Luke Taylor has the perfect life; he’s a doctor, he’s married, has a nice house in the suburbs and even has a baby on the way. He’s a little nervous about that last one: He doesn’t think he has what it takes to be a father given that his own father ran out on him long ago. Despite his fears, he knows he has a good life and is happy with that. Except for the dreams. In them, he is chased by a shadowy man who relentlessly hunts and kills him over and over. But he does his best to ignore them and get on with his life.
Until the day the men from his nightmares show up on his doorstep. One of them, anyway—him. Luke. Shot in the stomach. Bleeding from the wound. There’s blood all over his kitchen. His bloody mirror-image cracks a joke, but Luke is trying to process the information his eyes are relaying to his brain. He is standing in his kitchen, but he is also lying on the kitchen floor with a bleeding gut wound.
His dying reflection says he is called Foss, not Luke, and they are both in danger. Worse, Luke’s wife and unborn child are in danger. And if they don’t get moving, the other man from Luke’s dreams, the one who shot Foss, well, he’ll be coming. For all of them.
The beginning of Clone Volume 1: First Generation starts off with bang and doesn’t let up. I was impressed with the depth of the characters, including the supporting cast. You have the vice president of the United States, who is struggling with an upcoming vote on stem cell research—the very search that could save his daughter’s life. There’s Secretary Davis, who is involved with all the clone research, and wants the ban pushed through. And Foss, who, like Luke, might either be a clone or the original, and is working to save his brothers from extinction at the hands of another possible clone, Patrick (no relation to me—promise).
The story is thick and complex, with lots going on right from the start. I could see the threads and subplots slowly unfolding, and I liked it. David Schulner has done a great job writing a compelling story. I just wish I could say the same for the art by Juan Jose Ryp. It starts off well, but as I got deeper into the story, with more action, and more clones, everything started to blend together. Some of that may be due to the color choices starting around Chapter 3, where a lot more of the gore/blood and violence in the book begins. It reminded me of splatter/slasher movies given how much red ends up on the page.
Overall, I recommend Clone if you’re looking for an intense sci-fi thriller.
Patrick Hester is an author, blogger and 2013 Hugo Award Winner for Best Fanzine (Editor - SF Signal). He lives in Colorado, writes science fiction and fantasy, and can usually be found hanging out on his Twitter feed. His Functional Nerds and SF Signal weekly podcasts have both been nominated for Parsec awards, and the SF Signal podcast was nominated for a 2012, 2013, and 2014 Hugo Award. In addition to his Kirkus posts, he writes for atfmb.com, SF Signal and Functional Nerds.