Review: ‘Theremin’ # 4


The best comics step outside of themselves. Be it through playing with the paneling, the perspective, the art, or the storytelling. Curt Pires and Dalton Rose achieve all of these things this month in a strange departure that manages to ground their book. By taking a bold chance with an unequivocal demonstration of insecurity “Theremin” sheds itself of weakness and becomes something completely ironclad.

WRITTEN BY: Curt Pires
ART BY: Dalton Rose
COLOR BY: Dalton Rose
PUBLISHER: Monkeybrain Comics
PRICE: $0.99

“Theremin” has dared to be different from the beginning. The first issue would have you believe that you’re in for a time traveling espionage adventure that has loose ties to history. With each successive chapter Curt Pires strips away that idealized comic landscape into something more unpredictable and sinister. So unpredictable that it seems he lost himself somewhere along the way.

Leon Theremin takes a back seat this month. Instead Curt writes himself into the book and creates a thing of beauty. A story filled to the brim with self-reflection and a little angst that goes a long way. It feels incredibly real. Vulnerable in a way that many comics don’t even dare touch. Curt is devoured by his own creation. He is lost.

Through this the similarities between his struggles and Leon’s come to light. The power of narrative fiction becomes as real as any autobiographical anecdote and the story finds its conclusion. So we push back into Leon’s world. Only to find our original protagonist much more lost than he was before.

Dalton Rose does a fantastic job throwing himself into the mediocrity of the modern world. It would be jarring juxtaposition to the previous issues if it weren’t for his awesome neon-soaked colors. His panels are mundane. Helping to cement the effect of listlessness created by the script. His colors start to get more vibrant as the issue pushes on. Culminating in a fantastic display of color over what Pires calls “colliding superstructures.”

From this brief moment of inspiration the book rockets toward a conclusion that you won’t see coming but feels earned. What should be a plodding, meandering thought experiment actually ends up being a thought provoking look at the nature of creation, storytelling, and inspiration.

The terrible pain of toiling in uncertainty comes through in droves here but it doesn’t end with this issue’s creation. It only ends with this issue’s reception. I encourage you to embrace this for what it is: something dynamically different and exciting.

“Theremin” takes a detour to reflect on the more unsightly aspects of the creative process this month and is all the better for it. The book reaches a new level of vulnerability far away from self-indulgence. The issue is a vital slice of experimentation that you don’t often find in the medium and I can think of no better way to spend a dollar.

Rating: 4.5/5 Skulls.