Clean Room, Volume 1: Immaculate Conception by Gail Simone

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Clean Room, Volume 1: Immaculate Conception by Gail Simone is an acquired taste and one that is well worth nurturing. Simone, one of the more successful female comic book writers around, having delivered some of the better Batgirl stories brings her own twist of horror/sci-fi to the Vertigo label with Clean Room. A tale of cults and fame and things that go bump in the night.

Astrid Mueller was a young child, walking with her family on the way to church when the truck ran her over in front of everyone. And then everyone watched as the driver purposely backed up and ran her over one more time. The accident that nearly crippled the child, also, in addition to the physical pain, changed Astrid in other ways as well.

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Chloe Pierce was a journalist or had been at one time. That was before she had come home and found her fiancee Philip dead, half his face blown away by a bullet to the head. Self-inflicted. Three months before, Philip had picked up a self-help book by a guru, the new leader of a cult like group that had been gaining popularity. Frequented by celebrities and society elite, the guru, promises to help with her clients problems and stress and gain them an inner peace. But some of her clients cannot live with the enlightenment she shows. Some of her clients, like Chloe’s fiancee Philip, end up violently dead.

The guru is a fully grown, Astrid Mueller.

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Now Chloe is determined to learn the truth behind Astrid and her organization and the suicides and the secret whispers she has heard of a place, where your darkest and deepest fears come to life. Where your worst moments are revealed. Your secrets exposed and laid bare. A place they call the Clean Room.

But is Astrid Mueller the truly evil person Chloe suspects her of being, or is Astrid the only thing that stands between the world and true evil?

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I loved this graphic novel and has me pining to read the rest of these comics. Simone fills her book with characters that are intricately woven with emotions. Pain, grief, angst, and desire leap off the pages and the artwork of Jon Davis-Hunt blends these thoughts and words seamlessly. The plot grabs the reader and in no rush, builds in tension and horror as layers are peeled back. Clean Room, like the best comics, reads like a book. With really good artwork. It honors the genre of graphic novel but in no way accepts being limited by it. It is a book, if missed, that demands to be found and read.

This is what Vertigo was made for. The stories that steered just this mad side of mainstream comics. What Image has picked up and is currently doing so well. Only Vertigo has been doing it all along.

A terrific read!

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