The high concept nature of Top Cow’s Pilot Season program sometimes leads to issues that don’t get the chance to show what they can do. “Forever” #1 has such a general and well-worn hook, a corporation that offers immortality apparently at the expense of someone else’s life, that it needs to not only establish it but also demonstrate what makes this take different from every previous one. Unfortunately, this issue doesn’t do that, presenting the clichéd plot with very little new or interesting that would warrant a second issue.
Ryan Chambers works for Longevity, the corporation responsible for a serum that can extend a person’s life. During the course of the issue, various threads connect to suggest that he and the other orphans from the orphanage where he grew up are somehow related to Longevity’s drug with several of them dying. Kane is even accosted by a man named Kane, who pontificates about the truth regarding Longevity. It’s all been done before and the presentation here doesn’t inspire confidence in the future.
Ryan is a fairly blank slate character with few characteristics that stand out. He’s kind, remains close with his fellow orphans, has a rich girlfriend, and not much else. He’s the basic POV character; the standard ‘living a normal life until the truth is revealed’ type. Perhaps if the truth that Longevity’s life extending formula somehow comes from the premature death of an innocent person, Ryan’s experience with Kane wouldn’t look quite so well worn. That Ryan is so easily swayed speaks to the tediousness of the comic. It’s obvious and can be seen coming a mile away. One look at the cover and you can practically write the entire issue without much effort.
Thomas Nachlik’s art is reminiscent of Alex Maleev’s, with the same photorealist style. He strays from his references enough to make it interesting with rougher line work. But, while the specific details of characters’ faces don’t look copied from a picture, their body language and posing had the trademark stiffness of that style. His characters don’t look like they’re actually alive and breathing. Sometimes, that works to Nachlik’s benefit, like on the opening page, where he wants static, focused images. Those times are rare, though.
Pilot Season books tend to go for high concepts and twists on the familiar. “Forever” doesn’t deliver a twist, it just delivers the familiar and does so without anything new or interesting. Definitely the most disappointing and forgettable first issue of this Pilot Season.