Comic Review: Read Only Memories (IDW Publishing)

IDW’s four-issue comic mini-series title Read Only Memories, based on the hit game “2064: Read Only Memories”, has been collected in a trade edition, now available. It’s the year 2067. […]

IDW’s four-issue comic mini-series title Read Only Memories, based on the hit game “2064: Read Only Memories”, has been collected in a trade edition, now available.

It’s the year 2067. Lexi Rivers, a former detective with the Neo-San Francisco Police Department has opened her own agency in nearby Santa Cruz, California. It may be a ‘beach town’, but Lexi has bigger fish to fry: she is all about making a buck.

Her clients are wealthy, so she is circulating among the upper crust of income and privilege. But when she takes on a new client, a robot who is reporting that its human boyfriend is missing, Lexi starts down a dangerous road.

Sina Grace (Infinity Wars, Go-Go Power Rangers, The Walking Dead, etc) writes an incredible tale, where Lexi the female private eye comes ‘eye-to-eye’ with cyberpunk sensibility in a big big way. The continual surveillance, the constant threat of gang violence, the tit-for-tat of trade deals, and the rat-a-tat of weapons. It’s all wrapped up in amazing futuristic vistas, big city environments à la Blade Runner, and Escape From LA.

The dialogue is intense and immediately relatable. We get the scenes, we get the characters and their pirouettes and pivots. The insincerity, the masked distain, the social interplay. It’s wonderfully engaging.

Italian artist Stefano Simeone’s (Boom! Studios, Disney, Pixar, Dark Horse, Sergio Bonelli editor, etc) artwork is simply top-notch. Simeone pours out the flowing figures in their hairstyles and wardrobes, emphasizes the inquisitive features, animates the robots who morph and attack, and illuminates the seamlessly metal punk city that bleeds its humans. The colouring wavers in a frequency between red and blue (perhaps magenta and cyan), but this never seems limiting. It’s a credit to Simeone’s facility with rendering and shaping via line and colour.

The story starts slowly and perhaps the first chapter is irrelevant to the big picture, a minor adventure unconnected to the overall arc. But it all makes for amazing reading.

There are a few short ‘flash style’ microstories included in the trade, written by Mary Kenney and Caleb Goellner, illustrated in ragged bitmap style by Christina-Antoinette-Neofotistou, from Greece. Her deceptively simple rendering and colouring style are a strange accompaniment to the fluidly futuristic work of Stefano Simeone. Her cover graphic is not as powerful a selling image as could have been harvested from other story pages.

Nonetheless, this trade is worth picking up, its main story is simply astounding!

IDW Read Only Memories, trade edition, $17.99 for 116 pages.

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!