A review copy was provided by Jay Faerber.
I’m a sucker for the Western genre. Whether it’s movies, video games, or comics, I just love a good Western. Even more than that, I enjoy when a story flips a genre on its head, which is why I was excited to check out Copperhead #1 from Image Comics. While not technically a Western, all the nuances of such a classic story are evident in this new comic.
The series follows Clara Bronson, a woman who has become sheriff of the mining colony Copperhead, as she adjusts to her new life with her son, Zeke, and new partner, Budroxifincus. How does this sci-fi take on the traditional genre stack up? Let’s check out Copperhead #1!
Our story begins as Clara and Zeke ride a train towards Copperhead, leaving behind an old life which Clara implies possessed negative qualities, requiring a “new start” for their family. The new sheriff demonstrates her no-nonsense attitude when accosted on the train, while also displaying deep care for Zeke. She soon meets Deputy Budroxifincus, a creature of few words who’s worked in Copperhead for quite some time. The two new partners don’t get along, but don’t have time to settle their differences as a rash of crimes confront them. Meanwhile, Zeke makes a new friend, but together they make a choice which could spell danger for them.
Writer Jay Faerber provides a great introduction for this new series. He writes several great characters, giving us a strong handle on their personalities in only one issue. For instance, we see how tough, yet caring, Clara is within two pages of her introduction, while it’s evident from his curt nature that Budroxifincus only grudgingly accepts his new boss. Faerber lays out some intriguing hints that will play into world-building, including the idea of artificial humans and a past conflict that left the humans with more power than the “alien” inhabitants of Copperhead (and perhaps a greater area than that). The dialogue flows very well, and I enjoyed the clever back-and-forth between the characters.
Copperhead #1 displays some great art from a talented team. Scott Godlewski provides great work overall, thanks to a combination of excellent creature designs, creative panel layouts, and a powerful sense of motion during the action sequences. Godlewski draws the read deep into the world with portrayals of the technology littered throughout Copperhead. The artist’s skilled use of facial expressions to help convey character personas also cannot be overstated. Furthermore, colorist Ron Riley adds a great feel to the story, using a palette that is mostly drab combinations of blues, whites, and oranges, save for a key smatterings of brighter tones for the skin of certain creatures or the flashing lights of the police vehicle. Good lettering is often under appreciated, but Thomas Mauer does a superb job through his font choices and word bubble placements, especially Clara’s internal monologue told through her diary at the comic’s opening.
Copperhead #1 starts the series with a slow burn that succeeds in introducing a solid world with great characters. There’s nothing overly wild about this first issue, but I came away caring about the protagonists and itching to see the results of two big events towards the issue’s conclusion. If you like Sci-Fi, Westerns, or both, I’d urge you to pick up Copperhead #1 when it hits the stands this coming September.
-enjoyable story that melds the Science Fiction and Western genres
-excellent character introductions
-slower pace compared to some first issues
-it won’t hit the stands until September (meaning you folks have to wait to check it out)
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He knows better than to pick a fight with green-skinned, multi-armed rednecks.
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