Menton 3. First and foremost, every time I see his name, secretly I think to myself, “Menton, the fresh maker.”
It’s an eclectic name for an artist, but one that’s fitting as his very style is eclectic, a mix of paint and graphic design, with common elements in his images of white eyes and fetish models. So, when I noticed he had a comic series out he also wrote (a little late, I might add, as this is the last issue in the series), I wasn’t shocked to find it was about fetish models, some of which have white eyes.
Let’s put on our fierce faces, and walk out onto the catwalk known as life, in Memory Collectors #3.
Memory Collectors #3 (IDW Publishing)
Before I begin this review, I’d like to talk about 44Flood. No matter what my thoughts are on this series, the artist collective known as 44Flood is an entity which enthralls me, and is a wonderful new creation. Consisting of Ben Templesmith (my favorite artist), Menton 3, Kasra Ghanbari, and Nick Idell, this collective is a powerhouse of awesome artistic power. It sounds like the comic artist equivalent of one of those supergroups that forms when members of other fanstastic bands decide get together and form a giant behemoth of musical power. The one I think of off the top of my noggin’ is Them Crooked Vultures, consisting of John Paul Jones of Led Zepplin, Queens of the Stone Age vocalist and guitarist Josh Homme, and Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters/Nirvana fame, who plays drums for the band. 44Flood has a lot of promise, and they’ve already got a few projects off the ground thanks to Kickstarter. I happened to snag a hardcover known as Lust, written by Steve Niles with art by Ben Templesmith and Menton 3, which is really cool. It’s essentially an art book, with a plot thrown into the mix via Steve Niles. So, long paragraph short, go check out 44Flood. (Squidder!)
Memory Collectors is about three fetish models who are recruited to fight entities known as Memory Collectors. These entities feed off of the memories of humans, as they are no longer able to feel anything, and get the same kinds of rushes and extreme lows we as human beings with feelings and most importantly memories attached to those feelings, get. Think The Matrix except instead of robots they fight evil memory stealing entities, and also they are all hot goth latex models. So, really, The Matrix minus the dudes and the robots.
As much as it pains me to say this, Memory Collectors was very confusing, seemed quite rushed, and was a frustrating series to get through. I have a great admiration for artists with the balls to also write their comics as well, but with this double duty comes definite issues if you don’t have the same strengths as a writer as you do as an artist. Menton 3 is an average to below average writer. It takes one to know one. Yet, this series has whole pages of text, sometimes multiple pages, without the aid of visuals to mask the lack of written prowess.
I’m sorry to say, Menton 3 doesn’t have the power as a writer to pull off these long blocks of text without the aid of his visuals. He’s fine with dialogue, save for a line or two that seems really stolid, but those long chunks of exposition…good gravy. A lot of it reads like someone who speaks English as a second language. I do have one theory that makes the amateur writing style work, though. If this is all the main character’s (Edith’s) writing, since she is not a writer, then this works. Except that flies out the window when you realize the dialogue reads the same way from other character, and Edith isn’t writing what they say, is she?
So, now we come to the art. It’s the saving grace of this muddled hodgepodge of words. Menton 3’s images are evocative, dark, sexual, atmospheric, and above all, multilayered. I’ve always been a big fan of pictures with a lot going on both in the foreground and the background, and Menton 3 delivers this in spades. His panels have an ethereal quality to them, which almost entirely makes up for the fact that by the end of this issue, I still had no idea what the fuck was going on.
There is a poignant short tale after the events of issue #3, written by Jason Mote with art by Christopher Mitten. It deals with a boy dying of cancer at age 7 who makes a deal with a memory collector so that he may live. The deal he strikes is the memory collector can get whatever he wants once the boy turns 70. It’s a really sad take on the whole memory collector mythology which involves Alzheimer’s.
Is It Good?
Torn is the right word. I’m torn, because it’s a cool comic, and I love Menton 3 as an artist. However, I can’t help but feel like this series would have benefited from, at the very least, a writer to assist on the project. If you’re a fan of M3’s art, you’ll enjoy it. Hell, it’s worth the price just to stare at the pretty pictures. But if you’re looking for a plot you can follow, especially if this will be the first issue you pick up, fucking forget it. I could barely follow it, and I just read all three of them in a row.
Sometimes when we want to support an artist we really love, we sugar coat things, and lie about our feelings. I just don’t have it in me to do this. I wish I did, because it’d make my life a lot easier. Menton 3 has become one of my favorite artists, yet I’m tasked by my conscience to tell it like it is. Memory Collectors is incredibly disjointed, and it reads like a writer who I suspected hasn’t had a ton of practice with the craft. If he’s going to continue to write more comics, Menton needs a bit more practice, or perhaps a little help from a more seasoned comic book writer.