Copperhead #18 (January 2018)

Copperhead #18

Copperhead wraps the arc in a really, really, really quick issue. Faerber intentionally avoids half of Clara’s character development possibilities. There are four. Faerber does two. They aren’t the hard two.

There are some great Clara moments, but Moss’s art hurts every one of them. Between the rushed story–it’s written to endcap a collection, not be a full issue–and Moss’s loose faces… it’s not great.

It’s not bad at all and Faerber sets the book up for an interesting arc when it comes back, but Copperhead has gotten to the point where Moss is holding it back. Faerber’s character moments can’t connect without expression and Moss can’t do human expression.

He’s pretty good at the aliens. Like, Boo. Boo’s fine.

But it’s not Boo’s issue. It’s ostensibly Clara’s, only it ends up being no one’s.

Anyway. Okay read, good series, but the issue takes about three minutes to get through.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Drew Moss; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 17 (December 2017)

Copperhead #17

Copperhead hasn’t exactly been lost since Faerber took the focus off Clara and expanded the existing supporting cast, then expanded new supporting cast, but it’s been kind of… not Copperhead. It’s been missing Clara.

Clara’s back, y’all. Clara’s back.

Even with the issue mostly juxtaposed against bad dad Clay out to kill Ishmael the good android and kidnap son Zeke–and Faerber working on two subplots–it’s basically a Clara issue. Because there’s some big backstory revelation (even bigger than the last reveal Faerber did a couple issues back) and it’s from Clara’s point of view. She even narrates some of it.

There are, as always, problems with Moss’s art. His composition is pretty spot on, which helps, especially once the action gets going, but the proportions are still inconsistent, the faces are still inconsistent.

The composition helps.

Copperhead keeps on going. Faerber keeps on getting through these story arcs, which sometimes seem a little unstable, and he gets them solid by the finish. Because Clara. It’s her book, after all.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Drew Moss; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 16 (November 2017)

Copperhead #16

One of the most frustrating things about Copperhead is how effective it can be. This issue ends with one heck of a standoff and it’s kind of cheap, but it isn’t because Faerber has done so much work on the characters and their relationships it can’t be cheap.

This issue has the secret origins of Sheriff Clara. It’s also got some revelations about Zeke and Zeke’s dad. The B plot is the good guys trying to track Clara down. The B plot is where Faerber gets in all that Copperhead texture. Where it’s serious even though all the aliens are cute.

Moss’s art gets real hurried and real thin by the end of this issue. The scenes aren’t complicated. They’re just rushed. It starts early too. By the end of the book, it’s looking rough. Hopefully the art turns around. The writing can carry it but it’d be nice if it didn’t have to do so. Moss lets the expressions go and Copperhead needs its expressions.

I just hope the art’s back on for the next issue; Faerber makes a lot of promises for the next issue.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Drew Moss; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 15 (October 2017)

Copperhead #15

Copperhead is back after a little longer than expected, particularly since last issue had a big cliffhanger. The issue’s good–with Faerber comfortably moving from character to character, hinting at reveals, doing reveals. This new arc has Sheriff Bronson in trouble and everyone banding together to help her. For one reason or another.

She’s not in the issue much, which is probably the biggest surprise, even if Faerber tries to pretend the closing revelation is somehow a showstopper. It’s not, but he’s already done well enough he can go out on it.

Moss’s art is a tad loose. Overly agitated might be the best description. His lines are a tad erratic, hurried maybe. It does make the comic read more immediately, which turns out to be a drawback given Faerber’s soft cliffhanger.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Drew Moss; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 14 (June 2017)

Ch14

Faerber closes off the arc with an action thriller. The sheriff has got to find and apprehend a contract killer, but without enough information and without any backup. Why no backup? Because Mayor Boo is a bureaucrat now, not a deputy. And, of course, the subplot with Clara’s ex-husband hunting her down moves along. It’s a strange pairing, visually speaking; Moss’s sci-fi action chase is competent and maybe even more confident, but his Western sci-fi space showdown is far more ambitious, if loose. Copperhead‘s a little wobbly, it’s still a very solid book.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Drew Moss; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 13 (May 2017)

Copperhead #13

Artist Moss still doesn’t compare well to the original artist, but at least he’s starting to get into the personality of Copperhead. Clara is on a case and nothing’s going to stop her. And what’s up with Boo? Mayor Boo. Faerber is moving really fast–and given Clara’s scary (now really scary) ex is trying to get to her planet–the arc feels like a race. Once you get done, you’re exhausted even though it’s a short read. Some nice twists in the case too.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Drew Moss; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 12 (April 2017)

Copperhead #12

It’s another too fast read, mostly because Copperhead has been gone so long you want to spend more time with the characters. But it’s also because Moss’s art doesn’t invite dwelling as much as Godlewski’s did. Moss has got the aliens down, he’s got the pace down, but he hasn’t got Clara. Close-ups yes, but not the medium shots. He loses track of her expressions. Still, it’s good stuff. Just rushed.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Drew Moss; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 11 (March 2017)

