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Clue #1: In The Nostalgia, With The Satire

Written by Writrzblok on Wednesday, June 28 2017 and posted in Reviews

Clue #1: In The Nostalgia, With The Satire

Fourth-wall-breaking butlers, extra characters, thinly-veiled caricatures, this one has it all!

Source: IDW Publishing

Written by Paul Allor

Art by Nelson Daniel

Lettered by Neil Uyetake

Edited by Carlos Guzman


On a dark and stormy New England night, the mysterious Mr. A. Boddy has invited several special guests for a dinner party. Among them are pharmaceutical magnate Mr. Green, pop-star Miss Scarlett, scientist Professor Plum and his colleague Dr. Orchid, senator Mrs. White, aristocrat Mrs. Peacock, and military expert Colonel Mustard. With Upton the butler and Detectives Ochre and Amarillo, things are shaping up to be a night they won't likely forget. It could also be a night they won't likely survive.

Clue, the classic Parker Brothers board game, has been a household staple for decades. It's collected dust in the closets, living rooms, garages, and bookshelves of homes across the world. I remember playing a couple of times with friends a few years back. I fondly remember the movie adaptation made in 1985, taking the somewhat campy nature of the game and bringing it to hilarious life on the big screen (or, in my case, on TV years later as I was a little kid back then).

Clue #1 lets you know right off the bat that this story is a spiritual successor to the movie while still maintaining a nod to the history of the game. A majority of the humor comes from the captions introducing each character as well as Upton, Mr. Boddy's butler, whose meta awareness borders on Pythonesque. One bit goes so far as to have him speak directly to the editor Carlos Guzman. There's also a bit of a caricature with Mr. Green being an unscrupulous, sociopathic and pretentious "pharma bro" according to the captions. Detective Ochre's interrogation of a suspect shows him to be something of a typical TV detective who's waiting for the "gotcha" moment that never comes.

Despite the issue having a firm foot on satirical and comedic ground, the story also recognizes this is a murder mystery, with all of the trappings of the genre: a victim, a first likely suspect who is either exonerated or murdered (sometimes both), a second victim and detectives hot on the trail of a killer with a litany of ever-dwindling suspects as well as an ever-expanding list of motives. I'm a sucker for a good mystery, so it should be interesting on how they weave the comedy in with the suspense.

The artwork by Nelson Daniel lends itself very nicely to the often tone of the story. It's dark, menacing and suspenseful when it needs to be, like during a chase scene or when A. Boddy is discovered. The interrogation scene itself with its use of shadows and dialogue at once humorous and intense is pleasant to behold on its own.

All in all, Clue #1 is a delightful start to what looks to be a decent murder mystery on top of a humorous homage to both a cult classic comedy film and a time-worn board game tradition. The creators acknowledge the history of the franchise with the inclusion of Dr. Orchid, a more recent addition to the games and replacement for Mrs. White. And with the multiple final "clues" to the issue, it's a unique way to sell extra variant covers in order to get the whole story.


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About the Author - Writrzblok

Jeff Gwinnup/Writrzblok is a comic book-loving, movie-watching, mac-and-cheese devouring Florida-born nerd who would like to write for a living one day. That is, if the inanities and stress of modern living don't kill him first. He's been reviewing/critiquing in either print or video form for almost seven years and shows no signs of stop- Wait, why is he writing in the third person? Who's typing this? WHO IS THIS?! GET AWAY FROM THAT KEYBOARD!
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