Clean Room, Vol. 1: Immaculate Conception written by Gail Simone and illustrated by John Davis-Hunt
Published by: Vertigo on June 15, 2016
Review Source: Personal Copy
Genres: Graphic Novel, Slight Sci-fi, Horror
Plot: Girl meets boy. Boy joins weird self-help cult. Boy dies. Girl seeks vengeance. (Collects issues 1-6)
Review: Five reasons to love this:
- Batgirl losing Gail Simone hurt, but Clean Room makes it all worth it. I could be completely wrong, but I feel that when writers produce content for preexisting characters / canon (such as superheroes) they are limited. The writing and art has to sync with everything that has come before in order to function. Can the content still be knew and exciting? Absolutely, but it is always a part of this bigger thing that lies beyond what the contributing artist can control. There is a delicate balance that must be achieved, and if it isn’t handled with expertise the result can be disastrous. Simone proved that she can work within an established universe and still generate innovative content with her work for DC, but this migration to Vertigo is where she truly shines. She now has a blank canvas to work on and the result is badass.
- Clean Room is a beautiful, believable nightmare. The self-help industry is booming. Walk into any library, bookstore, or Target and low and behold you shall find some form of self-improvement oozing from the shelves. What you don’t often see is quality control. Who’s to say what works? What is safe. Maybe everything out there isn’t so helpful, which is certainly the case with Astrid Mueller’s organization. There are darker, stranger elements to Clean Room that plants this firmly in the realm of fiction, but many elements feel plausible. It makes it all extra creepy.
- That cover art, tho. Jenny Frison can render me in all my librarian glory any day. Her work is electric.
- Give me diversity, or give me death. If there is one thing I love to see in comics, it’s diversity. Over the years I have noticed a steady uptick in female writers and artists in the industry. Each time I see a female crush the trade, it feels like they bring comics a bit closer to representing female readers. Gail Simone is one of those writers who truly pushes for inclusiveness and realistic representation in comics, and for that I am always grateful. However, this isn’t a woman card thing (whatever the hell that is), she’s just so damn good at what she does. It sets a precedence for awesome that tells female readers they have a place in comics. That they have a voice.
Diversity also flows from within, and with diverse creators comes the types of stories and characters I want to see: all walks of life, and in every shape, color, and size. Clean Room provides. Simone’s cast includes people of different ages, ethnicities, and sexual orientation. Davis-hunt’s illustrations work flawlessly with Simone’s writing, and the result is anything but vanilla.
- It takes place in Florida. Call be bias, but when you place a scary story in my neck of the woods, consider me satisfied and honored. When you show me a chic swimming at night in a Florida pond, I’m terrified. It’s too real.
I could go on, but the thing is, you really must experience it for yourself. I am so in love with this series and it should be on everyone’s TBR list.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Who Should Snag It: Everyone.