CLUE #3 by Paul Allor and Nelson Daniel
Paul Allor delivers an information-dense issue that seems to run in place, but closes with the twist of the century.
88 %
Slow but steady

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So far, the board game inspired comic CLUE has been a wild ride of murder and intrigue. In the first issue alone, dinner party host Mr. Boddy and aristocrat guest Mrs. Peacock were found dead. Issue #2 brought about the discovery of a secret room filled with blackmail on the houseguests. And it closed with yet more loss in the form of Detective Ochre. With everyone looking over their shoulders or at each others throat, we left off at the height of tension right in time for CLUE #3.

While entertaining, CLUE #3 pumps the breaks on the murder mystery a bit, in my opinion. The previous issues had me squirming with the thrill of imminent danger, but this issue seems more content to fill in some gaps. Rather than feeling as though the story was propelling me forward, it felt a little like running in place. However, this issue no doubt delivers some pertinent clues and suspicious connections between suspects.

Zinnia Fields Forever

It seems obvious now, looking back, that the Surobi Zinnias are the root of all the scheming and murders. In the additional clues at the end of Issue #1, Colonel Mustard is depicted gazing at a painting of the flower. In Issue #2, a photograph of the flower is found inside of Mr. Boddy’s blackmail room. And in the final pages, Professor Plum and Dr. Orchid stumble into a greenhouse full of them.

READ: Need to catch up? Check out this review of CLUE #1!

It’s clear that the Zinnias, which Colonel Mustard refers to in this issue as a “miracle,” heavily factor in to the motive of the murders. However, precisely how they factor in is still a mystery. Are the murders influenced by greed? Desperation for medicinal care? Revenge? Justice? It’s hard to tell, as there’s so much we still don’t know about the suspects.

What is clear is that everyone seems to have a connection. Upton sets a vase of the Zinnias in Miss Scarlett’s room. Professor Plum and Dr. Orchid obviously have experience with the plant. Mr. Green and Senator White are excited by the discovery of the Zinnias on the property. Most interestingly, Colonel Mustard was tasked with guarding a field of them ten years ago in Afghanistan. While the Surobi Zinnias seem to play a huge role in the violent proceedings, their involvement certainly doesn’t narrow down the suspects. Quite the contrary — it has me doubting my initial assumptions.

Image from CLUE #3, courtesy of IDW.

Secrets Do Make Friends

As the body count rises and the mystery begins to unfurl, the suspects seem to be pairing off, which only further raises my suspicions as a reader. The most suspicious duo is the “pharma bro” Mr. Green and sketchy politician Senator White. Is the future of this comic going to dabble in more political storytelling? It’d be interesting to see and certainly pertinent to current healthcare events.

Surprisingly enough, Professor Plum and Dr. Orchid emerge to me as a pair I root for. Since Plum and Orchid were out of the mansion when Detective Ochre was attacked in Issue #2, they are at the very least innocent of those crimes. However, from where Detective Amarillo stands, the evidence looks stacked against them. Despite a brief moment of distrust between the two, they’re a pretty endearing duo. Plum, despite all his intelligence, is a bit of a bumbling mess, while Orchid comes off as a determined badass in this issue.

READ: Still behind? Jump in with this review of CLUE #2!

Still, what’s more suspicious than pairing off? The loners. Colonel Mustard has always been on my radar as a likely suspect, and Miss Scarlett is a little too innocent to be true. However, the butler — Upton — is the one who really catches my attention in this issue. His presence is a bit more ominous around the mansion, and I begin to wonder if he’s perhaps a little more than just an omniscient narrator.

Image from CLUE #3, courtesy of IDW.

Art to Die For

As captivating as Nelson Daniel’s coloring always is, what’s most interesting is his choice in withholding color. For Colonel Mustard’s flashbacks, the entirety of the panels are in grayscale, with the exception of the infamous Surobi Zinnias. This really narrows the reader’s focus in on the importance of the flower. Amidst gunfire and death, there’s not a single splash of blood red on the page. It’s artistically clear that the loss of the flowers in the flashbacks are more upsetting than the loss of lives.

CLUE #3Image from CLUE #3, courtesy of IDW.

Final Thoughts on CLUE #3

This issue wasn’t as thrill-packed as previous installments, but at least the beginnings of a motive are stringing together. Also, despite its dragging pace, the end delivers a twist that had me gasping so hard I hurt myself. While I was a bit take-it-or-leave-it for the majority of the issue, the end has me right back on the edge of my seat.

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