Clone #9

The pedigree for "Clone" includes three writers from Hollywood. This month's issue feels like it's coming straight out of a movie script heading into the third act. It's a relentless thrill ride from cover to cover. There's only one scene that comes close to being talking heads, and even that one is filled with peril and intrigue.

Luke, the original from which all clones spring, is off to save his wife and child, leaving his own parents behind in the process. That's when his most murderous clone shows up to wreak havoc and destruction and, yes, death. Juan Jose Ryp's storytelling feels like it was ripped straight out of the storyboards for a movie script on this one, as he carefully controls his "camera" to let us see just what we need to see and when. It causes a bit of a cheat in the last panel of the issue to pull off the surprise, but it's easily forgivable. You want those moments to gasp at when you read a book like this, so a minor story hiccup can be forgiven. (Specifically, a character turns around, leaps across the page, and bends down in the span of a split second between panels. It's a case of trying to surprise the reader by not playing entirely fair.)

As Luke and his cohorts get to the base where his wife is, her fate is quickly being decided. That leads to an all out race to save her before another of his clones does her in. There's no better device in storytelling than that deadline to keep things moving and keep characters on the run. "Clone" uses it well here, intercutting between her and Luke with great timing.

The story is too far along to recommend making this your first issue. Things have been building up pretty strongly, and this issue is a lot of loose strings coming together and getting cut all over again. Ryp's storytelling choices make for a great spectacle, with lots of detail in the action sequences, large images to sell a moment, and a certain skill with telling a story in a cinematic way. Andy Troy's colors are bright enough to not hide anything, giving the series an easy to read color palette. Even Rus Wooton's lettering is unique to the book. It mixes the slightly oversized balloons he used on "The Walking Dead" (as inspired, no doubt, by John Workman's style which inspired Robert Kirkman's original style) with a different font choice that has a bit of bounciness and attitude.

"Clone" delivers on the promises it makes. Right now, it's racing through an action thriller. If you've bought into the series, you'll enjoy the frantic pace of this issue. If you're new, this is a good issue to look forward to reading. It might not be literary high art, but "Clone" continues to be the kind of non-stop action comic that more should aspire to.

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