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The Cleaners #1

Posted: Friday, November 14, 2008
By: Troy Stith

Mark Wheaton, Joshua Hale Fialkov
Rahsan Ekedal, Jon Graef (c)
Dark Horse Comics
I’ve seen plenty of TV shows on the Discovery Channel to make me well aware that I would never want to be a trauma scene cleaner, and Mark Wheaton and Joshua Hale Fialkov (Elk’s Run) drive the point home. Robert Bellarmine, a former doctor, turned trauma scene cleaner, takes the lead role in Wheaton and Fialkov’s twisted mystery.

The duo start you off with a typical Bellarmine day in L.A., a gore soaked upscale hotel room, complete with a panicky HR type at his side. You can tell early on that Bellarmine’s cool upfront demeanor is a cover for his fluid filled past, instantly making you want to read on. Bellarmine’s intentions for becoming a “cleaner” are left cloudy, as are, the details into his past and present life, but that’s all apart of the fun in a mystery like this. Although, it is revealed that Bellarmine works with a small team of “cleaners” that help him analyze the evidence he obtains from crime scenes, but their reasons for researching the crime scenes is left unclear. All we know for sure from this debut issue is that Bellarmine is hot on the trail of a new killer in town who’s obsessed with blood.

Rahsan Ekedal’s detailed art draws you into the crime scenes. Ekedal tackles large two page blood soaked spreads and fast paced action panels of clean up with the same consistency and attention to detail. His stark approach to backgrounds works perfectly with his detailed realistic characters. The microscopic panels of blood cells on a wood grain table look fantastic and left me applauding for such detail. I hadn’t heard of Ekedal before this book but I did a little research after reading The Cleaners and I discovered that he does art for the Warhammer titles as well. I can’t wait to pick up more of his work.

Overall I think I’ve got another title to add to my reading list. I’m really looking forward to seeing how much further things will escalate and what made Bellarmine become a cleaner.



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