[No] thanks to the shitty side of adulting, I spent the last week and a half embroiled in broken car drama, which is why this review is so late; my apologies. But, late or no, I would feel that much more irresponsible not sharing my feelings about Black Mask’s new series The Forevers, not just because the guys asked me to review it, but because it is more than worth your time.
The premise: A group of friends make a pact with some potentially ominous supernatural forces to facilitate their dreams of fame and fortune the “easy” way. A flash forward ten years finds them all having surpassed the height of in their respective fields…and finding that such success comes with a steep cost. One has disappeared under mysterious circumstances (à la Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey James Edwards–who is quoted at the end of this inaugural issue–still missing since his 1995 disappearance and since declared legally dead. I remember getting Select magazines with the occasional “WHERE’S RICHEY?” emblazoned across the front back in the day); others grapple with addiction and the overall navigation of the decadent, excessive world of stardom. Unfortunately for all of them, a mysterious, murderous someone is about to collect on their black magic debt.
In a society where YouTube can literally make you a star, the “What price fame?” morality tale is more relevant than ever, but writer Curt Pires has cleverly underscored his with a supernatural/occult element to further explore the lengths people will go to (or depths to which they’d sink) for adulation in all the ways Rosemary’s Baby just barely touched upon (because Rosemary was really about what an extreme, narcissistic piece of shit you’d have to be to let Satan date-rape AND impregnate your wife in exchange for a successful acting career). This first issue does feel like something of a prologue, sort of laying the groundwork for the implicit chaos to come, as its leg of the story just barely touches upon the sci-fi/fantasy element and is more character-driven and straightforward. Darkly humorous dialogue helps to set the perfect tone of tabloid Hollywood glamour and excess. But momentum is still successfully built despite so much setup, culminating in an ending that both satisfies and helps propel the story forward.
Have I mentioned that the art of Eric Scott Pfeiffer is unbelievably gorgeous? Brushstrokes and painterly touches paired with occasional touches of soft focus bring this book to life. I mean it: the art has a vibrant, electric quality to it that almost seems animated, as if you’re watching it on film instead of reading. The real stroke of genius, though, is how many of the “famous” characters bear a physical resemblance to real-life actors/models/musicians: Kate Moss, Damon Albarn (I suspect Pires must have been a Select magazine reader too, with all these 1995 Britpop references), Idris Elba, Leonardo DiCaprio. It’s a thoughtful choice, as if Pfeiffer went the extra mile for verisimilitude to drive home their celebrity, to make the Forevers universe come that much more alive for the reader.
A visually sumptuous indictment of fame, ambition and desire, The Forevers is a winner on all counts; I do hope the next issue exercises just a little more reckless abandon and kicks things into overdrive on the black magic tip, but things are certainly off to a stellar start.