Clue issue 1
Obligatory "no Boddy to go with" joke goes here.
|First published||June 28, 2017|
|Cover date||June 2017|
|Written by||Paul Allor|
|Art by||Nelson Dániel|
|Letters by||Neil Uyetake|
It was a dark and stormy night... perfect for a murder mystery, no?
Lightning strikes over a New England mansion, as a car pulls up outside. Our omniscient narrator, Upton the butler, fills us in: these guests have been invited to a dinner party at the home of the esteemed Mr. A. Boddy... and, though they don't know it yet, they are about to take part in a murder mystery. The butler attempts to welcome corrupt politician Senator White, the newly-arrived guest, but once he assures her that there is no chance of the guests being stranded by the river surrounding the manor, she pushes past him and into the house, where the other guests await: old friends Dr. Orchid and Professor Plum making friendly conversation, while rapper Miss Scarlett — invited to provide after-dinner entertainment — pointedly avoids talking to the slimy Mr. Green; and with all the guests assembled, their host makes himself known, ready to engage in "fine dining and fine conversation".
Much to Boddy's despair, however, the conversation proves somewhat frosty, with Senator White and Colonel Mustard sniping at each other over their shared history, and Miss Scarlett directing a furious outburst at Mr. Green, responsible for gouging prices on pharmaceuticals that her grandmother needed to live. The latter leads to a debate led amongst the guests over the funding for drug research and the relative value of human lives, and to illustrate his point, Green threatens Scarlett at knifepoint; if he were to be convicted for her murder, how many others would die without the drugs that he funds research for? Mr. Green considers it to be an "interesting question", but Mrs. Peacock is less than impressed with his philosophical musings. As tempers flare, Boddy calls Upton to bring them dessert in the hope of calming everyone down, which the butler takes as an opportunity to skip ahead to a more interesting part of the story...
...specifically, his employer's death, as a gunshot rings out across the house. As the guests find Boddy's body in the house's upstairs library, panicked Senator White tries to figure out the culprit through process of elimination (placing herself above suspicion, "of course"), but her efforts are unnecessary, as Colonel Mustard has realized that Mrs. Peacock has a smoking gun in her purse. The elderly aristocrat appears to feign ignorance before fleeing, but doesn't get far before being caught by the Colonel, and the police are called in the form of detectives Amarillo and Ochre; but no sooner do they cross the bridge to Boddy's manor before it collapses behind them, leaving guest and detective alike stranded with no way of contacting the outside world.
The detectives interrogate Mrs. Peacock, noting that only ten months before, she had been the prime suspect for the murder of her husband, which she escaped charges for despite "everyone" knowing that she was guilty; and while the detectives consider motive, Amarillo suggests that Boddy might have been blackmailing her with proof of her guilt... proof, maybe, to be found in the same mansion that they are in. Upton notes that the case seems to be already wrapped up, and — after complaining to the editor about how he's being written — passes the reader over to the other guests: Professor Plum, asking Dr. Orchid if she "did it"; Senator White chastising Mr. Green, one of her financial contributors, for "acting like an ass"; and Miss Scarlett trying to make conversation with the rather more terse Colonel Mustard, who simply stares off. Scarlett gives an unrequested demonstration of her singing abilities... which happens to coincide with a scream from across the house, Mrs. Peacock having herself been murdered! With the detectives trying to figure out what to do next, Upton gives a solemn "to be continued"... that's how comic books work, after all.
After the comic's back-matter, Upton presents one of three pages with additional "clues" to the comic's mystery; for, of course, this franchise demands a degree of "narrative asymmetry".
Investigating Mr. Boddy's study, the two detectives have found little, other than an oddly-decorated knife found in his desk drawer; not enough to make any accusations on. Ochre, however, spots something odd on Boddy's bookshelves: a self-help paperback nestled among heavy classical volumes. Before he can investigate further, though, he and Amarillo are interrupted by Mrs. Peacock's scream.
Subscription Cover A
Mr. Green rants to Senator White about the ways he could get back at Miss Scarlett, much to the Senator's chagrin. Green considers buying the exclusive rights to her next album, or possibly forcing her to make him the opening DJ for her next world tour. All he needs to do is show her the benefits of a partnership outweigh the costs. Senator White notes that she's come to a similar conclusion, sneaking behind Green while holding a candlestick. Before she can do anything, Mrs. Peacock's scream rings out.
Subscription Cover B
Flashing back to the conversation between Miss Scarlett and Colonel Mustard, we see what the Colonel was staring at: a large painting of a purple flower. After Mrs. Peacock's scream, Colonel Mustard idly mentions to himself that he's beginning to see things much clearer now.
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
"Mister Green. Hedge fund manager turned pharmaceutical bro. Pond scum looks down on him."
- —Even the captions don't like Mr. Green very much
Mr. Green: "This is just an intellectual exercise. If I were to kill Miss Scarlett here, would I be convicted?"
All guests: "YES!"
Mr. Green: "Okay. Yeah. But should I be? Without the drug research I fund, how many others will die?"
"What is going on in this mansion?"
"I don't know. But one thing is for certain: the murder weapon was definitely a candlestick. Or a lead pipe. Possibly a revolver. Or a wrench. Or a knife. Maybe rope."
- —Detectives Amarillo and Ochre float possible murder weapons
Though the true culprit shouldn't be expected to be obvious this early in the story, there are numerous clues to be found, true to the title:
- It seems fairly certain that Mrs. Peacock killed Mr. Boddy, having been found with a literal smoking gun, and with a clear motive in the form of her husband's murder. But are things as self-evident as they appear?