Copperhead #11

Copperhead is back with a new artist, Drew Moss, who brings a lot of motion to the proceedings. The sheriff is running around town trying to figure out who killed the mayor, with a visitor in tow, and Moss really makes it move. Meanwhile, Boo’s got his own future to think about. It’s a quick read, but a solid one. Faerber’s comfortable, even after the hiatus.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Drew Moss; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 10 (October 2015)

Copperhead #10

Faerber plays loose with the pacing in this issue of Copperhead. He’s going for reader pleasure, not being tied to the characters. The sheriff is out to rescue Deputy Boo from some outlaws; Faerber shows her determination, but it isn’t the story. He’s all about the storytelling mechanics and how they relate to the reader’s experience.

It doesn’t hurt Godlewski gets in a bunch of background detail. Even though there’s nary a subplot seen in this issue–until the end, setting up the cliffhanger–and the supporting cast really doesn’t do much but tag along, Godlewski gives them visual weight. There’s a lot of visual repetition too; Godlewski doesn’t want anyone getting lost.

This issue is also one of the most “Western.” Besides the aliens and laser guns, it’s just a Western. Faerber uses Copperhead’s revisionism (the female sheriff, the context of bigotry against alien species) to provide a large stage for a small story. It’s incredibly assured, incredibly controlled and an entirely awesome read.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Scott Godlewski; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 9 (July 2015)

Copperhead #9

Faerber does another Western standard this issue and it’s yet another success for Copperhead. The sheriff is leading a posse (her, three androids, one of the native guys–I think he’s a native guy, I can’t remember) to rescue Boo. It’s a standard Western. Only the androids have their own thing going on–two are bodyguards, one is the loner who’s been in the series hanging out and helping out.

And the sheriff’s human. And a woman. Faerber doesn’t mention those last two details; to make it work, he has to bake it into the comic. He does. With Godlewski’s expressions–not exactly detail to faces, but considered expressions–there’s os much to the posse’s hunt.

The sheriff isn’t the flashiest character in most of the issues, but she’s still the protagoni:ccst. Faerber is deliberate with how he showcases her. She’s responsibly reckless.

Copperhead continues to be a great read.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Scott Godlewski; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 8 (June 2015)

Copperhead #8

It’s an interesting issue of Copperhead. The opening has the off-world villain (the sheriff’s ex-husband?) escaping and its complications, but then Faerber spends the rest of the issue with Deputy Boo.

The rest of the issue belongs to the outlaws and Deputy Boo. They’ve kidnapped him, they’re setting a trap for the sheriff, there’s a lot of banter and desert high speed travel. Godlewski does a fine job with all of it and Faerber’s conversations are good, it’s just a little slow. Boo’s too comfortable as a secondary character. He’s not even the lead in an issue without the sheriff.

When Faerber does get to the soft cliffhanger, it’s clear he could’ve compressed the issue a bit and not lost anything. There’s no pay-off for Boo (or the reader), even though Faerber hints at it throughout.

It’s a fine enough issue of Copperhead, just a bridging one.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Scott Godlewski; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 7 (May 2015)

Copperhead #7

I resent this issue of Copperhead being so good. It’s an all-action issue, it probably reads in four or five minutes. Clara goes on a date, it gets interrupted by bad guys. Boo is in trouble. There’s some setup–with Faerber maybe even implying Clara’s ex-husband is in a maximum security prison somewhere–and then it’s just the date.

And it works. It works really well. Godlewski draws a fantastic action sequence when the bad guys show up (it’s actually the first time Copperhead, for all its successes, has had an excellent action sequence).

But it’s so short. It’s all setup for the cliffhanger resolution, which probably won’t take the whole next issue just because it’s an action-oriented standoff.

But it’s so good.

The little character moments for Boo and Clara are both good and the first part of her date’s really funny.

Copperhead continues its awesomeness.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Scott Godlewski; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 6 (April 2015)

Copperhead #6

It’s a new arc for Copperhead and Faerber’s off to a strong start.

The story moves ahead a bit–Clara and Boo are partners, Zeke’s got a babysitter and a secret friend in the fugitive android. There’s futuristic action in Western themes, there’s a lot of texture in the joining of sci-fi and Western in Godlewski’s art–Copperhead is working. Even if Godlewski’s full last pages are still a bad idea. Faerber’s attention to character detail is paying off. Even when it’s a gradual buildup, the comic feels worthwhile. Faerber’s not using accrued goodwill to get through this slow, first act issue, he’s still accruing more of it.

All of the elements play well together–female sheriff, Western town, sci-fi elements, single parent. Copperhead is perfectly arranged and it’s nice to see Faerber has a way of continuing the comic. Hopefully for quite some time and many issues.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Scott Godlewski; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 5 (January 2015)

Copperhead #5

Faerber wraps up the first arc–and the sheriff’s first case–in a rapid-fire issue of Copperhead. Most of the scenes only take three or four pages so there are a lot of them; they’re all fantastic, starting with the opening scene between the sheriff and the android.

