduces even more intriguing new faces and one in particular on the very last, revelatory page of this issue. Talk about cliff-hangers! If you pick up this issue, you’ll get what I mean. A great example of this on the page is when Sam visits the beautiful, but no doubt dangerous, Ms. Madders at her mountaintop retreat. In one large panel we get it all; a stunning, archetypal cinematic beauty against a burning bright sunset with Sam unflinchingly looking on and dialogue aplenty on display. That’s just great comics for ya!
Clear #3 is an issue that has won me back over, as it allows for the story, rather than crime noir tropes and conventions, to take the reins and make headway. Definitley a series that’s becoming its own thing and moving away from the Blade Runner comparisons so many of us reviewers have been using to date.
Clear #3 is out now on comiXology Originals