Read Only Memories Issue #1 Review PART 1

Comic: Read Only Memories Issue #1
Genre: Comic Book, Cyberpunk, Adventure
System: N/A
Developer/Publisher: MidBoss |IDW Publishing
Age Rating: PEGI 16 (2064 Read Only Memories: INTEGRAL)
Price: $5.99 USD
Release Date: 12/17/2019

Review code used, with many thanks!


So, I decided it would be fun to do this review in two parts.

When I got offered this to review I got an email with the game and the comic attached. Of course, as a gaming website, I originally thought I would be writing the review for the game. But when I looked into it, I noticed that said game – 2026: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL – actually came out on July 28th of 2018.

I then thought to myself, “It seems quite unlikely that I’d be reviewing a game that’s already over a year old.”

That’s when it truly hit me, I was about to pre-read and review an upcoming comic book!

Talk about achieving a dream from my childhood! How cool! I honestly felt like I was one of the neatest people walking along the surface of this planet in that moment.

So, to make my original statement, I want to do this review in two parts. This first part of the review will be my thoughts and feelings just regarding the comic book.

I will be coming at it with the eyes of someone who might never play the game (as I haven’t played the first game yet), and I can give opinions on just the comic as a stand-alone story.

Then I will play the game – and I love visual novels so I have been excited to play it for a while – and give a review of both the game and how it may change or enhance the reading of the comic book!

Fun times!

Let’s set the scene first!

Here’s what publisher IDW tells us about the comic book:

“Return to the colorful cyberpunk future of Read Only Memories in a brand new story involving sentient AI, love and a web of conspiracy. Taking place in the years between 2064: Read Only
Memories and Read Only Memories: Neurodiver, the next upcoming mystery adventure game in
the Read Only Memories universe.

Each issue of the adventure will feature full-color illustrations by Stefano Simeone, who has also
worked with Dark Horse, Boom! Studios and The Walt Disney Company on properties including
Star Wars. The story will be woven by the prolific Sina Grace, a veteran who has written for
comic series including Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men and Iceman.”

But, back to the review!

The Year Is 2067

It is “Santa Cruz, California… and around here it’s all about having the right perspective for the  job.”

Comic books are such an interesting, fun, and unique storytelling art form.

When Read Only Memories Issue #1 starts, we are quickly introduced to the main character while she is on a “job” (she is a private, for-hire, investigator). We’re not given her name yet, we are only privy to her thoughts and brief flashes of her memories.

We immediately know that she is an intelligent, strong, capable woman who is good at her job. For this, I instantly loved her (and her writers/creators).

It has a really fantastic futuristic-film-noir vibe; and the writing easily eases us into this world where there is extreme economic disparity, and robots exist and have sentience. The little remarks the characters make easily lead us into an “us versus them” situation where there is a dislike among certain people towards robots. Robot-ism – I suppose you would say – is rampant.

And The Artwork Is Shady

…But not shady in a bad way! No no, indeed the artwork is quite appealing! Everything is a shade of blue or pink. I honestly didn’t even really notice it until I went back for a re-read, and I focused more on other things than the writing and story.

I think it is a good play on the film-noir genre. Rather than black and white, you have the infinite amount of shades – blue for things dark, and pink for things that are light. The more pink in the background, you can assume that it is daytime; and when there’s a predominance of blue, your brain knows it is dark.

Comics just prove how cool our brains are; for being able to recognize these things unconsciously even though we are not walking around in a world that’s filled with only blue and pink, our brains can still interpret that and make it make sense.

So interesting.

The Story Is Intriguing

I don’t like to post spoilers, so I won’t. I am not sure if I really could either…

Like I said, our main character is a private detective in a futuristic world. We initially see her working and completing a job, and then a character appears to ask her for help in finding a lost lover.

So simple, and yet so much is going on in the little details that you really have to read it for yourself, and I would recommend you do.

The comic ends on a cliffhanger, obviously as comics tend to do, because there will be more issues.

There is a cute little pixelated extra story at the end where the artwork is reminiscent of the video game visual novel.

Strong Female Characters And Representation

So I have been reading some books, and literally stumbling upon random podcast episodes about rape-culture and the oppression of women.

“Oh dearie me!” you think to yourself, “Am I about to get a lecture in feminism or something?”

Here’s my point: in the book and podcast, they talk a lot about language and how it has been used for forever to oppress and make women out to be lesser creatures.

Something said that really struck home for me is that there are tonnes of slang words in the English language that mean “strong/powerful man” (stud, buck, etc.), but absolutely zero that mean “strong woman”. The only slang related to women relate to their appearance or sexuality.

And just that alone – don’t even get me started on all the other issues women face on a daily basis – makes me want to puke my pants.

So, when I see a strong female LGBTQ+ character strolling around a comic book like it’s absolutely normal. No one is calling her strength or choices into question. I look at that and think “YES YES YES!” Representation is important; it’s so important for EVERYONE from EVERY group and walk of life to see themselves represented in art.

And I hate that I have to actually have to draw attention to it. I wish we already lived in a world where seeing these things was so much the norm that no one says anything or calls it into question, we simply enjoy the character and the story for what and who it/they is/are.

Whew! *Deep breath*

Final Verdict

It’s the first issue of what is promising to be an excellent little futuristic film noir story.

It is, as most comics are, short sweet and affordable. It says $5.99 on the cover of the comic itself, and I can only assume that that is in U.S. dollars, so I’m sure if you’re an awesome Canadian like me, you might be paying a little bit more; which is still such a ridiculous thing to me.

Economics, amirite?

Anyway, I would recommend reading this. And I would recommend buying it as a stocking stuffer for someone this Xmas, especially if you want your little girl to see a positive representation of a strong, powerful woman!

Final Verdict: I love it!

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