COPPERHEAD VOL. 1
Writer: Jay Faerber Artist: Scott Godlewski Colorist: Ron Riley Letterer: Thomas Mauer Publisher: Image comics
7 artificial humans out of 10
Space, a vast and lawless frontier. On the edge of a backwater planet in the far reaches, lies the grimy mining town of Copperhead. Lacking proper enforcement for its operations, it is getting a new sheriff. Enter Clara Bronson, with her son Zeke in tow, taking her first steps into town, here to enforce her own brand of law and order. Between a shady mining tycoon, a resentful deputy, and rising tensions between alien hillbillies, it’ll be a hell of a first day. Written by Jay Faerber and illustrated by Scott Godlewski, Copperhead is the old west meets deep space, in one woman’s crusade to settle somewhere new.
Over the course of these initial five issues, Clara is introduced to here new assignment in this nearly forgotten settlement. You immediately begin to wonder the state of this world the creative team is building, from discussions of a war, artificial humans, bizarre alien creatures, and tried-and-true old west story tropes. Clara is hoping for a “fresh start” for her and her son and must win over her new deputy Budroxifinicus aka Boo, a large hairy mammal looking alien, as he tries to keep the peace. We slowly meet the other players involved, from the mine owner Benjamin Hickory, a stand in on the stereotypical white southern plantation owner trope, and the green cyclops that inhabit the outskirts, who become involved in a murder/disappearance plot that drives this initial volume.
I was introduced to read this series when someone was proposing a series of books with badass female leads. Clara fits this mold perfectly, doubling as a tough sheriff investigating the crimes of the town and trying to not be double crossed, as well as keep her son safe on a hostile new world. Boo starts out as a grumpy and stoic alien but begins to soften a bit as he and Clara work together. Zeke even becomes friends with the neighbor Annie, and as they are searching for her dog Hugo, run into a lone Artificial human aka Artie out in the wild.
Between a manhunt for the culprit behind an entire alien clan’s murder, the lone Artie roaming with unknown motives, and danger lurking around every corner, this first volume whets your appetite for a amalgam between westerns and sci-fi beats in a galaxy far away. Clara has her work cut out for her; does she have what it takes to uphold the law so far from home?