Sam Dunes, our gumshoe of the future, is on the scent of the murderer of a person from his past. A person close to him. But, after a great first issue, this second one seems to be a formulaic, albeit futuristic, murder mystery with a long of crime-noir conventions and a good deal of ‘Blade Runner’ vibes running though it too.
Scott Snyder and Francis Manapul’s Clear #2 continues down the rabbit hole and the mysterious suicide of a woman our hero, Sam Dunes, knows from his past. And in this issue we have their first meeting, as well as some more backstory to this Blade Runner like world Dunes inhabits.
In his investigations we get to see more of this dark, decaying world too as he goes from one meeting to another with the growing sense that, as with other such stories, there is something far bigger behind this than meets the eye. With a crime-noir plot, stock characters and the overused trope of sinister mega corporations, this second issue fells far too familiar, far too formulaic, even with a futuristic setting. Far too similar to any number of other films and sci-fi stories to feel that original anymore. The sheen placed on it by Manapul’s artwork can only salvage it so much. Even this issue’s cliffhanger is a much overused narrative trick played far, far too often in comics. It all feels a lot like comics by the numbers.
But, enough about the plotting. Let’s talk about the art. The opening flashback not only looks different texturally in the colouring he choses, but the use fo militaristic camouflage colours really sets it apart too from the rest of the neon-lit issue. This scene has a more paint-like quality to it that also differentiates it as a flashback. And the careful choice fo colours and dazzling layouts continue across the issue. Manapul’s choice to often colour his pwn artwork always pays off and makes any comic book he world on a design masterclass. An, the saving grace for this issue.
Clear #2 is out now on comiXology Originals