The GeeksverseLeaving Proof 119 | Forgetless TPB review

Leaving Proof 119 | Forgetless TPB review
Published on Friday, May 18, 2012 by

Forgetless features models who work as part-time assassins, a sex-addict in a koala costume, a guy whose claim to Youtube fame involves having sex with the Empire State Building, and three high school kids desperate for fake IDs. Find out if Nick Spencer and company can make the whole thing work in the Leaving Proof review.

Key Review Points

Pros:

  • Hilarious, entertaining, unadulterated dialogue.
  • Artists employ diverse styles, but not at the cost of coherence, clarity, or technical soundness.
  • Creative storytelling devices used to good effect.

Cons:

  • None of note.

Publication Details

  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Publication Date: May 2012 (second printing)
  • Written by: Nick Spencer
  • Line art by: W. Scott Forbes (Live to See Last Call), Jorge Coelho (Live to See Last Call), Marley Zarcone (Contributing to the Delinquency of Minors)
  • Colour art by: W. Scott Forbes (Live to See Last Call), Eric Skillman (Live to See Last Call), Marley Zarcone (Contributing to the Delinquency of Minors)
  • Collection Cover by: W. Scott Forbes
  • Lettering by: Johnny Lowe
  • Format: 128-page full-colour trade paperback; collects Forgetless #1–5, originally published in single magazine format by Image Comics in 2009 and 2010.
  • List Price: $14.99 US (digital review copy provided free-of-charge by the publisher)
  • Availability: On sale now

Cover and Interior Page Previews (Click to view in larger size)

  

  

Full Review

The Forgetless trade paperback comprises two separate stories told over the course of five chapters, linked together by their connection to the eponymous club party (“the biggest party in New York”). The first story, Live to See Last Call, revolves around roommates Sara and Sonia, struggling models who have somehow found themselves in the position of being hired as professional killers. Their mission: To track down and kill an alleged rapist at the Forgetless party. Things aren’t nearly what they seem however, and the accomplishment of their objective is further complicated by encounters with a hypnotist and a sex addict in a koala suit.

Writer Nick Spencer employs some interesting storytelling tricks in Live to See Last Call, some readers are likely to be familiar with from film and from other comics, some relatively unique to the title and the comics format. Live to See Last Call starts in medias res, and the exposition is primarily accomplished through flashbacks. Despite all the jumping back-and-forth Spencer does with the narrative’s timeline, the story never comes off as confusing nor do the flashbacks seem needless. Part of this is due to the rather straightforward set-up of the main plot, but credit must also be given to how Spencer and Live to See Last Call artists W. Scott Forbes and Jorge Coelho handle the presentation and storytelling. Spencer also uses “tweets” from the characters to add context to character interactions and dialogue, a technique somewhat reminiscent of the “info scrolls” used by writer Joe Casey in 2005’s The Intimates. In a way, these devices are really just a particularly stylized form of the text panel, but the way they are used, as vehicles for exposition and characterization layered on top of the actual conversation occurring in real-time, adds depth without overwhelming the reader with too much textual clutter or introducing the omniscient narrator.

The second story in the book is entitled Contributing to the Delinquency of Minors, about the quest of three high school students to get fake IDs so they can enter the Forgetless party. The star of the trio is Darla Danberry, a smart-mouthed, fast-talking teenager who dreams of leaving the drudgery of small-town South Jersey for the sophistication and big parties of New York. Readers familiar with the 1999 comedy Go will find some loose parallels with Contributing to the Delinquency of Minors, especially with how its story eventually intersects with that of Live to See Last Call, and Spencer’s story carries the same charm and frenetic energy associated with the influential Doug Liman production.

Both stories feature a hilarious, entertaining, and unadulterated script. Darla Danberry’s precocious dialogue borders on the terribly contrived (Spencer seems to notice this; in one sequence, a character refers to Darla as “Juno”) but the character is grounded and insecure enough that reader annoyance will likely give way to endearment with time.

The book’s three illustrators employ diverse styles, but not at the cost of coherence, clarity, or technical soundness. Jorge Coelho, who does the flashback sequences in Live to See Last Call, brings a strong, underground comix sensibility to the book that contrasts well with the more contemporary-looking work of W. Scott Forbes. Marley Zarcone’s art on Contributing to the Delinquency of Minors is solid stuff. All three artists show a great ability for conveying emotion through facial expressions and posture, a vitally important skill in comics illustration which is all the more crucial in comics that prominently feature conversation scenes.

One unfortunate side-effect of the modern drive to raise comics’ profile from the depths of low art is that there is a tendency for critics and fans alike to equate “good comics” with “serious comics”. Drama, satire, and action-heavy comics carry critical cachet that more explicitly fun and buoyant fare are rarely afforded. Forgetless leans ostensibly towards the more comedic end of the modern comics spectrum, but that doesn’t mean it’s casual, frivolous, bowdlerized fluff. A comic book that is thoroughly entertaining from cover-to-cover is just as important to the art form as a comic book that says Something Important, and the former is exactly what Forgetless is. Highly recommended.

Discuss this article below or contact the author via e-mail
One Response
    • My first thought is “Joss Whedon’s Doll House.” After reading about Nick Spencer’s book it doesn’t quite sound like it is as much fun. It does sound like an interesting sleeper spy story. Serious comics can be fun too. 

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