April 2, 2017
The Clean Room #17
“Waiting for the Stars to Fall”
Written by: Gail Simone
Art by: Walter Geovani
Astrid Mueller was once a gothic horror novelist. She then wrote a self help book entitled, An Honest World: Unlocking the Explosive Potential Inside and now heads a giant self help organization that borders somewhere on the borders of religion and psychology. The book is said to have the potential to enlighten a person or drive them insane. Journalist Chloe Pierce’s, boyfriend read Astrid’s book and became obsessed with it. and ended up decorating her kitchen floor with his brains. This prompts her to look into Astrid Mueller and her “church” and find out what’s in the mysterious Clean Room. Chloe has no fear of Astrid’s lawyers or investigators. She has no one and has nothing to lose…a dangerous combination where Astrid is concerned.
The story thus far is that there’s something wrong with the world. The Entities have been wreaking havoc in a mischievous but deadly way, paving the way for something much bigger. Blackouts are occurring as well as tv and radio broadcasts…all signals, just dropping off. Since she was a little girl, Astrid has been preparing for this but first, she’ll have to get past her brother Peter, the resident psycho and his sister’s biggest fan. Having been bestowed similar power of Astrid by the Entities, he has trapped her in her own “Clean Room” with the sole purpose of using it against her and destroy the room and Astrid along with it. Oh, and before I forget to mention it, Chloe is now one of her lieutenants (go figure.)?
Issue #17 opens with a blackout of an entire city, no electricity, no power and no internet (fiends!) and the bewildered neighbors take to the streets to find out why. There’s even something wrong with the night sky…the stars…some of them are missing! What follows is similar to televisions, The Twilight Zone’s March 1960 episode, “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” when strange things happen and stoke the paranoia of the residents to point fingers at one another when a young boy suggests aliens are the cause. Aliens that live among humans…only this time, he’s right. You can imagine what happens next. In the meantime, Astrid duels with her brother Peter in the Clean Room as she attempts to find out what he’s done with Chloe and Killian. It gets stranger and stranger here as memories become prisons, never ending cycles and worse, much worse. It does not bode well for some. Astrid recalls some early childhood memories which reveal her horrific origins that put her on her current path and the Entities’ plans begin to take shape with a little help from Astrid’s possessed niece and another kid who’s not what he seems.
The Verdict: Though I have not read the entire run of this title, I really like what I have seen. Writer Gail Simone knows what she’s talking about, having studied cults extensively and hailing from Oregon which happens to be one of the states in the U.S. with the highest number of cults or cult-like communities in it. Walter Geovani provides excellent artwork and renders the Entities as truly terrifying and horrible. This is true horror. Not your typical slasher or beastie horror, but horror that slowly turns and gets in your head. Simone has said that Astrid’s “church” represents no particular cult or group, but it sure smells like Hubbard’s Scientology. With recent media focus on their “church”, it makes this title even more creepy with the real life similarities between them. If you appreciate horror, this book is right up your alley! If not for anything else in this book, you can never go wrong with possessed babies and frightening shape shifting kids!