Your memories are all fabricated and can’t be trusted. That’s the main theme of Darby Pop Comic’s new sci-fi title, Things You Shouldn’t Remember but its also the truth. While the fallibility of memory is at the forefront of the books story, in the real world it's been determined that the way in which we all construct memories is imperfect, often resulting in an inaccurate recollection of events. An example of unsound memory that’s been covered a lot recently is the Mandela Effect: a phenomenon describing a large group of people who remember events differently than the way they happened in actuality. The effect is named as such due to many falsely recalling Nelson Mandela’s death in prison in the ‘80’s. Most, if not all of us, have experienced the incompatibility between our memories and evidence indicating their invalidity. It’s this bizarre and uncomfortable sensation that the creators exploit in this introductory issue.
The story focuses on seemingly unrelated characters that share a common trait: all of them remember something that no one else does. The author gives very little away outside of bare-bones character exposition via dialogue. What we do know is that a pair of MIB-esque agents are eliminating people with these unique memories, something big may have happened in Paris, and there are some kind of monsters involved. The creators do a fine job of building intrigue with short glimpses of whatever strange conspiracy is at foot.
The characters themselves feel a bit flat unfortunately. There isn't much remarkable about any of them as they fit firmly into their archetypes, including shady government agents and a talented but irreverent ne’er-do-well. This being the first issue, it may be unfair to judge too harshly as I’m sure the characters will become more complex in subsequent issues. While the characters may be a little one-dimensional, their dialogue keeps them from coming off as boring. Writer Luis Roldan Torquemada’s light-hearted conversational exposition is reminiscent of writers like Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith, feeling relatable and natural.
Visually, the book is similar to some of Darby Pop’s previous titles, including “Indestructible” and “Fake Empire.” Artist Mariano Eliceche does an admirable job for the subject he’s been given. The characters are all well-constructed and their expressions convey emotion accurately. Unfortunately, there just aren’t too many opportunities for him to really display his skill in this issue. Most of the book is simply people talking in mundane locations. The few panels involving action and a freaky sci-fi laboratory are promising, however. Like the issue of character depth, I expect there to be ample opportunities to impress us as the plot progresses.
The coy nature of the writing and the storytelling possibilities inherent in messing with memory and perspective have certainly piqued my curiosity. Overall, this issue is a more than competent introduction, full of potential… Or at least that's how I remember it.