Writer: Curt Pires
Artist: Jason Copland
Publisher: Dark Horse
Since the beginning of the series, we have followed Curt Pires’ story of the manufactured pop star, Elle. Breaking free from the confines of an incubator, she meets Cooper. Her presence saves him from hanging himself, while he gives her sanctuary in his home. Once they learn of Elle’s disappearance, her handlers send a couple to see that she returns, willingly or otherwise. When we left Elle and Cooper, they had narrowly escaped. Now they’re trying to lay low to avoid more trouble.
This story continually alludes at things that support my belief that conspiracy theories have inspired the story. Some people make think I’m crazy, but I find it fascinating. One of my favorite aspects are textual and art cues that hint at MK Ultra programming. MK Ultra is in fact very real. The CIA began programming in the 1950’s. There are panels towards the end of this issue that lead me to believe this is what creators are trying to convey in this book. Even with panels where Elle seems to be questioning reality, her memories remind me of psychological breakdowns you see in celebrities today. Look on YouTube and you’ll see and comments on videos blaming the Illuminati. Then again, maybe it’s the drugs we see her take in the previous issue. It’s nothing more than a bad trip for both her and Cooper. We’ll find out more when the story concludes in issue four. I just hope this wasn’t an elaborate dream for one of the characters in the book.
Jason Copland’s art combined with the story proves interesting. While I prefer cleaner lines, he depicts the story well. I enjoy the coloring on panels where Elle is questioning her memories. Even the art is simple in those panels, giving the text more impact. Copland also adds little details to his art, like famous album covers and the book’s title on a bucket of popcorn. These may not be significant but they add a little something extra to the page.
Now, I could be completely wrong and imagining all of these references. Given the chance, I would love to talk with Pires about POP. I find something in each issue that draws me in further. There are so many questions I have about the story that I know can’t be wrapped up in the next issue. Since this is a mini-series, the end is imminent. While I’ll be pleased to know what happens, I’d like to see this as an ongoing series. If collected, it’s a book I would gift to anyone that enjoys conspiracy theories or dystopian societies. I think having a world where celebrities are created in a lab would qualify as being dystopian. It’s certainly not ideal. This book is one I continually recommend. It’s different from so many other stories that are being told.
“POP #3” earns 9/10