Kara O'Connor

Comic Review: Pop #1

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Dark Horse delivers its new series Pop that boasts a fun premise but falls short of backing it up with a solid story.


Pop #1
Writer: Curt Pires
Artist: Jason Copland
Colorist: Pete Toms
Publisher: Darkhorse
Release Date: August 27, 2014

Will you agree? Check out POP #1.

If Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus were merely genetic experiments created in a lab, then maybe their colorfully robotic personalities and silly antics would make sense. Pop, a new comic written by Curt Pires, suggests this very possibility. Pop stars are grown in sacs of embryonic goo and delivered to the masses with a mission of music. However, when one pop starlet known as Elle Ray hatches from her pod and escapes into the city streets, the makers of this magnate are none too happy. The control the creators exert when their pop stars rebel comes in the form of serious violence; for example, when their version of Justin Bieber (Dustin Beaver) decides to quit the biz, two heavies show up and shoot off the Bev’s kneecaps just before the teen heartthrob can finish his threesome with a pair of young groupies. Harsh doesn’t being to cover it. Then Elle Ray, frightened and alone, is miraculously rescued by a macabre schlep named Coop — who was just about to end his own depressing existence –- and in a way Elle Ray is also rescuing Coop.

While the idea is spot on, creatively poking fun at society’s obsession with fame (to a point of requiring our “celebutantes” be manufactured like Barbie dolls on a factory belt), the story did little to support this strong premise. The characters were fairly boring and one dimensional, and the meeting of our pop star and her savior seemed so conveniently kismet that it came off as uber cheesy. Additionally, the creepy way in which Coop attempts “nurse” Elle back to health is rather sexist and stereotypical of a “damsel in distress” tale. Would Coop have helped Elle if she weren’t a sexy twenty-something, half naked and desperate? My guess is probably not. Still, Jason Copland’s art was vintage silver age and fit really well within the story. His decision to utilize blank and single color panels to accentuate tone felt refreshingly new. Unfortunately, even Copland’s charming approach did little to save the poor exposition in both story and dialogue.

I’d hoped for far more from this excellent idea, much in the way I grow excited for a new Beyoncé album. But then the disappointment sinks in after I’ve bought an entire album, only to find I like the one song they’re playing on every top 40 radio station over and over. In the immortal words of 1980’s pop princess Tiffany, it “could’ve been so beautiful.”

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