After a fantastic opening issue, Copperhead returns for its second issue. Is it good?
Copperhead #2 (Image Comics)
The story begins with Sheriff Bronson’s son and his friend being greeted by the mysterious figure from the end of the last issue. As you probably already guessed, he’s not the thing lurking around in the dark they should be afraid of. Fortunately for us, the encounter leads to an awesome fight scene full of bullets and bug guts.
Meanwhile, Bronson and Boo’s murder investigation is interrupted by one of the victims turning out to be alive. While the survivor is getting patched up the town’s drunkard doctor, a possible motivation for the brutal massacre is discovered that raises even more questions about why it occurred.
The last third of the book sees Bronson undertaking two of the most stressful acts a law enforcement officer/mother can experience: Breaking the news of a death to a surviving family member (who she locked up herself) and arriving home to find her son missing.
The issue ends with a vague (and somewhat lame) cliffhanger, but also promises to start answering more questions about the universe in which Copperhead resides.
Is It Good?
At the end of the book, writer Jay Faerber explains that this issue was created via the Marvel Method. This production process can often result in the scripter kicking the artist in the balls before making them do most of the story work along with the penciling duties.
For Copperhead #2, however, I would have never guessed that the Marvel Method was used. Perhaps Faerber and Scott Godlewski are just that in tune with each other to make it work…or maybe I’m being too much of a critical douche about a way of creating comics that has been around for decades.
The scene with Bronson speaking to the mother of the murder victims, for example, is as powerfully framed and executed as any “screenplay style” script you’ll ever see.
But whatever the case, Copperhead #2 succeeds in keeping the great momentum of the first issue while moving the story forward in new and fascinating directions. The murder mystery, the backstory of Copperhead’s society, and the revelation of the planet’s deadly indigineous life have me wishing I could read issue #3 immediately.
My only quibble is with the ending. It isn’t bad, necessarily, but it never feels right to me when the cliffhangers from within an issue’s narrative completely overshadow the one that ends it.
But that sin is easily forgiven by the previously mentioned attributes, along with Faeber’s wonderful dialogue/chemistry between Bronson and Boo and Godlewski’s gorgeous pencils. If you haven’t taken a trip to Copperhead yet, then it’s time to board the bandwagon before it gets full.