One of my secret joys of reading indie comics is the surprise they always seem to invoke when they are released. Generally they have obtuse schedules or at the very least get very little warning when they hit the stands. It’s like a surprise Christmas! Last week Michel Fiffe’s series Copra released its latest issue and I’ve dug the hell out of the entire series. We’re nearing the end of this series, so, is it good?
Copra #10 (Copra Press)
Check out our review of Copra #9 here.
For those of you new to this series, you’re in luck as this issue opens with a handy summary page to catch you up. It’s simple enough when you look at it at a high level: a piece of shrapnel from another dimension has been giving the superhero team Copra a world of trouble, they’ve lost members and made allies, but at the same time have created a new enemy from this alternate dimension. Last issue ended with the heroes coming back from this alternate dimension and potentially getting lost on their way.
Last month I voiced my impatience with the “why” in this overarching story, in particular because I was starting to get confused as to what was driving these characters in the first place. This issue goes a long way to ground it in reality with a slower and more methodical look at two of the heroes.
One reason it reads so methodically is because it gets inside a characters head, to the point where you’re living and breathing every moment. This gives the book a detective caper sort of feel. You’re inside their head no matter how unimportant the moment may seem. This makes the read a little more introspective and character driven than previous issues. Based on Fiffe’s work in the past, I expect a complete explosion of action in the next issue. This isn’t a bore by any means, it’s just a bit slower in pacing than we’ve seen in the previous issues.
Dig the wrist gun. CAN YOU DIG IT? Oh, and the really neat use of different art styles per panel.
Once again, I’m completely blown away by Fiffe’s art. Pages blend different elements, like watercolor and ink, to imbue different textures to the tell the story at its fullest. What does this mean for the reader? Well, we’re privy to what might be the furthest a comic can take the reader. Instead of straight lines we’re getting a combination of things that makes the experience original from page to page. This issue used a lot less color than in previous issues, with most of the color used on characters themselves, or a touch of color in the sky here and there. I get the impression this was done to further ground the story or at the very least draw the reader’s attention to the characters.
There is one exciting action sequence as well that at its base level isn’t much more than a simple fight between two characters. Fiffe uses techniques and layouts that make it pop and forces your imagination to jump on for the ride. Something like Spider-Man would give you an action sequence to show the reader where the characters are spatially, whereas Fiffe utilizes touches, like bubbles over the forehead to show they are groggy, to enhance the action. How I know this art is good is very simple and that’s the fact that every panel could be given paragraphs describing what it’s doing. You can’t say that for most comics these days.
Note the red rectangle highlighting the pressure point. Nice touch.
- Things are starting to become clear
- So the art is fucking rad, as always
- Not exactly sure where things are going
Copra is a very special read, particularly because it’s rife with visual surprises. No matter how the story tickles you — for some maybe it might not be their cup of tea — the art will always hold some touch that’ll spark you into excitement. If you’re a lover of comics I can’t see why you wouldn’t be reading this book.
Is It Good?
Yes. Go buy it here, dummies!