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Clear #2 Review

4 min read
Snyder's got a solid story here, one that easily appeals to me

The past continues to haunt Dunes.

Creative Staff:
Story: Scott Snyder
Art: Francis Manapul
Letterer: Andworld Design

What They Say:
Dunes reflects on times of love and war as he investigates the death of his ex-wife, with old friends and new foes emerging as he learns about the extent of her work.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The second of the slate of titles that Scott Snyder is working on as part of his line of originals through ComiXology, Clear started off its first issue with a noir-style story with the science fiction side to it. I liked it a lot but will admit struggling more going into the second issue because it starts more with flashbacks and it took time to reconnect with the present-day storyline and who is who. Snyder is working with Francis Manapul on this one and Manapul’s artwork has been one of my favorite things since I first saw his work what feels like ages ago. He’s got such a great sense of style and how to work layouts that something like this series with how it utilizes its visual design is just an ideal pairing.

The flashback period for Dunes here takes us to the three-day war, or the Red War, where the American military forces basically went it alone to deal with a host of issues. But with the way other forces had aligned and reworked technology to go against them, it became a brutal and humiliating short war that you couldn’t even call a war. Spanked all the way back to home territory and a pulling in of close neighbors in order to have protection and mutual bonds. Dunes ended up in the Philippines for recovery due to head trauma, with a focus on ensuring his net connectivity, and that’s where he met Kendra as she was his nurse. Having that happen not far from where his own parents met ages ago likely made it even more intense in a way, but we know how that story worked out with them no longer together and now him investigating her death in the present.

With some decent background here, the focus in the present is a bit less clear. It doesn’t take long for Dunes to get worked over a bit by those interested in what he’s looking into and we do see him eventually going to a location where he suspects that Kendra may have investigated herself or had at least really been aware about. But that just leads down to a dark path that has him seemingly dead, which is an interesting direction to go. The flip side is that some of what we get before it introduces us to the Department of Connectivity that’s set up on Alcatraz and just how some of the history of Veils went and the differences in prior models from other competitors. It does have a weird bit about the George Washington cherry tree that does make sense but feels like a fools and their money kind of moment, but it digs more into the strange way the world operates on this almost constant kind of hyper augmented reality.

In Summary:
Though I didn’t get behind this installment as strongly as the first, it does do a lot of the heavy work that it has to in exploring and explaining things. It’s something that I’d probably like more if I had read the first issue just before it instead of a month ago, so that probably colors it a bit. Dunes’ background is definitely welcome as it fleshes out the war that really broke things a good bit but still leaves a whole lot to explore. Getting a bit more on Kendra was also quite welcome since that’s what’s motivating him at the moment. The story is building slowly while giving us more of how this world operates and Manapul’s artwork is just a delight to explore from panel to panel as we see how everything works here. I’m eager to find out more and to see more of the bigger picture. Snyder’s writing on this is reminding me more and more of Peter F. Hamilton’s Salvation novels and that’s making it easier to dig into it all.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 15+
Released By: Best Jackett Press / ComiXology Originals
Release Date: November 16th, 2021
MSRP: $3.99

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