COMIC REVIEW: Clean Room #2 – In the Eyes of an Angel | FanboysInc

COMIC REVIEW: Clean Room #2 – In the Eyes of an Angel

By Buddy Beaudoin

COMIC REVIEW: Clean Room #2 - In the Eyes of an Angel

Writer: Gail Simone

Artists: Jon Davis Hunt, Todd Klein


Vertigo Comics

My god, Clean Room is so good I don’t even know where to begin. This story is sick, twisted, and perverse and it’s absolutely impossible to look away from.

The opening pages start you off at a horrific crime scene. A man has been tied into a pretzel, and the room he’s left in is absurdly clean (Eh? Ehhhh?). There is no blood, despite him having lacerations, there are no fingerprints or evidence of any kind. Sadly, after our brief stop off in a Floridian horror story, we are brought right back to Chicago and the story we left off with in Clean Room #1.

COMIC REVIEW: Clean Room #2 - In the Eyes of an Angel

Clean Room #2 (2016) – Page 6

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Gail Simone’s scripting is triumphant and grotesque. From this point, to the end of the book, is such a mind melt that it’s so hard to get a perspective on what’s happening and who is to blame, but it’s all so amazingly well done. The villainy of Astrid Mueller is so fiendish and well crafted that there’s honestly no way of knowing if she’s even the villain. There’s so much that points in that obvious direction, from the way that she talks and picks people apart, the circumstances surrounding her slight involvement in all of the deaths, the very fact that she in charge of the actual clean room… I could go on ad infinitum, but the point that’s scripted so well and her character is so slippery that it makes me feel more like maybe she’s just part of a larger whole, or maybe these people really are crazy and she’s just there to dissect their minds. Maybe she actually has nothing to do with Chloe’s husband or the rest of the very present insanity. But, Simone is so good at telling this story that I second guess myself and think that of course Astrid is the one. She’s got to be the source of evil, right?! Even just this small part of the story beckons me to read more, and that’s not taking into consideration the larger story arc outside of Astrid’s lair.

Jon Davis Hunt’s art is the perfect companion to the scripting. It’s bold and nuanced and flavorful. It adds depth to the horror and opens up the mystery. There’s so much intricate detail, particularly on the pages where the truly appalling stuff is. His monsters are drenched in horror and his landscapes and architecture are so grand and yet so finite. The character work is outstanding as well, helping to shape the idea of evil vs. innocence and serenity vs. insanity.

COMIC REVIEW: Clean Room #2 - In the Eyes of an Angel

Clean Room #2 (2016) – Page 16

As far as the story as a whole, there’s not a ton of progression. We learn what Astrid does in the Clean Room, but also that Astrid’s character is an amazing manipulator. We’re no closer to finding out what happened with Chloe’s husband then we were in issue one, or who the Blue Utopians are, nor are we really that much closer to connecting her to that absurdity of the universe and setting. However, all of that stuff plays off beautifully. There’s not a need to break the mystery wide open because the minutia of this story is so engrossing and complete. I can’t get enough of this book.

My only real complaint with issue two is that the middle scenes are a bit disorienting. I’m sure that that’s intentional, and even if it wasn’t, it adds new levels to the madness and keeps you guessing. In some spots, it can come off as a bit disjointed, but not to any really negative effect on the storytelling as a whole.

COMIC REVIEW: Clean Room #2 - In the Eyes of an Angel

Clean Room #2 (2016) – Page 22

The “Best There Is”: I left issue one with the fear that I might never learn what’s happening in the story, likening Simone’s storytelling to that of Damon Lindelof. Just as find myself doing in any good Lindelof story, I think that I’m right, but I don’t care. Maybe the enigmas of this book aren’t laid out and ready to be inspected, and maybe it’s easy to feel a little cheated by that, but it forces you to NEED to know what is happening. The story is so compelling and so engrossing that, even if I never find out what’s happening, I will read every panel and love the hell out of it because it’s that good.

The “Not Very Nice”: Again, my one complaint is that those middle scenes can be a bit tricky to decipher. It’s likely that they are that way on purpose, as every scene in this book seems to have intention, but it slightly upsets the pace. Slightly…
FBI Score: 9.5 out of 10. Gail Simone and Jon Davis Hunt crawl inside your head, find your deepest fears, put them on toast with jam and force feed them back to you. Clean Room is so absurd and imaginative that it creates a malady in the reader by the end as they need to know where it goes and have absolutely no relief for their suffering. Read this damn book!

Buddy Beaudoin

Buddy Beaudoin is a writer and independent comic creator from Upstate, NY. He's a fan of tea, spacey music, and a nice pair of slacks. He LOVES comics. Batman, Swamp Thing, and Jonah Hex are some favorites, but he's also a pretty big fan of the indies. Should you ever need him, walk outside and yell his name loudly...

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