Copperhead is probably my favorite book on the stands right now. I feel like I should get that out of the way because I am biased, and I’m not ashamed to say so. I’d certainly heard good things about Faerber before Copperhead, but it was my introduction to his writing. The rumors were well-founded. He’s excellent at world building, his dialogue is spot on, and I never hear the writer’s voice coming through in a distracting way (*cough-Brian K. Vaughan-cough*). The Western-inspired world of Copperhead is one I want to spend time in, and, while it’s certainly not light-hearted, it makes me smile every issue. Faerber’s best attributes remind me of Joss Whedon.
The characters really feel fully formed. This series provides so many throw-away characters that deserve their own series. The Sheriff stands out in a cluttered, post-Bendis comic world of lady cops. She’s a great lead and excellent “straight man” foil for some of the more eccentric characters in the book. And can I just say how much I love the sheriff/Doc conversations? They remind me of my favorite parts of HBO’s Deadwood, and I friggin’ love HBO’s Deadwood. I don’t want to forget about Ishmael, though. He’s the secret sauce in this tasty comic book sandwich. Well-written robot characters are special, and he’s one of my favorites.
The art was more of a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t familiar with the penciler, and was pretty happy with Godlewski, but Moss (who took over a couple issues ago) really blew me away here. His style is very Garney-esque (which is definitely a compliment), and his images are simply drawn, but pack a punch. He gives an absolute clinic on how to do a talking heads scene with the phone call between Ishmael and the Sheriff. Also, the nod to Judge Dredd was appreciated. The action was good, and the more mundane stuff was well handled. Moss placed himself firmly on my radar as an artist to watch.
I’m mixed on the reveal at the end. I think it was well-timed in the overall arc of the story, but it came out of nowhere and felt a bit like a soap opera cliffhanger. It’s a small gripe, but a gripe nonetheless. Once again though, the art on that last page splash was awesome.
This issue is a great reminder of why I love this series. Five out of five stars.