BOOK REVIEW: 100% by Paul Pope

100%100% by Paul Pope
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon page


Despite the gritty, futuristic-noir setting of this graphic novel, it’s essentially the intertwining of three love stories. The story opens on the corpse of a dancer found in an alleyway. I thought this was going to be part of the story’s inciting incident or foreshadow it, but — in reality — it just served to establish that we’re on the wrong side of the tracks. The same might be said of a scene involving the purchasing of a gun. [I’ll let the reader figure out whether it was a “Chekov’s gun.” i.e. Chekov famously said, “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off.”] The fact that the story set in and around a strip club is apparently insufficient to convey how seedy this neighborhood is.

The love stories are between a dancer and a dishwasher, the club manager and a fighter, and the manager’s best friend and a sound artist. These love stories are nicely woven together, even if they are clichéd. The relationship with the prize fighter is probably the stalest. However, fear of commitment and standing up for one’s art are the well-worn heart of the other two stories. As I think about it, it’s not that those clichéd themes form the heart of the story (one will see the same themes replayed out in great works, past, present, and future,) but instead I think it’s the way we are pummeled over the head with them. It’s much like aforementioned set up of the seediness of the setting. By being so blatant, one can’t help but feel it’s a bit hackneyed.

That said, it’s a fine story, that might have benefited from a little bit of subtlety.

The artwork was well-done as far as I’m able to tell. I have no particular expertise in art, so my only criteria is whether I could follow what was happening, and I could.

The “100%” that is presumably meant to apply to the lengths the characters go to for what / who they love, unfortunately is exceeded in telling the story in a way that draws attention to itself too much for its own good. That said, if you’re looking for sweet stories of love in a seedy setting, this book has got you covered.

View all my reviews

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