REVIEW: Clean Room Vol. 2: Exile by Gail Simone and Jon Davis-Hunt

Clean Room, Volume 2: ExileClean Room, Volume 2: Exile by Gail Simone
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A terrific followup to Clean Room, Vol. 1, volume 2 deals with Astrid's never ending battle with dark forces (both worldly and otherwise), and Chloe's continued rise to prominence among the ranks of Astrid's following. A main facet of this trade is that there is a lot more introspection about what the "demons" really are, why they're here, and whether they actually give a damn about humans. It almost put me in the mindset of Roadside Picnic at times.

I admit, this is the type of sci-fi/body horror that is directly up my alley and Gail Simone deftly maneuvers between genre tropes in a way that doesn't feel derivative even though I am certainly aware of the multiple references and homages. Her pointed use of real, and inclusive characters on a surreal and horrific backdrop makes for incredibly readable and compelling storytelling.

Jon Davis-Hunt's artwork, while not groundbreaking, has many deft and beautiful touches throughout this volume, as it did in the first. The character design for the "demons" reminded me of masters of horror cinema like John Carpenter and David Cronenberg. I often found myself transfixed looking at the way the hair and mouths were drawn. Perhaps that says something about me...

In the end, it's a thoughtful romp through territory that will at once feel familiar, but fresh, to fans of invasion and body horror sci-fi. If you count yourself in that camp, this is a comic experience that should not be missed.

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