CLUE #1 BY PAUL ALLOR AND NELSON DANIEL
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
CLUE #1 gives readers what they want from a favorite board game of their youths, and throws in a heaping helping of diversity.
97 %
TO DIE FOR

CLUE #1, published by IDW, is a new comic written by Paul Allor with art by Nelson Daniel. This fresh comic draws source material from the board game and the hilarious 1985 film. For those unfamiliar, the classic game treats players as detectives and gives each player their own set of clues that no one else is privy to. Through investigative questions, players try to deduce which of six suspects, six weapons, and nine rooms were involved in a murder. The comic utilizes the suspects and weapons that fans of the franchise know well in fun and interesting ways, while also adding something new to the mix.

At the beginning of the comic, A. Boddy invites several eclectic guests to his mansion for a dinner party. Tensions begin to rise as the guests’ histories and differences cause them to devolve into arguments. After dinner, a shot rings out across the mansion, and the guests find Mr. Boddy dead. While the board game centers around the hows of the mystery, the fun of the comic is the why. The exploration of human nature is fascinating. While the board game makes you feel like a detective, at times, this comic makes you feel like one of the guests — just as guilty and just as in danger as everyone else.

The Usual Suspects

The original six suspects — Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Colonel Mustard, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, and Mrs. White — are among the guests at the mansion, as well as a new character, Dr. Orchid. The interpretations of all of the characters are diverse and interesting. Miss Scarlett is a feisty Australian rapper with bright red hair. Professor Plum is a man of color, as well as a polymath. Colonel Mustard is an African American Buddhist war hero. Mr. Green is a hedge fund manager who dabbles in pharmaceuticals. Mrs. Peacock is an aristocratic widow. Mrs. White is now referred to as Senator White, and she also happens to be a woman of color.

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As for Dr. Orchid, she’s an Asian toxicologist and academic. However, she’s not the only new character. After the murder takes place, two detectives arrive. Detective Ochre is another African American man, and his partner, Detective Amarillo, is a woman in a same-sex marriage. The Butler, Upton, is a fourth-wall-breaking omniscient narrator who comedically guides readers through the mystery.

CLUE #1
Image from CLUE #1, courtesy of IDW.

Plotting

The storyline of CLUE #1 has just the right balance of mystery and comedy. The comic transitions seamlessly between serious arguments, intriguing investigations, and ridiculous personalities, right before each tone overstays its welcome. Additionally, the characters are all written in such a way that absolutely none of them are entirely likable or entirely dislikable. They all appear to have motives to kill one another. For example, Mr. Green’s price hike on medicine almost killed Miss Scarlett’s grandmother. However, despite their troubled histories with one another, none of the guests appear to have motive to kill Mr. Boddy yet. That might be largely due to the lack of full character development for the host. As the mystery unfolds, I suppose Boddy’s one-dimensionality will be taken care of, posthumously.

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Although the mystery already has its hooks in me, there’s nothing particularly unique thus far about the plot. Of course, an adoption of Clue is going to center around a murder mystery, and the nostalgia factor prevents the details of the murder from being too out of the box. Since most of the fun and excitement of mysteries happen near the end of arcs, the slow start is excusable. Still, Allor divulges just enough information to make the reader greedy to learn more. I rescanned every page several times in search of hints and clues. I couldn’t help but think Senator White’s interest in the number of exits was suspicious, and I noticed an unusual amount of focus put on a marble bust.

CLUE #1
Image from Clue #1, courtesy of IDW.

Killer Artwork

Nelson Daniel’s artwork for this comic feels incredibly authentic to the material and its sources. In Clue, colors have of course always been a gimmick, and Daniel uses it expertly. While the characters’ signature colors are incorporated in their outfits, it’s not overdone. I’m eager to see in future issues if coloring will at all have a hand in some of the clues. The shadows in this comic are great, too. They’re implemented both as naturalism and to heighten drama and emotion, when appropriate.

CLUE #1
Image from CLUE #1, courtesy of IDW.

Last Words on CLUE #1

CLUE #1 manages to be both nostalgic and fresh. Allor and Daniel harness the classic aspects of the board game and meld them with their own modern take. Not only are the characters diverse, which is both refreshing and representative of the real world, but they’re also incredibly interesting. Murder mysteries are nothing new, but I’m on the edge of my seat for the release of the next issue, ready to delve further into the minds of the suspects.

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