Clover: Omnibus – Story and Art by CLAMP (a J!-ENT Manga Review)
May 13, 2009 by Dennis Amith
CLAMP’s 1997 four-volume manga series “Clover” is collected into one omnibus. An enjoyable, beautiful and visual CLAMP manga series but also one of the quickest omnibus that one will definitely read! Recommended for CLAMP fans!
© 1997 CLAMP. All Rights Reserved.
MANGA TITLE: Clover
STORY AND ART BY: CLAMP
FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shogakukan, Inc.
PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Dark Horse Manga
RELEASE DATE: May 13, 2009
Kazuhiko is a young but already deeply wounded black ops agent of a baroque, retro-tech future. 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 only human contact two distant voices: that of her elderly “grandma,” General Ko, and of Kazuhiko’s dead girlfriend, 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.
From the creators of “X”, “Chobits”, “Angelic Layer”, “xxxHolic”, “Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle”, “Magical Knight Rayearth, “Cardcaptor Sakura” to name a few, comes “Clover”, a four volume manga series that was originally serialized in Kodansha’s “Amie” magazine back in 1997-1999, before the magazine was canceled.
While CLAMP writer Nanase Ohkawa has said that two more books would be needed to complete the story. Over ten years later, there has been no announcement by CLAMP that they would complete the series but the four volumes are now available stateside.
Originally released by Tokyopop back in 2001-2002, Dark Horse Manga has now released the entire four volume series via a 500+ page omnibus.
“Clover” begins with a council elder requesting retired black ops agent, Kazuhiko Fay Ryu to do an delivery for them, otherwise if he doesn’t, she could reopen an investigation against him.
The package is a girl named Sue, and this girl seems to be special. She also appears to love one song that she tends to play over and over.
But as Kazuhiko is to make the delivery, the Azaiean Army led by Bols is trying to capture her.
And the reason why is that Sue is the sole Four-Leaf Clover, the most powerful being in existence. And whoever gains possession of the Four-Leaf Clover has enough power to destroy anyone in their path. And because she is so powerful, she and other clovers (special beings who have the magical ability to manipulate technology or have other abilities such as teleportation or the ability to summon weapons) are kept away from human contact, have no friends and some are imprisoned in a cage or a room.
But why was Kazuhiko, a troublemaker who had been court-martialed, hired by the council to deliver Sue?
For those familiar with the works of CLAMP, the group are known for their dark stories but also their attention to detail in visuals. With “Clover”, the visuals are impressive and as a thick omnibus at over 500 pages, it’s probably going to be one of the quickest omnibus that one will be able to read.
First, let’s discuss the good. The visuals are beautiful, artistic and creative. The storyline did have some semblance to the X-Men, about people with special abilities that the government fear that their special abilities could jeopardize national security. The highest level is the four-leaf clover and Sue is the only one in existence. While there are three, three-leaf clovers and a few others that can be powerful if they join together and have contact with one another. One-leaf clovers can only predict the day of their own demise.
This is something that the government has prevented, any way a clover can come into contact with another clover or human but most importantly, to prevent them from having emotional feelings towards anyone.
But the central theme is a song that Sue had listened to and loved titled “Clover”. She listens to it over and over for some reason and it is revealed that the song was created by Ora, the deceased girlfriend of Kazuhiko, who was hired to protect her while delivering her.
The story is quite intriguing but now I will get to the bad.
Each page sometimes has one or two pictures, with no dialogue but the lyrics to the “Clover” song or sometimes with a word bubble that you can count with one hand. A lot of time, there are only one or two word bubbles and sometimes none. One or two art panels and a lot of white space on a page. Some pages are normal with art as one can see on other manga but most of the time, you find yourself flipping through pages after you see the artwork and realize that for such a large omnibus (featuring four graphic novel volumes), you read it probably within one hour.
And another problem that I have had is that because the omnibus is huge, the glue that binds to the cover, the adhesive is coming out and in my copy, the fourth volume is about to come out. Granted, perhaps it’s just my copy but it’s the first omnibus where this has happened to me.
The other problem is that this series is complete. The storyline has been halted with no plans for a conclusion and it’s been over ten years now with so sign of CLAMP going back to it. So, it’s an unfinished work for now. But for CLAMP fans, the fact that you can find all four volumes in an omnibus for the price of two manga graphic novels is good.
Also, the edition includes eight doublepage color paintings from CLAMP including a bonus gallery section containing 17 color pages not available in any previous editions of “Clover”.
Overall, there is no doubt that “Clover” is another beautiful CLAMP manga, it’s also the quickest omnibus that one will read! While the storyline is intriguing, one can hope that CLAMP goes back and completes the manga series. I do recommend it for CLAMP fans but for anyone else, just remember that it’s an omnibus that is mostly visual and you will finish it probably within an hour.
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