There are a number of surprises in the issue, but Faerber handles them all gradually. His characters are thinking and acting; it’s all incredibly active. It’s an interesting way to handle a procedural because the solution to the crime isn’t as interesting as how the characters go about reacting to it, both the police solving it and the survivors processing it.

And Godlewski basically gets to recap all the settings of the previous issues–starting with some fast action in the desert–so the comic always looks great.

Faerber ends the arc with his cast in place. Copperhead’s great stuff.

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Scott Godlewski; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 4 (December 2014)

Copperhead #4

This issue of Copperhead returns the series to its previous level of quality, which is fantastic, because I really wanted to love this comic and it looks like I still can.

It’s a very busy issue. Faerber wasn’t busy last issue (the weak one); he’s busy here, he keeps Clara busy, he keeps Boo busy, he keeps the supporting cast busy. There’s stuff with the doctor–an actual scene before he gets drug into the issue’s primary subplot–and there’s stuff at the beginning, possible back story for Clara. It all works out beautifully.

I say possible back story because Faerber tells this story about her, which may or may not be true, then has a whole montage sequence showing it might be true. It’s just a cool way of plotting out the issue… getting the reader wondering, then busy with other stuff, then delivering.

Copperhead is back on track.

A 

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Scott Godlewski; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 3 (November 2014)

Copperhead #3

From the first page, there’s something off about this issue of Copperhead. Godlewski goes with a full page spread but of a really bland situation–actually, it’s supposed to be a tense situation but the full page spread makes it bland. Then the scene itself is bland, with Faerber eschewing logic and character.

The issue itself moves way too fast–there are three or four scenes, all of them part of the police investigation, none of them doing any character work or even establishing the setting. Godlewski gets to draw a few locations–there’s a mine, for example–but the comic rushes through them.

And then the finale reveals everything so far has been connected, which makes Copperhead feel really small and contrived. It’s still a decent comic, it’s just not on par with what Faerber and Godlewski have done until this point.

Hopefully the problems are just Copperhead hiccuping.

B 

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Scott Godlewski; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Point of Impact 1 (October 2012)

Point of Impact #1

Jay Faerber is really excited about Point of Impact, even if one doesn’t read his back matter about his inspirations. The enthusiasm is clear. Unfortunately, he’s enthusiastic about writing a really generic police procedural.

Everything is connected–a woman falls off a roof while her lover waits in a hotel room, but could she be somehow connected to the newspaper reporter Faerber is following around? And then there are the cops–the female cop knows her from yoga class and doesn’t want to give up the case. Her tough but understanding older black cop partner is there for her, but he’s not going to let her throw her career away.

Everything’s very predictable–plot, dialogue. Without artist Koray Kuranel’s high contrast style–deep blacks on pure white–Impact would disappear it’s so flimsy. Kuranel’s detail for people isn’t great but his buildings and his mood work.

It’s inoffensively bland.

C+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Koray Kuranel; letterer, Charles Pritchett; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 2 (October 2014)

Copperhead #2

How can this comic be so good? Faerber keeps up the fantastic mix of sci-fi and Western in the second issue, with a couple plots. The sheriff's son is in trouble in the desert from giant bugs, with the neighbor girl, and a mysterious protector (calling him Ishmael is a cute touch from Faerber).

So that plot is mostly danger, with Godlewski's art concentrating on keeping the reader on edge. The giant bugs aren't clear at first, they get introduced all. It moves very fast.

The investigation is the other plot, the sheriff and deputy Boo. The best moment in the comic is when Faerber reveals Boo isn't stupid; he's smart, but looks stupid and slow. It's a great, quiet scene in the issue.

There are some new characters, some unexpected scenes with already introduced scenes; Faerber just writes them all wonderfully and Godlewski's art is perfect for it all.

A 

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Scott Godlewski; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

Copperhead 1 (September 2014)

Copperhead #1

Copperhead is a Western. It has sci-fi and some elements of police procedural, but it’s a Western. It opens with a new sheriff coming to town on a train and having an unhelpful deputy. It’s a Western.

And it’s a darned good one.

Writer Jay Faerber operates with a “people is people” mentality. Even though the sheriff is human, her deputy and many (or most) of the townspeople are not. Undoubtedly, Faerber will explore the different alien races, but their personalities are what’s strongest now. So while artist Scott Godlewski draws all manner of aliens–cute, scary, in-between–Faerber’s writing defines them.

Well, and Godlewski’s great attention to expression.

Faerber gets a lot done, giving the sheriff a nemesis and a couple cases. She’s also got a kid who just can’t help being helpful. Again, very Western.

I wasn’t expecting anything from Copperhead but it’s an awesome comic.

A 

CREDITS

Writer, Jay Faerber; artist, Scott Godlewski; colorist, Ron Riley; letterer, Thomas Mauer; publisher, Image Comics.

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