Review: Memorial #1

Chris Roberson has been a hot commodity in the comic industry for the past several years; unfortunately his work has never grabbed a hold of me before. With Memorial though I’m intrigued by the familiar story and the interesting setting, really this series combines all my favorite things from fairy tales and magic into one nice package. The story opens with a woman devoid of all memories. She finds her way into a hospital and is diagnosed with Dissociative Fugue or total amnesia. The only clue to her past is a locket that she wears with a stylized capital “M” on it. Since she doesn’t turn up on any records she’s dubbed Ms. M or simply Em. The story takes us somewhere else called the Everglades. It’s a world ran by one woman who’s captured the real worlds lost memories and turned most of its citizens into stone.

Memorial+1B+CoverThree men now stand before her as they explain why they lost a key that she needs to erase all memories. One of these men is a puppet while another is made out of more metal than flesh. The third man fails the mission and is turned to stone after his essence is sucked out. Back in the real world Em stumbles upon a green door in an alleyway that’s she’s never noticed before in her daily routine. She remembers the door for some strange reason and decides to enter. Inside is a shop full of ancient and weird items and kind of resembles any 80’s movie horror shop only with better lighting. Inside Em finds a key that she knows she remembers. As she touches the key everyone in the Everglades feels the pulse and they know that something big has just begun, too bad Em still has no idea what’s happening.

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this story. It’s very clear what Roberson’s influences are for it and the most obvious being Fables. In fact several things seem borrowed from Fables, but in reality this story and world would never work for that series. It’s very interesting to see an idea that is almost connected to that played out in entirely different way. In general this is some of Roberson’s best writing and storytelling to date. Everything is clear and easy to follow, but the story is unique enough that you’ll want to keep reading. I’ve never been grabbed by Roberson as a writer, but this story and this company seem to be the right place for him.

The art is delightful! Rich Ellis is an amazing talent and I could not get over how good the art was. I won’t say that the style will be for everyone, but it was definitely for me. I enjoyed his wide variety of pencil thickness and his full and complete backgrounds; every page was full of life and had a real presence. What is most enjoyable was Ellis’ characters; they’re very memorable designs and in general pleasing to the eye.

I had no idea this book existed until today and frankly I’m glad that I gave it a shot. If you’re into mysteries and love series like Fables or House of Mystery then this is definitely a book worth checking out. I also have to give kudos to IDW for putting this book out and hope to see similar efforts like this in the future.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Chris Roberson Artist: Rich Ellis Colorist: Grace Allison Publisher: IDW Publishing Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/21/11