Review: ‘Clear’ #1 Is A Neo-Noir Murder Mystery With A Nod To The Past

by Olly MacNamee


Detective Sam Dunes is an old shoe flavoured gumshoe in the mould of classic film noir P.I.s in a new school neo-noir world. And on the scent of a murder mystery.


On the face of it Scott Snyder’s second comiXology title, Clear #1 is pure sci-fi. But, upon reading the issue it’s clearly paying tribute to the gumshoe murder mysteries of crime noir, but in glorious technicolour, courtesy of artist and colourist Francis Manapul. What appears to be a suicide jump fro on high in the year 2052 turns out to be nothing of the sort as our private detective Sam Dunes discovers. 

Sam may look like a hip biker P.I. dressed in leathers and a cool looking helmet that suits the high tech world Snyder and Manapul have created, but underneath he’s all old school. And the narrator to proceedings in this issue; another convention of the film noir genre it’s intending to emulate. 

The world in which Sam inhabits is one that’s relatable. Future tech has allowed one and all to be able to tune out of reality and enter into. VR world of their choosing through “veils”. Although Sam’s not a believer himself. 

Manapul’s layouts and colours make this issue far more colourful than other Neo-noir comic books, although the setting of Sam’s office at the end of the issue certainly leans towards a more darker hue more in keeping with classic film noir, utilising burnished reds and cool blues to set a suitably gritty tone before setting up the cliffhanger clue ahead of the next issue. 

One part The Maltese Falcon and another part Blade Runner, Clear #1 is an old school crime thriller all done up in new school sci-fi splendour. Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue and out now on comiXology. 

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