"Clone" #12 continues a surprisingly welcom shift in this comic that started last month. After ten issues of "Clone" being a big espionage/science-fiction thriller, David Schulner, Aaron Ginsburg, Wade McIntyre and Juan Jose Ryp have begun a story that is much smaller in scale. But this sort of story (let's call it an isolation/imprisonment thriller instead) is just as effective, even as it also follows quite nicely from everything in the earlier issues.
One of the things that I have to give Schulner, Ginsburg, and McIntyre credit for is that this kind of successful shift shows the versatility of the overall "Clone" story. Not a lot of ongoing series would be able to temporarily set aside its initial thrust for something along these lines and have it work, but "Clone" #12 is able to embrace and integrate in this different style. Don't get me wrong, just like "Clone" #1-10, the book is still full of shocks and surprises. But it's definitely a different sort this time around.
For a book that's also always been so wide-ranging, it's actually a nice change to also see it primarily confined to such a small area. There's something about the nowhere-to-run setting of "Clone" #12 that makes it all the more creepy. With Luke and Adrian at the mercy of the unhinged Laura, hanging in a massive slaughterhouse alongside all the sides of meat, there are no places to swoop off and run to, no large buildings to get lost in. Instead we've got two characters only able to use their minds to try and get out of a particularly awful situation. Schulner, Ginsburg and McIntyre also give an update on the long-suffering Jennifer, and poor little Eva. It's a development which is both a little hard to swallow and is somehow believable, if you get my drift. We'll have to see how it plays out, but for now I'm willing to sit back and watch that story move towards its conclusion.
Ryp's art is as intricate and detailed as ever. I'm still slightly entranced by the way he draws faces, almost as if they've been imprinted on the whorls of someone's fingerprint. It's a style that's perfect for "Clone," what with all of the identical fingerprints on the hands of the clones and whatnot. But while some panels still look a little stiff and posed here and there, at this point I feel like it's nicely balanced out by getting to examine all the curls and locks of Jennifer's hair, the attention to moments like the fibers on the carpeting, or the spilled linens from a tipped hamper in the background. Let there be no confusion; you're not going to get blank backgrounds in a book drawn by Ryp. When he hits paydirt, like Laura's and James's faces in the river, it can give you a little shiver or two.
"Clone" #12 continues to entertain and surprise, month in and month out. Schulner, Ginsburg, and McIntyre come up with a strong cliffhanger every issue; they really understand how to use the serial format of a comic book. If you aren't reading "Clone" then scoop up #12 (and #11 if it's there too, but you can still figure out what's going on without it) and take a look. I've got a pretty good feeling you'll like what you'll see.