"Clean Room #11" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Vertigo
Written by Gail Simone
Illustrated by Jon Davis-Hunt
Colored by Quinton Winter
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on August 24th, 2016
Astrid Mueller has been shot and has secluded herself in the mountains to regroup. Meanwhile, her foundation is under corporate attack by a group of Evangelicals, a monster is being held and tortured within its headquarters, and there's a mole within the organization. Clean Room has a number of threads to its story, however they are all being expertly woven together in such a way that leads to endless excitement and entertainment (alliteration is fun, kids!).
Before I tackle any of those great plot points mentioned above, I want to give it up for artist Jon Davis-Hunt and colorist Quinton Winter. This is an absolutely gorgeous comic. They deftly move from breathtaking landscape shots such as Astrid standing on a snow covered cliff, looking out into the wilderness, to terrifying images of a talking corpse with half of its head blown off.
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Each panel says so much on its own without requiring much in the way of dialogue. Davis-Hunt can explain an entire scene with just one facial expression. The artwork sets a great pace for Clean Room, keeping the pulse pounding quickly as we bounce from character to character. It's rather cinematic in this manner. I can almost hear the soundtrack booming as Capone stares down a crazed shooter in the mountains in what is probably my favorite sequence of the issue.
There is an absolutely brutal fight scene towards the end of the book that is expertly choreographed. John Woo couldn't have done it better. Plus, there would have been a lot of doves coming out of nowhere. This particular fight happens in the clean room, which is an all-white room, devoid of any other color. This makes the blood that begins splattering with every punch and kick resonate even more. Winter's colors stand out vividly.
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There is not an ounce of fat to the story within Clean Room. Every single element has a reason for being there. Writer Gail Simone has crafted an amazing series of events that weave in and out and around each other, rocketing towards a destination that I cannot predict, but I am greatly looking forward to. This arc has forced some characters to act outside of their comfort zone. Astrid is more vulnerable than she's ever been, which is the opposite of the calm, calculating leader we saw in the first arc. Killian is now in a leadership role and has to make tough decisions instead of being a tactical weapon.
I love everything about Clean Room. It's a book that fires on all cylinders with a riveting story, incredible artwork, and more than a few “Holy crap!” moments. It's the kind of comic where you get to the end and immediately look up the release date of the next issue.