What’s on the back: Kazuhiko is a young, but already deeply wounded, black-ops agent of a baroque, retro-tech world–pulled out of retirement to escort Sue, a mysterious waif, to a destination she alone knows. Sue and Kazuhiko have never met…yet she knows him, having grown up since the age of four with her human contact being two distant voices: that of her elderly “grandma” — Kazuhiko’s comander, General Ko; and that of Kazuhiko’s dead girlfriend, the beautiful singer ora.
And Sue has been kept in that cage all these years because of what she is and what the Clover Leaf Project found her to be: a military top secret…and the most dangerous person in the world.
Review: The first time I heard that Clover is being reprinted by Dark Horse, I jumped up and down in excitement. Why exactly? Because not only has it been out of print for the longest time, but also the first time it was published in it’s flipped version. Back then I was dying to lay my hands on this manga because I’m such a big Clamp fan at heart. But the only set back to this manga is that it will never be completed. There will never be an ending to Sue’s story. Which kind of sucks, but it’s what Clamp do best, write really good stories that will never have an ending. But regardless of no end, Clover is still a worthwhile read.
To start off, I must say this must be one of the most visually stunning book I ever picked up. Dark Horse did a good job in packaging this manga! Not only was the Manga printed on very good paper. We also get goodies such as coloured artwork between each volume, and also at the end of the book. The reason I like Clamp so much, is partially because I find their artwork visually captivating. So I was glad to see the coloured artwork thrown in the manga.
Moving on to the story itself: Clover is kind of a weird story. Each volume focuses on another character in the book. But throughout the volumes, we get to see the “big” idea behind Clover and it’s surroundings. Sue’s story is actually a sad one. To be deemed the most dangerous person in the world, at the age of four is too much. To have no contact with humans, except the voices of two different individuals, is no feat. I liked how Kazuhiko and Sue interacted with each other, even when they never met each other in real life. What links them together, is Kakuhiko’s dead girlfriend/singer Ora. The only other person that Sue talks to.
In volume three, we get to see Kazuhiko’s and Ora’s past together. I don’t want to spoil too much, but having Ora’s ability must be difficult. It’s definitely not comfortable, espeically when it affects the people around you. It was also the reason why Kazuhiko decided to retired from the Black-Ops.
The last volume of Clover, gives us a clearer image of the world they live in. We get to learn more about the Clover project and also why Sue is confined. We also get a glimpse of Ran’s past, and why he isn’t allowed to leave his home. His story is also a tragic one. Somehow I get the same vibe from his story, as when I was reading about Shaoyran’s story. It’s definitely a possibility since they are both Clamp’s creation.
To those who don’t appreciate artwork over story, than maybe Clover might not be the manga for you. Clover’s dialogue is very limited. Instead, throughout the whole manga, words from different songs are repeated over and over again. On every page, is probably a tidbit from the song that Ora sings. I don’t mind actually because it gave me the chance to appreciate Clover’s artwork even more. There are a lot of white spaces between each panel, which helps empathized the focus on the story. It also helped in making Clover a really quick read, for such a thick book.
Final Thoughts: Even though Clover is not my favourite from Clamp (Tsubasa being #1), The visual, the story, and even the way it packaged makes it such a worthwhile book to own. Dark Horse is also planning to publish other Clamp series, such as Cardcaptor Sakura and Chobits in omnibus editions as well. You can definitely bet, that I will be picking those up as well due to the fact that they will be a fine addition to any manga collector’s collection.
Overall Grade: A