Story by Curt Pires
Art by Jason Copland
Colors by Pete Toms
Publisher: Dark Horse
Pop #1 published by Dark Horse, written by Curt Pires, and drawn by Jason Copland is based around a very Cronenbergian premise (more specifically a son of Cronenberg premise). It is a sci-fi tale about a world where the biggest celebrities aren’t born, but made and grown in a lab. A secret corporation births and oversees the rises, successes, and falls of almost all actors and pop stars. If any of their creations deviate from the company’s desires, they are swiftly dealt with. One night a woman, Elle, escapes from her pod and is taken in by a comic shop owner, Coop, while he is on his way to commit suicide. What is apparent in this first issue is that they are about to both about to be in way over their heads in this situation that is much bigger than the both of them.
The best sequence of #1 is the third act in a Los Angeles hotel room where international megastar Dustin Beaver is snorting cocaine and fondling a pair of prostitutes. The over-the-top jackassery of short Canadian is pretty on the nose, but quite humorous. Suddenly the door is kicked in and a pair of gothic bellhops enter the room. They work for the company and are there to discuss Beaver’s abrupt retirement without warning his makers. They give him detailed instructions on how to proceed next, then murder the two women, and shoot out Beaver’s kneecaps. They finish their job and are on their way to the next mission: hunting down Elle. The boyfriend/girlfriend duo is an imposing threat and it will surely be an exciting moment when Elle and Coop inevitably encounter them.
Right off the bat Pop is must read. Both Elle and Coop feel like well-rounded characters with their own individual issues that they need to work out. On his way to commit the saddest and worst form of self destruction, Coop saves Elle and takes her home instead of leaving her passed out and half naked in the street. She inadvertently saves him as well, which will be an interesting aspect of their relationship going forward.
Copland’s art flows really well from panel to panel. He shines at the more science fiction skewing images like the lab or the tracking device in Elle’s blood stream. A dream sequence after Elle passes out also stands out. It gets the erratic nature of nightmares just right.
Dark Horse looks to have a hit on its hands with Pop. The first issue has big sci-fi ideas, but ultimately it is a small character driven story at its heart.