COMIC REVIEW: Copperhead Vol.1 – A New Sheriff In Town

Copperhead Possibly my ideal comic: kickass, tough-as-old-boots female protagonist, space western back drop and a Star Wars cantina mix of species.  Sheriff Clara Bronson is my new favourite and she’ll soon be yours too.

Welcome to Copperhead, a grimy mining town on the edge of a backwater planet. Single mom Clara Bronson is the new sheriff, and on her first day she’ll have to contend with a resentful deputy, a shady mining tycoon, and a family of alien hillbillies. And did we mention the massacre?

Writer JAY FAERBER and the art team of SCOTT GODLEWSKI & RON RILEY bring you this gritty 24th Century Western.

As you are all now well aware, I’m a sucker for a comic or TV show/film with a kickass female protagonist and when I heard about Copperhead, it was no exception.  I’m also a complete sucker for a space western and this one is set in the 24th century, dusty backwater towns, gunslingers n’all.  There is a tiny hint of Judge Dredd about Copperhead (which is a good thing), what with the Badlands back drop and mix of human, aliens and artificial humans, as well as the seeming disregard for the law and obvious corruption.

It’s a fresh start for Clara and her son Zeke, a fresh start in the back of beyond and you get the feeling that Clara is looking for a quiet life, a boring life even.  It’s hinted at that there has been a war, but between who, we’re yet to find out.  Artificial humans were created to fight alongside humans and are now considered untrustworthy and something to be wary off.  Despite the fact that they are now afforded pretty much all the same rights as humans, something obviously happened after the war to make people suspicious of them.

Having a child in tow is clearly hard, especially when you’re the sole sheriff of a small, back water town, but Clara manages, just.  Zeke is obviously used to being left at home whilst Clara heads out to fight crime, but that doesn’t mean he has to like it.  Most of the time he does what he’d told, but only most of the time.  When he disobeys his monther, it brings a stranger into their lives, a stranger that Clara is wary of and that just adds to the need to know that back story of not only Clara, but the Arties (Artificial Humas).  The only hints at what happened with the war is when Clara’s Deputy Sheriff affectionately nicknamed Boo (a huge, furry rabbit type creature) is chasing down a suspect and has flashbacks to what is clearly a battle.  I want more of this because I need to know what happened.  The War was clearly huge and involved every species across a wide expanse of space.

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There is also a hint of Star Wars in this comic, the obvious one being the whole space western theme and the mix of species.  All of these are good things though as despite Copperhead being a new comic, it’s also very familiar, and that ensures that you’re immediately gripped from the first page.  It’s almost a comforting familiarity.  Think about all your favourite space western themed comics and films and put a female in the lead.  That’s Copperhead.  Its colour palette and style set the scene perfectly and you immediately feel as though you’re on another planet somewhere.  The style is just right: stark as you would imagine a remote planetary back water would be, as well has having that sun parched, desert like backdrop that we’ve come to know and love when reading post-apocalyptic comics.



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So far, Copperhead has me totally gripped.  Clara is a well-rounded, intriguing and hard-as-nails leading lady.  There is clearly so much more to her: Where has she been?  What happened to her during the war?  Was she always this tough or did the war make her that way?  What I am really hoping for though is that there won’t be a love interest or past lover that comes back.  Call me unromantic, but Clara’s character is perfect as she is.  She doesn’t need a love interest to round out her character at all.  By all means, introduce a partner/lover from her past as back story, but please, please don’t give her a love interest.  Unless of course he completely worships the ground that badass Sheriff Bronson walks on and treats her like a queen.  I couldn’t handle her character being spoilt with an angst ridden love story where the man reduces Clara to the classic tough female character who breaks down and goes all wibbly for the strong male love interest who swoops in to save her.  Clara deserves an equal and she would totally be the one doing the swooping.

On an end note, I love this comic so much that Clara is going on my cosplay To Do list for later this year so that I can have her ready for the start of the 2016 Con season.  It’s not often that a character gets under my skin enough to make the list, so it goes to show you just how good this comic is.

Go read it.  You won’t regret it.

Title: Copperhead

Created By: Jay Faerber & Scott Godlewski

Publisher: Image Comics

Rating:  4.5/5


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