You know that uncomfortable feeling you get when you see something truly disturbing and you instantly empathize and feel disgusting all at once? That was my feeling upon reading Clean Room issue #7. Clean Room finally gives us a window into Astrid’s past, well more a crowbar tearing open a wall than a window.
The issue opens with Astrid as a 16 -18 year old hitch hiking through New Mexico. She makes her way to see Anika in a hospital just after her abduction by the “Entities” and we are given an uncomfortable retelling of what happened to give her the scar we saw in an earlier issue. We then flash forward to see her as she is now and to our surprise she is even more damaged.
Next, we are shown through a personal session with herself how Astrid feels about her past and being run over. This is a clever ploy however and she finally gets to meet one of the “Entities” in person, The Surgeon! He lays out his plan and threatens to kill Astrid and worse before she stops him by threatening his home or perhaps prison, as he stated he was an inmate in an earlier issue.
Clean Room #7 is drawn and inked in a beautiful way that really looks real and let’s you empathize with the characters. Mixed in are near anatomical levels of accuracy to showcase truly stunning gore and horror. The writing is interesting as each character to be introduced as of yet, even through the series has spoken and felt different.
There is a two-page scene that takes place focusing on Chloe and Det. Demakos which seems very out of place in this issue otherwise entirely focused on Astrid. It’s almost as if the writer thought we would forget about Chloe or lose interest if we didn’t see her.
Overall, Clean Room #7 is a great read with a lot of development in a character we have thus far not had much personal time with.