Writter: Jay Faerber
Publisher: Image Comics
Hype can be a dangerous thing. Copperhead debuted last month with a fair amount of excitement from comic readers, as well as a healthy amount of support from comic pros. This series has managed to deliver on the promise of its premise and didn’t succumb to the pressure that was stacked upon it. It is iterating on many ideas and seems quite familiar as a story but has managed to be told with such skill that it’s been nothing but a joy to read, so far. The character motivations are easy to understand and allow the reader to leap into a story with a fairly heavy science-fiction base.
Artist Scott Godlewski hit my radar a couple of months ago when the teasers and promos started to land for this series. His work is crisp and clean with tight character designs and expressive faces. His work is accompanied by the colours of Ron Riley which gives us a well-rounded art team that have managed excellent levels of consistency over these two issues. The darkness of the night is used to awesome effect throughout the issue and makes for a tense and exciting scene that raises the level of tension.
As I mentioned before, “Copperhead #2” is fairly formulaic, as was its predecessor, but Jay Faerber is a writer who can overcome the tropes of a murder-mystery. Despite the science-fiction setting, many of the early plot points follow the progression we’re used to for a story like this. If you like mysteries, then you’ll probably like this series because it does a great job of setting up a crime that seems to have no apparent motive or suspect.
The strength of the writing in “Copperhead #2” is the strong characters, which you can easily empathize with, despite having not known them for very long. A single mother starting a new job. A sarcastic and deprecating deputy forced to work for the new sheriff. The mysterious, altruistic (at least so far) stranger. These are the characters that inhabit the world of Copperhead and Faerber has fleshed out their personalities in a way that makes them feel real.
It would be easy to dismiss this series as just another Western in space. We’ve had some great ones, so I can understand if you’re apprehensive to read this because you loved Firefly or because Six-Gun Gorilla or East of West really do it for you. It isn’t fair to this talented creative team though to write their series off because it is using the new standard for creativity: take whatever you want to do (Western, horror, war, romance, superhero, etc.) and put it in space. We’re seeing this trend grow throughout popular culture but it hasn’t quite worn out its welcome yet, as Copperhead proves by being an excellent read.
We’re constantly bombarded with new series and all of them can’t be winners, but, Copperhead should find itself generating some interest. Strong characters and compelling art make “Copperhead #2” an impressive follow-up to a great debut last month. The creators have done the hardest part already: generating buzz, creating characters and a story that readers can care about. Now all they have to do is continue to provide interesting set pieces to build upon this early characterization.
“Copperhead #2” earns 8.5/10