Written by: Gail Simone
Illustrated by: John Davis-Hunt, Quinton Winter, Todd Klein, and Jenny Frison
Paperback: 160 pages
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel/Horror
Fan-favorite Gail Simone's (Batgirl, Wonder Woman) debut Vertigo series begins here!
Journalist Chloe Pierce had no idea that her fiancée, Philip's, decision to pick up a book by enigmatic and compelling self-help guru, Astrid Mueller, would change her life forever: by ending his! Three months after reading Mueller's book, Philip had blown his brains out all over Chloe's new kitchen and something in that book made him do it.
Now, Chloe will stop at nothing as she attempts to infiltrate Mueller's clandestine organization to find the truth behind Philip's suicide and a "Clean Room" that she's heard whispers of--a place where your deepest fears are exposed and your worst moments revealed.
Vertigo, in my younger years, was my go to publisher. After all I was smitten with Sandman, Death: The High Cost of Living, and Hellblazer. Later in my life it would be Y: The Last Man, Fables, Lucifer (Mike Carey not Holly Black’s new run), Preacher, and 100 Bullets. I have been a big Gail Simone fan for a while now as well. She has given me Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Red Sonja runs that make me absolutely delighted. Of course I also love her for Women in Refrigerators and her work on Tori Amos’s Comic Book Tattoo. She is a well-known powerhouse for a reason. Admittedly, I also picked it up because Jenny Frison’s cover is absolutely gorgeous. Seriously, think it needs to go on the office wall.
Journalist Chloe Pierce’s fiancé killed himself after joining a Scientology cult like group called the Honest World Foundation. Chloe is devastated and knows that the self-help cult and its charismatic leader Astrid Mueller are somehow behind his death, even if it was a suicide. What did Honest World do to him and what is the Clean Room?
Things I liked: I like sci-fi horror comics just as I do film, tv, and books. This idea that maybe a self-help cult like Scientology could actually be seeing things that we cannot is a great idea and terrifying at the same time. You have to admit it is interesting.
The Surgeon and the Joker are very interesting characters. Actually, all of the monster designs were delightfully creepy. The subtle color palette makes the gore and horror stand out that much more. Especially when occasionally contrasted with all of that lovely pink.
I love the diversity in the comics, seeing a lot of strong and diverse female characters. I saw a little bit of everything in Clean room and it was incredibly refreshing.
Things I didn’t like so much: Sometimes it was hard for me to get into. I felt like there was a lot of shock factor storytelling at times which took me out of the story for a bit. And yet I wanted more. Though not what I expected from Simone, I will probably read the next volume when it comes out.
Buy or Borrow: Buy. If you are a Gail Simone fan, I would give it a shot.
Part of: Series
Also Recommended: For more horror tinged comics give these a try: Locke and Key by Joe Hill, Next Testament by Clive Barker, Hellboy by Mike Mignola, Chew by John Layman, and The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman.
3 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks