Imagine you’re at home, getting ready to leave for work.
Suddenly, there’s a strange crashing noise. You’re home alone, so cautiously and curiously, you investigate, and find a wide trail of blood leading into the kitchen. And sitting on the floor, back up against the cabinets below the sink, trying feebly to staunch the gushing mess of a gutshot wound, is . . . you.
Not quite a mirror image you — the hair’s a little different — but it’s unmistakably you. And you have a grave warning for yourself: ‘they’re’ coming for you. And for your eight-months-pregnant wife, Amelia, currently at a sonogram appointment and blissfully unaware of the left turn to Crazyville your life has just made.
Leaving yourself to bleed out on your kitchen floor, you rush to the medical center to warn her, desperately trying to reach her on the phone. When you arrive and rush breathlessly to the reception desk, demanding to see your wife, to your horror, the confused receptionist informs you that . . . well, you just picked her up.
Clone #1 is a very auspicious debut from writer David Schulner and artist Juan Jose Ryp. If the premise of the series — Doctor Luke Taylor suddenly discovers he’s been cloned without his knowledge, and his duplicates are involved in a violent and dangerous game of cat-and-mouse, which now includes Taylor, his wife and his unborn child — doesn’t quite hook you, the execution seals the deal. This is a pitch-perfect first issue: tightly paced, building on the suspense with each page, and setting up just the right amount of intrigue.
Impressively, Schulner and Ryp are firing on all cylinders right out of the gate. David Schulner states in a text piece at the end of the story that this is his first published comic, and it certainly doesn’t show it. Artist Juan Jose Ryp, handling both pencils and inks, has a hyper-detailed style very reminiscent of Geoff Darrow, and combined with excellent color work by Felix Serrano, the book is a visual standout — especially the gorgeous wraparound cover that couldn’t beg louder for the issue to be picked up and leafed through if it had a proximity-sensing sound chip embedded in it.
Can’t wait to see how this series develops in future issues. Between Clone and Witch Doctor, Robert Kirkman has really established he’s got an amazing eye for story and talent to bring into his Skybound fold.
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(Just realized I keep referring to myself in the plural in these outros. It’s really just me, singular. Well, and the Meme Elves, but they mostly don’t count, since they only show up after midnight when you let a JPEG and a saucer of vinegar-laced honey out for them.)