- Senator White is firmly established as corrupt and self-interested, and Colonel Mustard clearly did something he isn't proud of in Afghanistan; if Mr. Boddy had been blackmailing them, this would certainly provide material to do so. It appears that they can't have murdered Boddy, though, as they were downstairs at the time of the gunshot.
- Dr. Orchid and Professor Plum are shown to have some sort of history together that Orchid is unwilling to discuss in public, but that doesn't exactly constitute a motive... yet. They were also downstairs with White and Mustard when Boddy was shot. However, they are the only two characters that don't have an alibi at the time of Mrs. Peacock's death, as established by the bonus pages.
- Mr. Green is a horrible person, and was seen listening at the door of Mrs. Peacock's interrogation, but he was out of the room and with Senator White at the time of her death.
- Miss Scarlett has an alibi for Mrs. Peacock's death and no apparent motive; she certainly seems to be the least likely suspect, doesn't she?
- Detective Amarillo and Detective Ochre weren't even in the building when Boddy was murdered, and were in Mr. Boddy's office when Mrs. Peacock died.
- Upton was downstairs when Boddy died, and in the kitchen when Mrs. Peacock was killed. Also, why would the omniscient narrator murder anyone? He should know that the culprit of a murder mystery always gets discovered.
- Carlos Guzman... could be the killer, but that seems kind of meta even for this comic.
- All seven "suspects", plus Mr. Boddy, are based on existing Clue characters, and most draw inspiration from their previous characterisations.
- Mr. Boddy, known as "Dr. Black" in the original British Cluedo, is the rarely-seen murder victim of Clue's central whodunnit; as such, his fate here isn't particularly surprising.
- Miss Scarlett is traditionally a "femme fatale" archetype, often an actress; IDW's version seems to be something of a pastiche of Australian rapper Iggy Azalea.
- Colonel Mustard has varied in design and nationality, being either English or American, but is typically an elderly military man. His given "vice" is usually black market profiteering.
- Senator White is a heavy reinvention of "Mrs. White", who is traditionally a cook or servant, something alluded to by the Senator being the "founder and CEO of the nation's largest maid service".
- Mr. Green's identity varies between the British Cluedo and American Clue; in Britain, he is "Reverend Green", an Anglican priest, while "Clue" gives him money-focused personas such as mobsters and businessmen. IDW's comic takes the latter route, making him a pastiche of Martin Shkreli, the "most hated man in America". (Pharmaceuticals... drugs... "Green", geddit?)
- Mrs. Peacock is, both in IDW's miniseries and the classic game, an elderly socialite; in some versions she's Miss Scarlett's mother, something that isn't apparently the case here.
- Professor Plum is either a young or elderly academic, often an archaeologist; he's usually seen with a pipe and bow-tie, which he lacks here, though he retains his classic glasses.
- You might not recognise Dr. Orchid even if you've played Clue before; she was created for the 2016 edition of Clue/Cluedo, where she was described as Boddy's adopted daughter and a plant toxicologist expelled from a Swiss private school. There, she replaced Mrs. White, but here the two characters coexist.
- Upton and the two Detectives are newly-created characters for IDW's miniseries. Amarillo and Ochre are named to fit with the "color" theme of the other names, while Upton is similar to the stock butler character that has appeared in previous versions of Clue; most notably Wadsworth from the 1985 Clue film.
- The detectives' suspicion that Boddy was blackmailing Mrs. Peacock comes from the 1985 film, where Boddy was blackmailing all of the guests.
- After Mrs. Peacock is killed, Detective Ochre does the obligatory gag of listing off all the weapons from the board game: a candlestick, lead pipe, revolver, wrench, knife, and rope.
- In addition to the various Hasbro paraphernalia spread around Carlos Guzman's office (a laptop with the Decepticon insignia, action figures of Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Rock 'n Roll and Optimus Prime, pictures of the Baroness, Megatron, and Shipwreck, and... something with the Jem and the Holograms logo on it), there's a picture on the wall of Time Cheetah, the titular star of a webcomic written by Guzman. (He's a man with a cheetah's head and he travels through time solving mysteries.)
- Mr. Green is apparently of Romanian descent, his parents having grown up under Nicolae Ceaușescu, while Senator White's parents are Cuban, having grown up under Fidel Castro.
- Upton sings "The British Grenadiers" to himself.
- Green wanting to buy the exclusive rights to Scarlett's next album is a reference to Martin Shkreli's purchase of Wu-Tang Clan's one-of-a-kind album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.
- The regular cover and two subscription covers to this issue were each released with a different bonus page after the back-matter, each containing a different "clue", as a nod to the Clue franchise's tradition of multiple endings.
- So, nothing prior to the release of Clue suggested it was going to be set in IDW's Hasbro Universe; by all indications it was going to be something like their Dungeons and Dragons or My Little Pony comics, set in its own little universe. And nothing in the plot of the comic contradicts that... but part of the comic's back matter is the Hasbro Tribune, indicating (or at least implying) that it is part of the Hasbro Universe, which even the loosely-connected Jem titles don't have. Weird, right?
- Regular Cover: The cast of the comic surrounding the outline of Boddy's body, by Gabriel Rodriguez and Nelson Dániel.
- Subscription Cover A: Upton and Mr. Boddy, by Nelson Dániel.
- Subscription Cover B: Miss Scarlett, with the wrench, in a painting, by Valentina Pinto.
- Cover RI: The cast surrounded by paintings of murder weapons, by Charles Paul Wilson III.
- Convention Exlusive Cover: Black-and-white background version of the regular cover.