The first word that comes to mind to describe the graphics in Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits is “lush.” The comic begins by telling us that it’s believed in Mexico that a person doesn’t truly die until they are forgotten by their families, and that the Day of the Dead festival is a remembrance tradition to make sure this doesn’t happen. We’re then immersed in a world of bright colors juxtaposed with many shadows, the better to show that the difference between living and dead isn’t as easy to spot as one might think. Nena, who appears in one panel as a young woman and in the next a little girl, is being pursued by Bastian. She has apparently agreed to take him to a secret place, for some reason of her own—one that will probably not have good results for the young man from the look of things. I’ll stop there because I don’t want to spoil the story for you.
I absolutely loved the artwork in this book, which reminded me of an excellently animated film and really immerses the reader in a world of magical realism. You quickly get the impression that anything can and will happen here on the Day of the Dead. I wasn’t quite sure where the story is going (you get more information about the storyline in the text on the first and last page of the comic than you do in the rest of the book combined), but part one (out of four, we’re told) left me wanting to know more about Nena, her plans, and what they might mean for Bastian. I give it 4 out of 5 Lightning Bolts, and I’m looking forward to the next issue.
Nenetl of the Forgotten Spirits #1 (ComiXology link live as of April 9th)
Written by Vera Greentea
Drawn by Laura Müller
Lettering by Frank Cvetkovic