In “100%” (Vertigo: 256 pp., $39.99), Paul Pope depicts a New York punctuated with bits of technological wizardry but still wholly recognizable — a city in which characters cower in fear from what might be lurking in the shadows, fall in love, eat sushi, drink too much and watch bad performance art. (“A naked woman smashing eggs,” one character observes. “What is the world coming to?”) The Gotham of this graphic novel, published serially in 2002 and 2003, is nestled somewhere between its incarnations in Thomas M. Disch’s beaten-down “334” and Martin Scorsese’s antic nightmare “After Hours.” With a palette dominated by stark black and white, “100%” would be your typical round-the-corner dystopia if everything didn’t feel so weirdly alive. Three couples, loosely linked, circulate in this grim nocturnal city of a few decades hence — there has been some sort of catastrophic war in India, the impact of which is left tantalizingly unclear. (For good measure, the upcoming 2050 World Cup will feature humans vs. mutants.) Here they make love or art while trying to figure out the necessary trick of how to get by. The jittery Kim (white) and capable Strel (black) are friends; Strel manages dancers at a state-of-the-art club called the Catshack, which (a quote-happy Zagat’s-like guide tells us) is “dead set in the center of Manhattan’s ‘revitalized Urbanista downtown’. . . . The food is ‘robust’ and ‘decent,’ but it’s ‘to be seen and seem’ that the clientele shows up.”
more from Ed Park at the LA Times here.