Clear is a new sci-fi noir detective comic that hit the ground running with the first issue. Out this week is Clear #4, which features new revelations, incredible art, and a cliffhanger that’ll have you asking, “How will he get out of this one?!” Scott Snyder and Francis Manapul continue to build a story worth investing in.
Picking up where the last issue left off, Sam is being attacked by a guy who looks a lot like him. Teetering on the edge of a cliff, he’s still trying to piece together why his ex is dead and what that has to do with her last acts. The mystery noir elements of the series really shine through in this issue.
That opening gives the book a punchy action sequence. There’s good fight choreography here framed well to enhance the drama. Sam is fighting for a gun, nearly being sideswiped by a car, and at the same time is trying to figure out who this assailant is, which makes for a tense scene.
The detective story kicks in after this and Sam is running out of leads, but he does manage to get just enough to understand the motivations of his ex and the larger drama. When he comes to the realization of what her motivations were, or at least what inspired her to do something involving veils, things start to click into place. The fact that the sci-fi concept of veils–and maybe even skinning the entire world–connects to his ex falling off a high bridge speaks volumes to how tight the plot is here.
Francis Manapul draws and colors this issue to perfection. There are some incredible neon effects on a building off in the distance as Sam dangles from the cliff and purple foamy water lingers many stories down. The book looks cool as hell–a full-page splash of Sam on his motorcycle is proof of that–with a good amount of grit thrown in. This is a possible future of our own Earth and you can see how the old and new mix. Pair that with the cool effects of veils and the science fiction of the book visual works.
There are a few moments where Sam’s internal monologue can feel heavy-handed, although that’s a major trope of noir. It works well enough here, though there’s a death scene where it feels overly done. More panels to break up the art, or maybe slimmer captioning, could have kept the pace up rather than slowing down things for so long.
That said, Sam goes through some deep emotions as revelations become more clear. Tying to his lost son and the loss of his ex, Snyder creates an emotional connection between the reader and Sam that’ll have you reeling. If given the chance to see your child as he’s shown here, I imagine most would unequivocally say yes. That adds a rather dark and unhealthy idea to the concept of veils that would be irresistible if they were real.
Clear #4 progresses the mystery arc while supplying deep character writing as Sam reels from emotions that are deeply human and real. It’s got all the bones of a great sci-fi thriller for the ages as the mystery continues to unfold. All told, it’s a satisfying read from multiple angles.
Join the AIPT Patreon
Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:
- ❌ Remove all ads on the website
- 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
- 📗 Access to our monthly book club
- 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
- 💥 And more!