PRE-ORDER: 'Until My Knuckles Bleed' by Victor Santos

REVIEW: 'CLEAR' #1 by Scott Snyder and Francis Manapul



Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Francis Manapul
Letters: Andworld Design
Publisher: ComiXology Originals
Release Date: October 13, 2021
Cover Price: $3.99

A sci-fi mystery thrill-ride into a strange dystopian future, where a neurological internet connection is transforming reality.

Batman writer SCOTT SNYDER and Detective Comics artist FRANCIS MANAPUL unite to take readers on this hard-boiled sci-fi journey.

Part of the comiXology Originals line of exclusive digital content only available on comiXology and Kindle. Read for free as part of your subscription to comiXology Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime. Also available for purchase via comiXology, Kindle and collected in print via Dark Horse Books.

★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)

"Scottober" is in full swing at Comixology. As though one great debut last week was not enough with 'We Have Demons' by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, Snyder is back this week with 'Clear' featuring artist Francis Manupul. It's an entertaining throwback to the future with a hardboiled detective in a world using technology to escape the hellscape of reality. Hmm...

It sounds familiar to our current existence but in the setting of 2052, we can see our world however we choose with the help of a technological device that bypasses traditional hardware and makes us the ultimate streaming device. It's an alternate virtual reality that can be any time period, mimic a zombie apocalypse, a cartoon, whatever way you want to filter the real world. Detective Dunes likes his reality straight no chaser. He's old school, choosing to see the world as it is, no matter how ugly it becomes. He's literally unfiltered and he is the Phillip Marlowe in a Blade Runner world. 

Snyder relies on a lot of private dick tropes and I'm not ashamed to say I love a good crime noir story involving a brooding detective. There's the dramatic narration, a mysterious death, even a femme fatale, but this familiar storyline gets a fresh makeover with the talents of Manapul. The streets of San Francisco are lit by neon and those striking beams of light cut through the darkness and soak everyone and everything on the street. The atmosphere is bright and colorful and it's hard to comprehend just how Manapul manipulates lighting from scene to scene. It's a masterful display of artistic prowess that makes this new series unforgettable and riveting. What Manapul can do within a panel and change styles on the fly is very impressive. The chase scene is a chaotic blur reflected in Dunes' helmet as the black market Veil he was given randomly alters his sight. The different settings are displayed in smaller panels with each change. It's a virtuoso performance by Manapul. 

'Clear' #1 is a fantastic new neo-noir mystery thriller. Snyder takes the tried and true story of a hardboiled detective caught up in a murder mystery and sets it in a moody neon-soaked future. It's a comfortable beginning with familiar plotting but you should come for Snyder's writing but stay for Manapul's brilliant art.  It's a master class. 



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