Scott Snyder’s Clear is beautiful sci-fi noir

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image: Francis Manapul/Comixology

Creator-owned comics have always existed, but in recent years there has been a new surge of writers leaving Marvel and DC to pursue their own projects and earn some decent compensation. Scott Snyder became famous thanks to him and Greg Capullos Batman run during the New 52 era of DC Comics and after a series of cosmic stories like DC metal, he moved to Amazon’s Comixology. Via his Best Jackett imprint, Snyder is currently releasing eight comics, each featuring its own artist such as Jock, Jamal Igle and Tula Lotay.

Only three have been released so far: night of the ghoul, with artist Francesco Francavilla; we have demons reuniting with his longtime collaborator Capullo; and Clear with Francis Manapul, who Snyder has previously worked with during Justice League: No Justice. demons and ghoul are both based around horror, a genre Snyder became intimately familiar with during his DC tenure. but Clear puts the author in the realm of sci-fi, more specifically cyberpunk – and it is by far the standout title.

The setting is 2052 San Francisco, and people have access to a technology called Veils that gives them an Instagram-style filter through which they can see the entire world around them, like the 1980s or a world full of zombies. For the protagonist Sam Dunes, he uses the veil to see things as they are through the “clear” shot. This revelation early in the first issue makes him an ideal surrogate for the audience to investigate the death of his ex-wife Kendra, whose death was written off as a suicide.

Snyder plays the detective hits very heavily here, from Sam bonding with a high society girl, to his best friend as a cop, to a black guy.Market Veil trader known only as “the widow”. It’s clear Vision of San Francisco in three decades feels very lived-in, worn-out while still vibrating with energy, thanks in no small part to the citizens looking at everything through filters. Because Veils are individual to a specific person and cannot be shared, it makes those moments when we get a glimpse of how others see the world—and what the world looks like through Sam’s point of view—all the more revealing. Unlike much of the work that shaped Snyder’s time at DC, Clear doesn’t try to go too far and make it big: Sam’s dilemma is specific to San Francisco and its people, and all the better when he’s trying to figure out his role in that city.

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image: Francis Manapul/Comixology

It doesn’t hurt that the book is beautiful to look at; Snyder found a great collaborator in Manapul. Perhaps best known for his own flash run with Brian Bucellato In the new 52 days, Manapul’s vibrant art style proves perfect for Cyberpunk Detective Noir. He has ample opportunity throughout the book to play with color, which really comes alive when he’s allowed to get more than a glimpse of a person’s veil. A motorcycle chase in the first isSue sees Sam experience multiple veils all converging and bleeding into each other at the same time, which is hilarious fun and nightmarish cringe at the same time.

In the penultimate issue, Sam makes a shocking discovery that changes the book’s art yet again: all colors are stripped out in favor of a depressing black and white, with the red of his tie and mask serving as the only real touches of light. Since Sam’s goal is to force every citizen of San Francisco to face a hard truth, it seems like Snyder and Manapul know exactly how to bring Sam’s story to a close. Whether the next issue is the end of Clear forever, or there is more to tell later, the two men have written one of comixology’s strongest books; It will be exciting to see what works owned by the creator they pursue next.

https://www.avclub.com/scott-snyder-francis-manapul-clear-comics-review-1848744469 Scott Snyder’s Clear is beautiful sci-fi noir

Andrew Schnitker

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