Current Reviews


Clandestine #5

Posted: Friday, June 13, 2008
By: Ray Tate

Alan Davis, Mark Farmer (i), Paul Mounts (c)
Alan Davis
Through a good team-up with the classic version of Excalibur, the Destine clan's latest adventure ends on a high note. Alan Davis drops the curtain over Griffin and his Omegans, ideal beings reminiscent of the Eloi and the Children of the Damned. In addition, the resolution between Adam and Elalyth, the mother of Clandestine, allays all of the family's worries.

The Destines and Excalibur were enslaved on an alternate earth where the Inhumans rule under the claim of Maximus, Black Bolt's brother. The genius Newton Destine attempted a rescue. The attempt however didn't go as planned and appeared to result in the unfortunate deaths of the twins Pandora and Rory.

With this issue writer Alan Davis unveils two facets to the story. First, the reports of the twins' deaths have been greatly exaggerated, to paraphrase Twain. Second, the Inhumans' rule isn't all that it seems to be.

Davis introduces two twists in the plot that make sense and play fair with the reader. Davis also earns my regard for making Pandora the one that implements imagination and intelligence to deduce the truth behind the alternity. Even Kitty Pryde is impressed.

As it turns out Clandestine's enemy Griffin was actually responsible for Walter's outbreaks of mania. Last issue Clonedestine, misshapen clones of the Destine clan, and their master kidnapped Walter. This issue the Omegans, under a new leader, revolt against their progenitor.

Davis introduces another intriguing plot development via the characterization of the Omegans. They reveal themselves to be far more pragmatic than Griffin, who took advantage of their benevolence. The dialogue for the scene in which the Omegans' new leader dresses down the maniac is tersely delivered and deceptively powerful.

The plot elements involving Griffin and the clones intermingle with the operatic quest for Elalyth. I don't pretend once to understand what the hell was going down with Adam and Elalyth, but they show up in spirit just in time to dispose of the garbage and give a villain second chance. Both methods should feel familiar to Doctor Who fans.

I'd call the timely intervention a deus ex machina if not for Adam's and Elalyth's relationship to the main characters. Essentially, Adam's interference represents the anger of a father on behalf of his sons and daughters. He removes a threat to them that they cannot fight, and he takes care of them like any father would.

Pandora was suffering because she has never actually met her mother, and she didn't know if Elalyth really loved her or not. Elalyth's beautifully illustrated understated reaction to the youngest of the Destine clan gives her succor, and it does so without undermining Elalyth's enigmatic nature.

The art in Clandestine is of course utterly gorgeous. Because of the events, Alan Davis and Mark Farmer brighten the panels with numerous smiles. They make Adam more emotional than he has been in previous issues. His rage is palpable as well as his feelings for his family.

Recently a sweaty Kitty Pryde was killed by the NRA's wet dream in Astonishing X-Men, but as I suggested in my review of Batman Chronicles, the writing in comics serves as context for art. Unbound by the story, art is timeless. So, through solely the art of Alan Davis, Mark Farmer and Paul Mounts, Kitty Pryde lives. She's dressed better and looks like she had a shower. Thanks to the art, Excalibur never broke up, and they fight on.

The ending to Clandestine suggests Alan Davis has more tales planned, and I couldn't be happier. The Destines are enjoyable characters to follow, and the artwork makes one salivate.

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