CLUE #4 by PAUL ALLOR and NELSON DANIEL
Characterization
Art
Plot
Summary
CLUE #4 has a mystery that dwindles, but stakes that are significantly raised, with artwork that masters perspective.
85 %
LAGGING INTRIGUE

If you’re caught up with CLUE, then you’re well aware that all is not as it seems to be. In the previous issue, Mr. Boddy rises from his not-quite-deadly slumber, and dramatic flashbacks reveal more about the ubiquitous Surobi Zinnia. In CLUE #4, the stakes rise for the remaining house guests, but I find that the excitement of the mystery begins to lag.

Lagging Intrigue

With Mr. Boddy alive, he reveals through a conversation with Upton that his faked death was supposed to cause the house guests to turn on each other. Professor Plum, unaware of Mr. Boddy’s “resurrection,” theorizes why someone might want the house guests out of the way, but can’t figure out who alive might benefit. The Surobi Zinnia sits at the forefront of all the crime and drama, and Senator White proclaims, “capitalism is never just a red herring!” One might believe that to be a clue in itself, suggesting that the Surboi Zinnias are just a misdirection. However, the plot keeps circling that lead, and there’s not much else to go on.

CLUE #4
Image from CLUE #4, courtesy of IDW.

This issue includes another flashback, which details a past confrontation between Senator White and Colonel Mustard. White questions Mustard’s competency at his job, which ultimately costs him a promotion. There is a second flashback in this issue, which shows readers the circumstances in which Mr. Boddy hires Miss Scarlett. The inclusion of two flashbacks slows down the forward motion of the plot. Writer Paul Allor gives a lot of information in this issue, which leaves me to wonder how two more issues will continue to carry a murder mystery. It seems, for the most part, like the motivations are clear. Besides, if capitalism really isn’t a red herring, I’m missing the thrill of scandal and personal drama.

READ: Refresh your memory with this review of CLUE #3!

Rising Stakes

With the return of Mr. Boddy, the house guests now have another person to fear. No one but Upton, who helped Mr. Boddy deceive the guests in the first place, is aware that their host is alive and well. This keeps them right where Boddy wants them — in a high tension environment. Even the house guests who apparently work together in some capacity, like Mr. Green and Senator White, doubt each other and begin to split up.

CLUE #4
Image from CLUE #4, courtesy of IDW.

Though Mr. Boddy’s faked death lowers the initial body count, CLUE #4 brings about three more deaths. With people dropping like flies, house guests are even more on guard and likely to lash out at each other. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances of some of the deaths, Detective Amarillo believes that the murderer is already dead. This mistaken belief puts the house guests in more danger, as their alleged protector thinks there’s nothing left to protect against.

READ: For more high stakes action, check out BATMAN/THE SHADOW #4!

Past and Perspective in Artwork

I’m always a fan of Nelson Daniel‘s art, and CLUE #4 is as interesting and striking as ever. In the last issue, Daniel implemented grayscale with a pop of color during a flashback, using the Zinnias as the colorful focus. In this issue, in the two flashbacks the color pop is the representative color of the character which the flashback centers on — such as yellow for Colonel Mustard and red for Miss Scarlett. I find it an interesting way to frame what the reader’s attention should be on, narrowing down one’s viewpoint to one aspect.

CLUE #4
Image from CLUE #4, courtesy of IDW.

I also love the angles and perspective that Daniel plays with in this issue. The artwork puts me in the shoes of the character. Panels where we look down on a character embody shifts in power. When a character is facing directly forward, it feels as though I’m a part of the conversation. My favorite instance is when a chase ensues through the Zinnias, and we see a view from behind. I love feeling like I’m in the shoes of a predator, as so often comics empathize only with the victims. It’s interesting to feel a wide range of perspective and feeling.

Final Thoughts on CLUE #4

CLUE #4, while not as exciting or nail-biting as previous issues, is still a pretty good read. In all honesty, it feels mostly like a bridging issue, meant only to carry us over to the next twist and turn. However, my interest in the series as a whole hasn’t faded. I’m still eager to see how things unfold in the remaining two issues, and if something more sinister than capitalism is at work.

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