"Clean Room #17" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Vertigo Comics
Written by Gail Simone
Illustrated by Walter Geovani
Colored by Quinton Winter
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on March 29th, 2017
Some crazy shit is going on in the skies. The dark forces that Astrid Mueller has been fighting for years are mounting their attack and she's stuck in the Clean Room with a madman named Artus Greenhand. This arc has shown that Artus is capable of manipulating the room in the same way Astrid is, even forcing other people into his memories, trapping them there. Has Astrid met her match? Will she be defeated by this lunatic?
No. The answer is no. Every so often, Clean Room reminds you of how badass Astrid Mueller is and what she's truly capable of. This issue delivers on that in spades. It's incredible watching this journey, as there's a moment where you think Astrid has lost. Artus is controlling the room, pushing into her memories. Then you see that she's been pulling his strings, not the other way around. She is in her element and lets loose on this man who dared to get in the way of her mission, especially at such a monumental time.
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The Clean Room itself is an awesome setting. In its resting state, it glows with a pure white light. Colorist Quinton Winter makes it so you almost need sunglasses to view these panels. When the memories start flowing, squares of images start popping up around the walls, building a scene that the characters can literally walk into. It's a great effect that artist Walter Geovani executes wonderfully.
Regardless of how many issues of Clean Room I've read, I will never get used to seeing the Entities in their natural form. They are an unnatural abomination that the mind struggles to comprehend. Bone, muscle, and teeth jut out in disturbing ways that make their very appearance terrifying, let alone their heinous actions. They're all a little different too, so each one gives its own unique flare of horror.
One element that is almost as scary as the Entities themselves is how Geovani and Winter create menacing eyes. There are several panels in this issue that feature a close up on someone's face with such determination in their eyes. It says so much with just that look, whether it's Astrid taking control of the Clean Room or that creepy demon baby giving its best Chucky imitation.
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This issue is packed with story. Writer Gail Simone expertly bounces between plot threads, keeping the comic moving at a breakneck pace without it feeling crowded. Everything gets the right amount of exposure. The tension is increased with every page turn as we're leading up to what looks like an insane battle for humanity itself.
There's a reason I called Clean Room the #1 horror comic of 2016. It's moving into 2017 without missing a beat as it continues to deliver solid storytelling with jaw-dropping artwork. It's creating horror on another level. This isn't just people getting cut up by a slasher or some demonic creature stealing souls. This is terror in the truest sense of the word.