Can robots fall in love?
Story: Sina Grace & Mary Kenney
Art: Stefano Simeone, Christina-Antoinette Neofotistou
Letters: Christa Miesner
Designs: Christa Miesner
What They Say:
Following the events of the first game and leading into upcoming sequel Read Only Memories: NEURODIVER, series mainstay Lexi Rivers has turned private investigator and is building a reputation for cracking cases in Santa Cruz. As newly-sentient AIs struggle to find a place in society, a seemingly simple case of tracking down a robot’s missing human lover quickly embroils Lexi in the power struggles of the divided California beach town.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Lexi Rivers is a private investigator that solves cases in the California beach town of Santa Cruz. At the beginning of the story, she’s on a case to determine if her client’s wife is being unfaithful. She poses as a newspaper reporter and conducts an interview with the wife. It’s clear that she’s pretty decent at her job. Good acting and being able to read a room are important skills to have in order to be a good detective. Lexi possesses both. She uses her charming personality and quick wits to get the information she needs. Eventually, it’s clear to Lexi that the wife isn’t cheating at all. She’s just a narcissist, haha.
I just want to mention that I’m a big fan of Lexi. Her personality shines brilliantly throughout the entire issue. I love the commentary when she’s sharing her thoughts. She’s a fun character! As she’s walking back home after the case, we learn a few things about the city. The major one being that there’s a big social divide. The Hill is where all the wealthy people live and the Ground is where the less fortunate reside. Lexi admits that it’d be nice to live in The Hill but the cost of living is just so ridiculous there. Also, she feels more comfortable in the Ground. And hey, it’s always good to not be familiar with the people up there. She can’t be too recognizable or it’d interfere with her work.
Guess what though? She was actually recognized earlier during the case. A robot waiter called her name but she pretended that it was a mistake. The robot almost blew her cover! Back at home, Lexi gets a knock on the door late at night. Who could it be? It turns out to be that very same robot. What an interesting turn of events. The robot’s name is Hedy and it wants Lexi to find its missing lover, John. At first, she doesn’t even want to entertain the idea that the robot is actually in love. After talking with Hedy a bit more, Lexi starts believing that it could be true and it piques her interest. A robot in love isn’t something you see every day. Lexi agrees to take Hedy’s case. She has to satisfy her curiosity!
Lexi digs through John’s apartment later that night and finds nothing useful. She decides to talk a walk through the city to clear her head. When she can solve something, she walks. It’s a habit she picked up back in Neo-San Francisco. After walking for a while, she stops by The Crimson Bar for a drink. The place is overrun with ruffians and rich, wannabe bad boys. Not the most elegant of places, that’s for sure. At least the drinks are affordable! Lexi has another reason for picking this particular bar though. The bartender, Mahita, is a fully sapient robot. She’s also quite the looker. Lexi swears this is all work-related! You can’t fool me, Lexi. You’re crushing on her, hard! Lexi asks Mahita if robots are stupid enough to fall in love? She playfully replies back with a question of her own. Is she asking if something without a heart can love? However, their back-and-forth leads to nowhere. I’m not surprised as they’re actually just flirting with each other. Totally work-related, right? Their fun time is interrupted by a customer and Mahita tells Lexi to wait for her outside.
Outside, Lexi admits that she may be in love with Mahita. Shocking truth! She’s fascinated by the relationship between Hedy and John. But why did John disappear? As she’s pondering this, she gets punched in the face out of nowhere. Well, that was rude. A bunch of thugs from Tribe Pacific tell her that they weren’t too pleased that she was snooping around the south side today. The Harvest is off-limits. Lexi may have gotten a bloody nose but it was worth it. Those goons just gave her a lead. What is the Harvest?
By the way, the art is simply gorgeous. The neon colors do a great job of highlighting the cyberpunk experience. It’s truly a feast for the eyes. There’s also a bonus two-page comic strip at the end of this issue about Turing cleaning out Hayden’s apartment. It was a sad but cute little story. The last panel was funny though. TOMCAT tells Turing that they’re not getting the deposit back and they just sigh.
Read a free preview of Issue #1 here.
I love cyberpunk stories. As a fan of the original 2064: Read Only Memories game, I couldn’t wait to give this issue a read. I’m happy to say that it did not disappoint. Lexi is a cool character with a charming attitude. Her personality really resonated with me. Our curiosity gets the better of us sometimes. The artwork was absolutely stunning and the color palette accentuated it perfectly. This issue was a good setup for things to come. I look forward to seeing how this mystery unfolds. If you’re a fan of the game or the cyberpunk genre, I’d definitely recommend this series to you.
Age Rating: T+
Released By: IDW Publishing
Release Date: December 18th, 2019