Forward is a slice-of-life sci-fi comic set in the distant future of our own world. It seems to be a perfect utopia, or at least as close to perfect as we could conceivably get.
We follow our protagonist Lee, an introverted shut-in who spends most of their time watching martian anime because after somehow colonizing mars the most notable thing would be their cartoons.
Lee struggles with their depression as well as their lack of communication with any other actual people until finally, at the behest of their psychologist, posts an ad online for companionship. Unfortunately “companionship” is quickly misinterpreted as our next character, an android named Zoa shows up offering rather lewd services. Soon it evolves from two strangers discussing mistakes to a deep psychological debate on what would be better, staying indoors, or going out and making something of your life.
The premise of the comic is interesting once you’re fairly into the dialogues, but if you were just given this comic, opened it up to page one and saw this, I highly doubt you’d expect it to be much of anything. Thankfully we don’t have to see too much of these odd martian cartoons before we get into the real meat of things.
Comic readers beware, a lot of Forward is extremely dialogue heavy, with walls of text happening pretty frequently. Of course, I don’t think it’s a bad thing since most of the comic so far has taken place in a single apartment much of the exposition and world building has to come from the characters themselves, but I’m also aware that sometimes walls of text are a deterrent to other readers. Personally, I have enjoyed the debates between characters in this comic, so much so that I often forgot how much time I was spending on a single page reading. Many interesting points are raised, and plenty of perspectives are given between each one, although I have to give another warning as the juxtaposition of all this debating is that Zoa and Lee also talk about sexual situations as well as sex work. While there isn’t ever any actual nudity in the comic, the creator does say that the comic is intended for an adultish audience. I know some people get uncomfortable regarding this kind of thing so, just a fair warning is all.
The art style is very soft if I had to put it in a word. While not the most realistic style you’ll find it has a sort of cartoony charm. I’d tell you what it reminds me of, but at the time of writing this, I honestly can’t put my finger on what it is. Since we’ve been staying in Lee’s apartment there hasn’t been much in the way of backgrounds but the expression Zoa and Lee make and their interactions with one another are so fun to see and read.
Hopefully we get more in the way of set pieces, and hopefully we get more characters as the story unfolds, but for now, things are at a satisfying equilibrium in Forward. Plenty of character development, lots of world building even if it is in the form of mass info dumping, wonderful art with the characters having some top-notch expressions. I honestly can’t wait for more. Give it a read, and let me know what you think.
And, as always, I hope you enjoy as much as I do.