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Evil Geek Book Report – Copperhead Volume 1

The first arc of the new Image series Copperhead has come to a close. With a new trade out of the first five issues for $9.99 why wait?

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Copperhead combines two genres that I love and are rarely seen together, Sci-Fi and Westerns. Although, Science Fiction in general seems to be blowing up right now in comics. Next time you’re at your local comic store look at all the Image series on the racks and you’ll find a heaping portion of outer space books, way more than a year or two ago. I adore Jonathan Hickman’s East Of West series which is another book that mixes those genres. Copperhead is different though. East Of West relies heavily on the Sci-Fi aspects but frames it as a Western where Copperhead feels very much like a Western in the truest sense that happens to have a background setting of space. The two series couldn’t be more different, but both of them are worth your time, energy and money. Hickman tends to deal in the complex and abstract and makes you work for it where Copperhead scribe Jay Faerber eases you and gets you comfortable immediately.

Right from the start we find out Clara Bronson has become the new sheriff in town. The town being in a backwoods alien planet known only for their mining operation. Clara arrives with her son Zeke after some “unpleasantness” back home which may have forced her into leaving. This is a thread that no doubt will be sewn over the series for a while and rightfully so. The mystique adds to the character and to reveal it up front would be foolish, it will become more impactful when it’s laid out down the line.

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Clara is greeted by deputy Budroxifinicus, an alien who looks like some kind of overgrown Bison. Dubbed Boo (much to his chagrin) he acts resentful and undermines Clara any chance he gets. We soon find out that he applied and was passed up for the chance to become Sheriff. Barely is our cast of characters established before they get called to a domestic dispute where the find an alien father beating up his son. After a violent outburst the mom is taken into custody, later on an anonymous call sends the sheriff and deputy back to that home only to find everyone slaughtered except one of the children in critical condition. This kick things off into more of a police procedural/murder mystery that fits the characters and the environment well.

Adding another layer to the story is a dash of political intrigue that I hope will play out more in upcoming issues. The planet has seen the ravages of war between Boo’s species and humans. Not only that but somewhere during the conflict artificial intelligence was created to be used as soldiers and after the war were liberated and given rights. This doesn’t sit well with Clara who seems to have a vendetta against them. Yet when one of them saves her son’s life it causes some complications in her outlook.

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Copperhead’s art duties fall to Scott Godlewksi who knocks it out of the park. His style is clean and tight and the color choices are inspired, often showcasing the western genre and the dry arid feel of the desert. One of my favorite things to do when reading Science Fiction comics is really pay attention to the backgrounds of the panels to see all the interesting and different alien species and technology. Copperhead definitely doesn’t disappoint in that regard, you can find yourselves pouring over any of the crowd scenes for a while.

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If you’re a fan of Westerns this is a must read. It’s a warm and inviting read that felt straight forward and uncluttered. There’s a feeling of hope that runs through it but also a dark undercurrent that we’ve only gotten a taste of so far. It’s another solid book in the Image stable and thankfully one with a strong female protagonist. So what are you waiting for?

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About Biff Tannen

Film Noir, Pulp, Comic Books and Hitchcock.

Posted on April 6, 2015, in COMICS!, Evil Geek Book Report, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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