"Clean Room #18" 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 April 26th, 2017
Smoke billows in the sky as flames engulf the Honest World Foundation headquarters. Inside, Astrid Mueller is calm, cool, and collected. She knows what must be done in order to save the human race and if that means burning her organization to the ground, so be it. Astrid is as she always has been: in control. Evil forces move against her both within the building and throughout the rest of the planet. Despite these insurmountable odds, she deftly executes her final plan with stunning efficiency and ruthlessness. This is how the first season of Clean Room ends, and holy crap is it big.
There are monsters in this world, lurking in shadows, unseen by normal human eyes. We've had glimpses of them throughout the series, each more gruesome than the last. It is in this final chapter that artist Walter Geovani outdoes himself. He's created creatures that should not exist in this world. Take every creepy bug you can think of and toss it in a blender. Then add a whole lot of teeth, muscle, and spikes. That gives you a close approximation of the horrors in store. That's not even all of them either!
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The most unsettling sequences come from when one of these creatures literally sheds its human form to reveal itself in all its glory. The skin rips apart like a wet paper towel as this monster bursts forth. It doesn't pop out of an orifice or break through symmetrically. It's like it appears within the person, destroying everything that once was human about them in order to be birthed into this world, leaving nothing behind but a wet pile of goo that vaguely resembles a person.
Quinton Winter's colors set the tone in Clean Room. There's a nice contrast between the dreary interior of the Honest World Foundation building as a group of people fight off monsters with the clean room itself which is bright and vibrant. It's clear that their salvation will be found within that space. If only they can get there.
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The creatures are enough to send any normal person running for the hills, but they're not up against normal people. They're up against Astrid Mueller and her organization. They've been preparing for this showdown for years and they will not back down. There is a look of determination in each of their faces as they go head-to-head with these beasts. This could be humanity's last stand and they're ready to go down fighting.
Of course, having Astrid in their corner helps. We get a glimpse of her emotions that have been hidden behind her calm demeanor all this time. She opens up a bit to Chloe. You can see why she inspires so many people and why they're all ready to lay down their lives for her. She is the kind of person you want in a situation like this. When tensions are high and bullets are flying, Astrid can be relied upon to get you through.
If this is the end of Clean Room, it is an incredibly satisfying conclusion. Writer Gail Simone ties up a number of loose ends, pulling everything together in a nice finale. I obviously hope to see much more of this amazing series that has terrified and delighted me for eighteen solid issues. All too often a story can keep you excited in the beginning and middle, but fall short in the end. I'm happy to say that that is not the case here. Clean Room delivers on all fronts.