Comic Review – Copperhead #11 (Image Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week’s review is a little late. Give me a break, it was my birthday yesterday! I was excited to see the return of Copperhead this week with issue #11, the first issue since late 2015. Since I reviewed the first issue back in 2014 it has been a favourite of mine, so I’m glad to see it back. Copperhead was co-created by Jay Faeber and Scott Godlewski, with Faeber on writing duties but Godlewski now replaced by on interior art by Drew Moss (although he is still involved and drew the cover). As with the issues before the break, Ron Riley provides the colour art and Thomas Mauer returns for lettering.

Cover by Scott Godlewski and Ron Riley

For those unfamiliar with it, Copperhead is a sci-fi western set in the town of Copperhead on the planet of Jasper. Clara Bronson is the relatively new Sheriff in town, having moved there recently to start fresh with her young son Zeke. She is joined by Deputy Budroxifinicus (or ‘Boo’), a huge creature who bears a serious grudge against Clara and her position, and while a capable deputy he certainly has plans of his own to usurp Clara’s command. As does everyone else in town it seems. In this issue, Clara and Boo uncover a terrible crime, while someone from Clara’s past arrives with a warning. Whatever, or whomever Clara and Zeke were trying to get away from when they came to Copperhead, they didn’t go far enough.

Faeber’s writing in Copperhead has not missed a step in the break, with characters that continue to be intriguing and well developed. Clara is an especially interesting, no-nonsense woman who is utterly unwilling to put up with anyone else’s crap. One of the minor complaints I had with the first issue was that the story moved a little slowly, but while the pace of the overarching plot has continued to be a slow burn I’ve definitely changed my position on that aspect, in fact I think it is one of the series’ strengths. Issue #11 isn’t the most welcoming to new readers, but the first 10 issues have all been collected in two trade paperbacks already for readers to catch up on.

The art is a little different with Drew Moss on board, but style-wise it isn’t a big departure and everything looks just as good as before. The different alien races populating Copperhead all look weird and wonderful, and the facial work with the human characters, in particular Clara, is very strong (especially a few close-up shots). Riley’s colours are as gorgeous as they were before the break, evoking an almost washed out desert heat that suits the story perfectly.

If you haven’t read any Copperhead up until now I suggest you grab the first two trade paperbacks here and here, then pick up issue #11. Great sci-fi western action with well rounded characters and excellent art. I can’t really think of a better endorsement.

Score: 9 Fancy New Suits out of 10

Comic Review – Copperhead #1

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of his favourite one, with potential minor spoilers.

This week, along with the couple of other creator-owned titles and a few of the Futures End issues (of drastically varying quality) from DC’s September event, I picked up Copperhead #1 from Image Comics, written by Jay Faerber, with art by Scott Godlewski, colours from Ron Riley and letters by Thomas Mauer.

Copperhead is a sci-fi western (I love a sci-fi western) set in the titular town on the planet of Jasper. Our main character, Clara Bronson, is moving to Copperhead to start a new life with her young son Zeke. Taking up the recently vacated Sheriff’s position (or ‘Sherif’), Clara and Zeke are greeted by her surly Deputy Budroxifinicus (or ‘Boo’), one of many of the various species living in Copperhead. They soon head out to a domestic disturbance, where Deputy Boo doesn’t really help, and return to the station to find the local mine owner and his artificial human bodyguards, seemingly running some form of racket (and whose dialogue, I’m pretty sure, is impossible to read in anything but a sleazy Southern accent). Before Clara and Zeke can settle in to their new home that evening, Boo calls reporting a murder that she has to head out to investigate. And Zeke suffers from Carl Grimes syndrome, because he doesn’t stay in the damn house when he is told to.

The story is interesting, if a little slow in building the groundwork for the world and the characters. The basic premise is good though, like a cop show but set in a desolate frontier town in the middle of nowhere. In a letter at the back, Faerber describes his original idea as ‘Deadwood in space’, which is pretty accurate. The dialogue is strong, and a few pieces are teased about Sheriff Bronson’s past and a presumably fairly large and possibly interplanetary war that ended at least relatively recently. The art was great, with the sand-blasted barren Copperhead looking bleak and bringing out the varying colours of the different species. The night-time scenes at the end of the issue were particularly vivid and gorgeous despite being a little gruesome. It actually reminded me of Fiona Staples’ art, with the alien creatures and locales blending perfectly with the humans mixing in with them.

This felt like it could have been set on a planet in the Firefly universe if there were a few alien species (and not just Dead Bessie), and for that reason alone I was bound to enjoy it. The story, while a slow burner, is intriguing and I liked all the characters a great deal. Check this out in your local comic shop, or digitally with your recently unveiled pointless watch phone or whatever.

Score: 8 Bullet Ridden Uniforms out of 10