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Forgetless #3

Posted: Monday, March 1, 2010
By: Danny Djeljosevic

Nick Spencer
Scott Forbes; Marley Zarcone, Johnny Lowe (l)
Image Comics
EDITOR's NOTE: Forgetless #3 will be in stores March 3rd.

I suppose, then, that Daniel Clowes is in decline.

In the wake of books like Phonogram, Scott Pilgrim, and Forgetless, I think it’s safe to say we’re approaching some sort of comic book Enlightenment where creators are starting to realize that nobody wants to read any more about cartoonists who disguise their self-loathing as superiority (or vice versa). No, now our indie heroes will be likable and sexy and our comics will be danceable. May the Cool reign forever.

Forgetless continues to feature two parallel story arcs: One featuring a pair of assassin/models taking down a target on the eponymous club’s last night; the other depicting a teenaged trio’s odyssey to sneak in before the hipster establishment closes forever.

Just as I was beginning to write off the hitmodel A-plot in Forgetless as some post-Tarantino affectation, Spencer decides in this third issue to write an origin story that makes Sara’s seemingly thoughtless killing cause for concern as opposed to just another facet of a hitwoman’s life. You know you’re doing something wrong when your employers think you’re being a bit too thorough in your contract killings.

This high concept and ludicrous/awesome premise is balanced out by the more slice-of-life teenagers B-plot. While the A-plot is all about killing and deep-seated issues, the B-plot is just about some kids trying to get into a club. Here, Spencer perfectly captures that teenaged feeling where the slightest unexpected run-in can ruin a night, where your rival getting into a school instead of you is the most important thing in the world even though you’re only, like, 17 and you still have an entire life to succeed or fail.

Which isn’t to say that Forgetless is angsty and, forgive me for this, emo. Part of the book’s charm is its sense of humor. For one thing, the big concern of the A-plot is that the sarcastic, snarky Sara has shot a guy in a koala costume. And you can’t take the teenaged Darla seriously when she’s wearing that pink Russian fur cap.

The art ain’t too bad to look at, either. Scott Forbes’ obviously computer-assisted (like that’s even a problem nowadays) sections show an amazing handle on lighting and shadows that give the art a sense of realism even when his figures occasionally fall short. His facial expressions are uniformly effective, probably because he has a tendency to give his characters big expressive eyes.

Marley Zarcone opts for less lighting and a more muted color palette (save for that wonderful fur cap) in drawing the B-plot. Her art style looks to be some hybrid of Becky Cloonan and Paul Pope, which makes me genetically inclined to like it.

Both artists pay great attention to costume design, which makes me want to stand up and cheer after a decade of comics where characters either wear generic clothing or some one draws a girl in a belly shirt, an article of clothing no self-respecting woman has worn since the ‘90s. Rather, Forbes and Zarcone draw clothing on characters, even background characters, that real human beings might actually wear.

Shame that the exciting, supercool Forgetless is only a mini-series, because I really want the book to be an ongoing that just keeps doing different story arcs centered on the club. Forever and ever. I want Forgetless to exist in the year 243X where DJs have been replaced with robots that kill clubbers with lasers that give their targets one unbearable moment of ecstasy before sending them into the overwhelming abyss of death. Did I mention that Forgetless will be a spaceship?

Until the next issue of Forgetless, we’ll just have to dance.



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