REVIEW: Copperhead #1

Copperhead #1
Created by: Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski
Written by: Jay Faerber
Art by: Scott Godlewski
Colors by: Ron Riley
Letters by: Thomas Mauer

Synopsis: In a future-not-too-distant, humanity has finally left the home-world for greener planets. Mostly. Copperhead isn’t exactly green, but it is another world. A frontier planet full of outlaws and aliens, in serious need of law and order. Enter Sheriff Bronson, a tough cop and mother, seeking a fresh start in the “new west”. Better be careful Sheriff, Copperhead can be a little venomous.

Copperhead #1 is, in the words of co-creator Scott Godlewski “…a Western, not a sci-fi book.” And that subtle genre focus makes much of the difference in the appeal of this book. Faerber has committed to telling a character-driven story sprinkled with elements of sci-fi (aliens, synthetic lifeforms, SPACESHIPS) that nonetheless feels more like a traditional spaghetti western than anything else.

The story in the first issue centers around the newly appointed sheriff of Copperhead, Clara Bronson (names don’t get much more old west-y than “Clara” do they?) and her burgeoning relationships with the colorful townsfolk. Right off the bat Faerber lets us know that Bronson is no nonsense via a rowdy interaction on her train ride into town. And really any officer of the law should be a little rough and tumble on a border planet, or town, shouldn’t they?

Of course, there is initial resistance to Bronson’s role as an authority figure in town, but not necessarily because of the stereotypically sexist reasons. Her partner, Deputy Budroxifinicus feels slighted by the decision to give an off-worlder the the senior law position in his town, for various reasons. The exchange between Bronson and Budroxifinicus is a microcosm of the larger societal issues faced in our own time and galaxy; race, class, post-colonial and post-imperial mindsets that don’t always make for the easiest or friendliest of connections between conqueror and conquered.

Godlewski’s artwork is perfect for this book. It has a classic, unpolished (not unfinished) look, thin lines and light shading. Riley’s colors are understated but by no means muted; something more than pastel, most are warm hues, oranges and yellows, with the occasional cool green or blue thrown in. As for the letters, the most often overlooked part of a comic’s artwork (as they usually should be) Mauer’s work fits well with concept and story.

All-in-all Copperhead #1 is a solid piece of story-telling. If you are a fan of Whedon’s Firefly/Serenity projects, then this book is definitely for you.

4/5 stars

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By Adam Cadmon

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