Written by Nick Spencer
Art by W. Scott Forbes, Jorge Coelho, Marley Zarcone
Lettering by Johnny Lowe
Published by Image Comics
Review by Vanessa Gabriel
Different things propel one to decide to start reading a comic. Often times it is word of mouth, the following of a long-loved character or the creative team is appealing. But it was the art that drew me to Forgetless. At the time of release, I had seen the single issues of Forgetless at my comic shop a time or two. The cover art was striking. As these things go, I had enough on my pull list, and I passed on purchasing. Little did I know that when I got around to reading the collected edition of Forgetless, the artists who made those covers so striking would soon reign as rulers of my aesthetic.
I first experienced Marley Zarcone’s art in Madame Xanadu #24. She was only on that one issue, but her clean, unique style is unforgettable. That sealed the deal for me and Forgetless. I had to have more Marley, who is one of the three very talented Forgetless artists. Jorge Coelho, W. Scott Forbes, and Marley Zarcone combine to create a powerful aesthetic rarely seen combined into one book; each artist explicitly unique, but all of them as vibrant as the story being told.
There is nothing typical about this book, except for the hipsters. I kid. Nick Spencer writes a provocative and relevant story that just so happens to boast the debauched youth culture of New York City. I am the first one to loathe a ranty teenager. Spencer freshly presses the foolish arrogance of teenage years, and spins it in into various incarnations to give us truly memorable characters. His story examines the alarming, entertaining and sometimes intertwining roles that each of them play in the greatest city on Earth.
In only five issues, Forgetless does what I think comics can do best: act as a social commentary. Models aspire to appear on the cover of Vogue and work as killers for hire on the side, all whilst tweeting vagaries of said hit jobs. You see that perception is everything, and apathy rules the day in the world of social networking. Meanwhile, all three South Jersey teens can think of is getting to a party in the city. It’s the only thing that matters. And one young man gets hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube … by fucking a building, the Empire State Building. It’s an ode to the idiocy and freedom of being a teenager and a poignant example of the Age of Celebrity, as it explicitly illustrates the narcissism consuming our youth culture.
Forgetless is not for the faint of heart. Gratuitous language, Pulp Fiction-style pacing, and NC-17 antics from people not yet 17 years old may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But, if you revel in cynicism, laugh at dark humor, and live for smart references, then I invite you to the biggest party in New York City. Wickedly smart writing, beautiful art, and unforgettable characters make Forgetless stand apart from a sea of books. It is a brilliant addition to any library.
Vanessa Gabriel is a co-founder of girls-gone-geek.com and a member of the Best Shots team.