5 from Below: Clean Room
Now, you’re probably wondering about the title of this article right here, so let me enlighten you. This is going to be a start of a series of articles – which is of course going to consist of five installments – dedicated to talking about series that you may have probably not picked up yet or even heard of before. Yup, that’s the sad truth about the comic book industry: it’s been the case, although hopefully not for long, that a lot of gems get buried under the enormous, heaping muck of capes and tights books that they most of the time do not get the attention they rightfully deserve. So, amidst the torrent of swill big publishers hurl at you nerds, I’ve taken it upon myself to dive into its infested waters and retrieve what I think are some of comics’ underrated treasures.
To kick off this series, I’ll be talking about Gail Simone and Jon Davis-Hunt’s Vertigo series Clan Room. All right, first of all, you should know that Vertigo is not what it was once anymore. Back then, it was like an oasis in the middle of the barren desert of the comic book industry, not to mention that it is more or less the publisher responsible for bringing quality titles to the world back in its heyday. So much so, that it’s become a fact that those drooling idiot nerds never fail to bring up when they try to defend their indefensible fixation on superhuman crotches, which is actually a stupid point for them to make when you consider Vertigo is as far away from the whole capes and tights fare as possible. Nowadays, however, Vertigo – and I don’t revel in the idea of writing this – is an imprint that’s probably on its death throes. But, we cannot discount the fact that the imprint’s been trying its best to at least keep itself afloat, and this is no more obvious than when they start their initiatives to find the next Preacher or Fables.
This leads us to Clean Room, which came around 2015 during yet another of Vertigo’s publishing initiatives. And, if I remember correctly, they launched around 6 titles then, with about half of them actually being great while the other, well, not so much. Now, Clean Room belongs to the former. It’s a series that actually is reminiscent of 90s Vertigo, in that it provided an engaging (almost) no holds barred story care of Gail Simone and, of course, Jon Davis-Hunt’s detailed yet concise line work.
So, what is it about? Well, without giving away too much, I will say that it’s a series that is indeed perfect for the Vertigo imprint, as it combines both science fiction and horror by introducing readers to a world where people who are sensitive to forces invisible to the naked eye join a company that appears as one of those crazy self-help institutions as a way to protect themselves from creatures that are out to eat the world whole (of course I’m not telling you where they come from). Right now, Clean Room has fallen victim to cancellation, but perhaps if we buy enough of the trades, DC and the WB may revive it. Win-win, I guess, if that’s the case.