Clear #1 received only my fifth perfect 10/10 score this year, so Clear #2 is likely a safe bet. Out this week via ComiXology, the latest issue fleshes out the protagonist’s back story and gets into the underbelly of the world obsessed with seeing the world through a filter — literally.
Possibly the scariest thing about this sci-fi future is how easy it is to believe everyone would prefer to view the world through a veil of their choosing. This issue helps us understand the events that changed the world and made everyone want to escape it. It also does well to give readers new details that could lead to Sam Dunes figuring out who killed Kendra, a woman important to him (and likely a lover). He’s a detective navigating a world where nobody sees the truth and he’s trying to find it. Now that’s a killer premise.
While the first issue had a lot of visual pizazz to help readers understand how veils work, this issue spends more time revealing backstory on Sam, key characters where Kendra worked, and where she worked at that. This is the part of the mystery where our lead detective begins to see the pieces, but isn’t quite sure how they fit together just yet. Locations and rules are being put in place to make this mystery work and draw you in.
All the while, Snyder and Manapul reveal more of the world, like giant stacks of garbage made to look like trees, or how veils don’t work on things older than when they were created. There’s a lot to this world and clearly, a bunch of things we don’t know yet and might not ever learn. The creators are building something here that feels unique although you can see inspirations from sci-fi that came before it.
Characters can feel a touch preachy at times, as if they’re giving the reader extra information to store for later, but that’s fairly typical of mysteries, especially in comics. You can see the noir detective story tropes at work here or there, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Visually, Manapul crushes it once again here as he colors and pencils the entire issue. The imagination truly comes alive with the different worlds we get to see in a flash. There’s a beautifully rendered tree introduced that serves as a metaphor. Manapul’s slick use of neon colors helps set this up as a futuristic world, too. In a key scene that closes out the book, the use of reds and dark blues creates an ominous atmosphere as Sam is clearly walking into some kind of trap.
The mystery thickens in this second issue as Snyder and Manapul further explore the larger world while supplying ample notes surrounding the murder mystery. It’s hard to deny Clear has one of the freshest sci-fi premises in a long time, and to make it even better, it’s wrapped in killer visuals for the noir fan in all of us.
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