Between POP, Killjoys, and The Wicked + The Divine; maybe I’ll just never find a good music comic out there. This is starting to get depressing, but let’s try to forget that and just focus on the now. POP #3: is it good?
POP #3 (Dark Horse Comics)
Elle and Coop decide to hide out at Coop’s pot dealer’s home for the time being after their encounter with the baddies last issue. Meanwhile, this humongous fat man tells the leader of the musician cloning business to find Elle or otherwise he’s life is pretty much over. Hijinks ensue, I suppose.
No please, go on about your steak discussion. You haven’t completely sold me on you being a complete douchebag yet.
Remember last issue when I said that the story was nothing to write home about? Sadly, that’s still the case, through and through. I mean, there’s just honestly nothing here to really sink your teeth into or take away from. The story is unengaging and not memorable. There are no real surprises, revelations, enjoyable characters, or interesting themes to take away from. The comic feels like it so desperately wants to be something more than what it is, but the creative team doesn’t have the skill or talent to do so.
These characters are not compelling or interesting any way, shape or form. There’s nothing to these side characters that keep popping up and leaving, existing mainly as a plot device. The villains are clichéd to hell and back, being the stereotypical evil fat businessmen or crooked leaders of shady organizations without the slightest bit of irony or uniqueness to make them stand out. The only bad guys that don’t follow that formula are the henchman and woman, but only because of how bizarre they look and talk at points. The comic tries to paint them as being very loyal to one another to show they have some semblance of humanity, but we’ve seen it all before and it really doesn’t add anything to them.
What about Elle and Coop? Aren’t they interesting or enjoyable to read about, given that they are the main characters and we finally get some characterization to them? Sure, you could say that, but the problem is, all of their characterization and depth is compacted into a few pages with tons upon tons of dialogue that just drags on and on. It doesn’t feel natural and comes across as being crammed in at the last second to try to make you care about them because almost instantly after they finish that scene, they are captured by the bad guys. It’s just so artificial and badly put together that the effect of you feeling sympathy just doesn’t work. These characters are just not well written at all.
Speaking of poor writing…the pacing is fast, trying to rush through and unload as much plot and characterization as it possibly can to make the audience care and get invested, instead of naturally introducing it over the course of the previous two issues. The story structure is fine and so is the flow, until the very end when it gets completely weird and awkward. The dialogue is just dry and forgettable, often becoming overwhelming and exposition heavy, especially in the second half. Finally, the whole concept of musicians being clones and the product of corporations is still underutilized and hasn’t been explored at all. Seriously, besides the Bieber knock-off and some parts at the beginning, this premise hasn’t been looked at or used. If you are not going to explore or use your concept, why even bother at all?
Finally, the artwork… it is what it is. The characters and layouts are nice as usual. The only real downside is a talking head scene where Elle and Coop just start talking about each other and that’s where, for whatever reason, the artist starts to experiment with the colors. It doesn’t seem to have any purpose or symbolize anything, so it’s just odd. However, at this point, with the artwork as good as it is the story as weak as it is, it’s just a shame to see the art not being used on a better book.
Is It Good?
POP #3 is just like the last issue: poorly written, filled with weak characters, wasted potential, and has only some decent artwork to show for it. Admittedly, it does seem like it tried a bit more with its characters and pushing the plot forward a bit, but that isn’t remotely enough for a book like this. I’m not sure how it’s going to end next time, but I suspect it’s not going to be pretty.