Written by Jay Faerber
Art by Scott Godlewski
Colors by Ron Riley
Letters by Thomas Mauer
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: 9/10/2014
Clara Bronson is the new sheriff of the small mining town of Copperhead. She and her young son have traveled to start a new life, a fresh life, and Copperhead is the best they can do. Why Copperhead? Only time will tell, and if the first issue of this new series by Jay Faerber, Scott Godlewski, Ron Riley, and Thomas Mauer can give readers is that life in Copperhead will be anything but boring while Sheriff Bronson gets to that answer.
Jay Faerber writes in the back matter of this issue that this book is a Western book that just happens to take place on an alien planet. There’s really no other way to describe this book that with that statement. Reading through the issue, if you replace all of the aliens with the typical Western stereotypes you would have a fairly unaltered story and that’s fascinating. In the past the attempts to do a sci-fi Western series has resulted in a need to make it more sci-fi than Western and thus losing that element of the Western genre and just becoming a sci-fi series. Faerber never falls into that trap with this first issue. There are a lot of sci-fi elements in this first issue, but at the core of the story is a new sheriff in unfamiliar territory trying to establish herself as the new authority.
While the sci-fi element is downplayed in the writing, Scott Godlewski opens himself up and really pours himself out on to these pages. There’s little doubt that we’re on Earth or in the present day with the various aliens life in the town of Copperhead. Godlewski has a nice lean look to a lot of his character designs that provide a unique look to this series. Much like Faerber’s writing, Godlewski doesn’t rely on the sci-fi elements of the book to define what he’s putting down on the page. There is a lot of storytelling in his panels and pages and it is nice to see. Moments when Clara’s expressions really convey her words almost more than the words in the dialogue are great and help make this book really good.
The color palette used in this issue by Ron Riley have that sandy and gritty texture to the pages as if it is laying on top of the page other than in the page. Readers may find themselves brushing away the grit on the page only to find it being part of the coloring. Riley’s colors work extremely well with Godlewski’s linework and breathes that life into the movement of this world.
Thomas Mauer’s lettering is strong throughout the issue. Lettering is some time the thankless part of creating comics, and Mauer definitely deserves the praise for the work in this issue. He uses his lettering to draw the reader’s eye to a point on the page and helps guide them through the issue. The letters are as much part of the art of the comic as the lines and colors. They help frame and tell the story.
“Copperhead” #1 is a truly enjoyable comic book that hits new readers squarely in the face with it’s craftsmanship in the writing and art. It is the whole package. A definite must read for any comic book fan.