Monday, January 8, 2018

Clue - an IDW mini-series

Who did it?  In what room? And with what weapon?

These are the three question that every person who has ever played the game of Clue knows must be answered before someone can win the game.  In 1985, the game was brought to life on the big screen in a film adaptation that was not only a fun-filled comedy, but it did something unique - offered three different endings!  Was it Mr. Green in the conservatory with the leadpipe?  Or Miss Scarlet in the library with the revolver?  Or was it Professor Plum in the kitchen with the knife?  So many choices, yet only one could be right.  Right?

Recently, Paul Allor (writer) and Nelson Daniel (artist) brought the game to life in a new fashion - with an IDW comic book mini-series.  In six issues, Allor and Daniel tell an intricately woven story of seven strangers brought together by the mysterious "A. Boddy" - Miss Scarlett, Mr. Green, Dr. Orchid, Professor Plum, Col. Mustard, Mrs. Peacock, and Senator White (yes, they manage to use the original six AND include the new one introduced not so long ago in the board game).  In addition, we get Det.
Ochre and Det. Amarillo from the local police department (notice even the detectives maintain the color theme) and the ever-present, nearly omniscient butler, Upton.  And what's most enjoyable about Upton is that not only is he the narrator of the story, and not only does he break the fourth wall to talk directly to the reader - but he also breaks every other wall to actually communicate with the editor, the writer, the artist, and even the letterer before the six issues are done!  Talk about self-awareness!

As was done with the movie, Allor leads the reader in so many surprising directions with the story.  While at first, the characters seem wholly unrelated, it pretty much goes without saying that the reader can expect that all of them are harboring secrets, and they are all connection in one way or another.  At the center of it all is a very unique flower that contains healing properties corporations, doctors, and people would kill to hold the patent to - literally!  But how do Scarlett, Green, Orchid, Plum, Mustard, Peacock, and White all connect to the flower, and who is willing to do what in which room to further their own agenda?  Definitely not in the way you would expect!  Allor keeps one surprise
after another coming - and when Mr. Boddy turns up dead, it's only the beginning to the number of murders that take place in this secluded mansion with dozens of rooms, hidden passages, and more weapons than you can shake a stick at.

Oh, and if you think you figure it all out, let me tell you - when Upton (the butler - remember him?) warns you at the end of issue five that you'll never see the ending of this mini-series coming, he ain't kidding!  I was so not expecting what happened, but yet it was the perfect ending to a perfect mini-series, and I am fully satisfied with the experience of reading Clue: The Comic Book.  I would love for there to be a second series, but I really wouldn't want anything to ruin the enjoyment of this one.

Daniel's art is expressive and detailed, and he really gives the reader the feel of these characters being in a huge mansion.  Each character is distinctive and most fitting for his or her name, but the art is not so "stylistic" as some artists try to do these days so as to detract from the story.

If you love the board game, if you loved the movie, if you love a good/fun mystery - then you have to pick up Clue and read it - trust me, you'll be glad you did!

RATING:  9 fresh surobi zinnias out of 10 for taking the nostalgia of Clue and breathing new life into it in a fun new way!

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