Review by Frank Plowright
Forgetless is an aspiration, the one club that every white, middle class suburban mall rat in the New York area considers the epitome of cool, the magnet of glamour for the bored and the restless. On the club’s final night aspirant model Sonia is about to be inducted into the career that’s proved so fruitful for her flatmate Sara, which means life is about to take a turn for the worse for Derrick, host of surprise hit web streams I’m Gonna Fuck It. Further complications are a sex-addicted TV chat show host and a reformed gay. The only man he now needs is Jesus. Yes, this is that oh so rare genre of 21st century restoration comedy. Everyone’s an idiot, everyone’s drawn in broad, exaggerated strokes, and if there’s a way to complicate a situation by acting true to type then they’ll dive in with their boots on.
The problem with writing a series about soul-less cynical teens is that the appeal of the series is instantly limited. Nick Spencer’s intent is satirical, but he’ll have lost many readers over 25 with a series of hollow tweets and self-absorbed dialogue spread across the opening pages. It is indicative, however, of a talent for smart-mouthed naturalism in the Tarantino style that Spencer would later refine more successfully. Beyond that, the use of two artists to illustrate separate strands of the story is certainly viable, but the wildly contrasting illustration styles are a bizarre editorial choice. W. Scott Forbes and Jorge Coelho are both decent, if at this stage developing, artists, but the clash between sparse pseudo-realism and dense cartooning further serves to alienate. Some might also object to the narrative flashing back and forward through time, but Spencer signals this well and there should be no confusion.
The collection also features a second story set in the club’s heyday, as confident and resourceful teen Darla sets about scamming herself and her mates inside. She’s also smug and irritating, but Marley Zacone’s art is wonderful; delicate, distinctive and captivating.
Forgetless was relatively early in the careers of most involved, and it’s no surprise they’ve all developed since. It’s hardly essential, but it’s diverting, although those of prudish disposition should stay well away.