When David Schulner and Juan Jose Ryp's "Clone" first debuted, it was surprising, fun and adventurous -- the sort of comic that makes you almost instantly want to read more. Now that we're on "Clone" #4, though, some of that freshness is starting to fade. It's starting to feel a bit more like, well, a clone.
"Clone" #4 is a bit more generic than most of the previous issues, which proves to be a detriment. Change the faces of the various clones and this comic wouldn't need more than a couple of dialogue tweaks to work just as well. The issue presents a very standard breaking-into-facility story here, and that's frustrating. Right now, it feels like "Clone" #4 has lost a bit of sight on what its big hook is.
On the plus side, in terms of just another action heist, it's not bad. Schulner falls into some clichés here and there, but it's still entertaining enough. The action stays high from one scene to the next, and even when we have the inevitable cut in the action to the offices of the political figures behind it all, readers still get some crazy action sequences. It's like a light started flashing next to the words, "Everyone just beat the daylights out of one another" and Schulner stepped back to let it all unfold.
Ryp's intensely detailed art continues to run a bit hot and cold. Some images look great, like the photograph of Dr. Taylor posing with his sullen son, or the plunge off the rooftop near the end of the comic. In each instance, there's just the right level of energy (or deliberate lack thereof) to nail that moment, and the attention to detail (even down to the lining of a jacket or the buttons on a shirt) looks great there. At other times, though, it feels like we've actually got too much detail. Can a person's face really look so wrinkled that you'd mistake it for a prune? And I understand that if someone's trying to choke you that the veins in your face are going to stop popping out, but it's so intricately drawn that it ends up looking comedic rather than dramatic. I get that Ryp's big attraction is all of the tight detail that he draws, but every once in a while I wish he'd tone it down just a bit, because I think he ends up going just a tad too far.
"Clone" #4 is the weakest issue of the series to date, but ultimately that's in part because the previous issues felt so much fresher and exciting. This isn't bad, but I'd like to get more back into the nature of the clones and watch that unfold. As a transition issue, this works well enough, but hopefully next issue will be back up to speed once more.