by Curt Pires, Dalton Rose and Ryan Ferrier
Whenever a book tackles a subject like time travel, the writer has more room to play with how to present the story at hand. Events for the characters are no longer chronological as the audience experiences reality, and that can create some very interesting options for the story telling. Pires takes advantage of just that with Theremin. Though previous issues have played with storytelling, Theremin #3 takes that even further. There is a leak, and that target has found a way to hide outside of this plain of existence.
Playing with narrative structure can make for a memorable issue or it can devolve into pure distraction. Pires dances around that line often in this issue. For the first two-thirds of the book, there are three running stories, each presented in a different row on the page. At the very top, Leon spends time with Howard Hughes, the middle running plot depicts some surreal plot involving a man dressed as an astronaut sitting at a piano, while the final row details an exchange between Lenin and his faceless assassin.
There are no time indications within the pages of this story, and so it takes a bit of patience from the reader in order to piece together exactly what is occurring in this third issue. The last chapter of Theremin dealt with some pacing issues, involving too many cuts between stories. Here the stories could almost be read in isolation across a row, and don’t undercut each other. From the very beginning, the book plays with and discusses the idea of reality breaking and that is mimicked in how this issue unfolds. As the final third of the story comes together, the flow becomes less consistent, but it works because of the groundwork that precedes this decay. Not only that, but amidst all of the very intricate and complex structures on display, Pires works in a much needed heart that makes it all the more effective.
Dalton Rose does phenomenal work in the issue. From the incredible imagery of the man in the suit, the alteration of coloring across the three stories to help organize them for the audience, as well as the surreal cover, this is a beautiful book. There comes a point in the book where Pires hits the story climax and the alternating plots fall away to a series of panels that feature not only the peak of the narrative, but also the most stunning panels of the series thus far.
Theremin #3 needed to impress enough to overcome some of the concerns of the series’ second issue. By the end of this chapter, the creative team have far surpassed that bar. Pires remarks in the back that this issue is not a continuation forward flow and instead can be likened to an ‘LSD fruit punch,’ stepping away from linear narration and adopting a much more fascinating structure. It might be a difficult style to adjust to at first, but the payoff is worth it. Pires can be put alongside Jonathan Hickman and Matt Kindt in his control and vision after in chapter.