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 – The Disciples #1

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

This week I read The Disciples #1 from Black Mask Studios, which they were kind enough to send me a copy of. Billed as a ‘space ghost story’, The Disciples was written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Christopher Mitten, with colours by Jay Fotos and letters from Thomas Mauer.

The Disciples takes place aboard the Venture, a starship crewed by a small team of bounty hunters (think Firefly) on their way to a new mission. Dagmar, Rick and Jules have been hired by a senator to retrieve his daughter from a cult on Ganymede, having fallen in with them and their billionaire leader. After having to pay a few bribes at a space port, and joking around with each other before entering stasis, the Venture’s autopilot takes them through hyperspace straight to Jupiter. But something horrifying has either hitched a ride, or has come aboard in the planet’s orbit…

I’m a big horror fan, and sci-fi horror is always great fun. Alien, The Thing, Event Horizon, anything twisted and with a creeping sense of dread. That said, I felt like there wasn’t a huge amount of horror in this ‘ghost story in space’, at least until the final page. There was a small amount of (admittedly intriguing) foreshadowing in Dagmar’s “weirdmare”, but the rest of the issue focusses more on character introduction and a set up of the normal, every day that this crew faces before turning it on its head at the end. However, I don’t really see this as necessarily a bad thing. By all means make me care about these characters before they get ripped to shreds a few issues down the line – something often neglected in horror. Niles writes a very capable and interesting sci-fi background story with a likeable cast, and the promise of terror that he has a proven track reckon in to come.

db538d38-7515-47b1-9858-358f038aa429Mitten’s art really stands out in The Disciples, with gritty and scratchy line work that showcases the grim future, and the horrors of Dagmar’s dream and the nightmare at the end. The imagery of the hyperspace jump was gorgeous though, and the scale of the lunar backdrop when the crew arrives at their destination is grand. Fotos’ murky colours enunciate all of Mitten’s art, painting a gloomy picture of the future.

The Disciples is off to a great start, and while I had expected a little more horror right from the off this first issue benefits from the set up and great art as a lead in. Check this out at your local comic book shop, or you can get it digitally over at www.blackmaskstore.com.

Score: 8 Weirdmares out of 10