Writer: Erica Schultz
Artist: Marika Cresta
Publisher: Vices Press
WHAT IS IT?
A modern-day detective mystery with a magical, fantasy-inspired twist.
Imagine a missing-persons detective-mystery, like Broadchurch or The Killing, but with an otherworldy, fantastical element, like The Talisman.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Deputy Lorraine Adalet is a good cop. She gets called in to investigate a series of disappearances. There's been a string of missing children in the area.
Adalet also has powers. Magical ones. But most people don't know that.
Lorraine's also a mom, and her daughter has powers, too. She and her daughter don't seem to get along super well, but what do you expect between a mom and her teenage daughter?
It probably isn't helping that Lorraine is taking her daughter and moving to a new town in just a few days. But can she solve this mystery before she leaves town? Since it looks like she might be the only one who can, well...she's going to have to!
First off, the cover lists the whole team, which you don't see very often. I love when colorists and letterers get the credit they've earned. The credits page also lists the cover artist (Natasha Alterici), logo designer (Kevin Maher), and the wardrobe designer (Yissel Ayala), which is nice to see. Plus, creator spotlights in the back of each issue make sure the entire creative team gets attention, not just the writer and artist, who typically get the most attention in today's media.
There's a TON of information to convey in a relatively short amount of time (in order to keep the story's momentum), and Schultz sets it all up immediately: a missing kid, possibly connected to a string of missing kids, and a mystery as to who he was meeting and how he got there. Then, it throws supernatural powers at you, and you feel that hook set. You know this is going to be a fresh, new take on the genre, and you can’t wait to see what happens next.
Schultz also sets up our hero quickly: who she is, what she cares about, what she can do, and what her past is. The latter two are things we'll find out more about as the book goes on, but that's just part of the hook, little mysteries that draw you in.
Honestly, overall, the sheer amount of information conveyed while keeping things interesting is truly impressive, and it gets the ball rolling in a big way right off the bat.
Schultz writes Adalet's teenage daughter well in that she doesn't necessarily make her likable, but what teenager is likable? She's irresponsible, she only thinks of herself, and maybe her friends. That is authentic writing of teens. And it builds tension!
Speaking of building tension, the dual narratives as mirror images toward the end of the first issue, or Adalet finding out key information in the case as her daughter gets herself into trouble is such a fantastic way to build that tension. Schultz shows she is a pro at holding you in suspense, from her use of page turns to the anxiety you get when you see characters making dangerous choices.
Though her line art is crisp and clean, Marika Cresta is able to capture dirt and grit and detail well, even in small things like the shaded pattern of an overturned garbage bin.
Matt Emmons's color palette is on the darker, flatter side, which works hard to show this world's mundanity.
Letterer Cardinal Rae gets to have some fun, too. One balloon with fading text was an especially nice touch.
The team gets a lot of mileage out of Kevin Maher's logo design. We see it in multiple places on covers, on characters, and letterer Cardinal Rae even uses it in captions to signify internal monologues coming from our protagonist.
I don't see an editor credited, but there's an editor note explaining "GSRs" at one point, and it was a helpful way for Adelet to stay in character, sounding like a pro detective, while making sure the audience knows what she's talking about.
This is a comic written and illustrated by women, and starring women as the central characters. Sadly, that's not something we can say often in this industry. Plus, it's a highly enjoyable, polished read. I could list several more things I liked about this comic, but suffice to say, I highly recommend FORGOTTEN HOME to fans of detective mysteries and fantasy alike!
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
It's no Bendis comic, but pages can get pretty text-heavy between captions and dialogue. For example, one especially busy page in the second issue makes the letterer struggle a bit to make everything fit and flow well. Still, more captions and dialogue are to be expected for a detective story, and I think it helps us warm to our hero and educate us on everything we need to know.
Though the protagonist is the mother of a teenager, the comic itself reads very "YA" so far. I'm kind of into that sort of thing, but if you're not, it may not be the best comic for you.
For a book with a costume designer and royal characters, I expected some of the wardrobe or character designs to be more ornate. However, I get that's a tall order for comic book deadlines.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
There are a lot of detective mysteries out there, and so the best ones are those that break away from the typical beats and genre trappings with a new twist.
Forgotten Home promises new twists every other page turn and delivers on those promises. Our hero and viewpoint character is a mother and a veteran, but there's also a strong YA feeling to the story, too, ensuring a comic that works for multiple audiences.
But honestly, I think you'll find that once you start reading Forgotten Home, you won't be able to put it down. Between the hooks and cliffhangers, the compelling storytelling and the true-to-life yet fantastical art, each and every issue will have you hooked and dying for more!
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Twelve Devils Dancing, Vol. 1 by Erica Schultz & Dave Acosta
Spencer and Locke, Vol. 1 by David Pepose & Jorge Santiago, Jr.
Criminal by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips
If you like the art:
Power Pack #63 by Devin Grayson & Marika Cresta
KINO by Alex Paknadel & Diego Galindo
Queen by Jaime Me & Bernard Gita
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Erica Schultz – Writer, Creator
Multitalented: Also offers editing, script reviews, script doctoring/revisions services
It makes sense Forgotten Home is so well written; Schultz is a writing instructor at The Kubert School!
She's also a lettering instructor for ComicsExperience.com. She knows about making comics, y'all!
Marika Cresta – Artist
Does not have a robust online presence, so details are hard to track down
Matt Emmons – Colorist
Multitalented: Outside of colorwork, he also does work as an illustrator, writer, & inker
Enjoys drawing monsters & robots
Cardinal Rae – Letterer
Dream Team: Also worked with Erica Schultz on multiple titles
Kevin Maher – Logo Designer
Dream Team: Also worked with Erica Schultz on Twelve Devils Dancing
Multitalented: Does illustration work, too, which has a very humorous, cartoonish style
Prefers working in colored pencil
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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