The first issue of Jay Faerber and Scott Godlewski’s Copperhead was a fantastic start to the series. I was eagerly anticipating the second issue, hoping the team could replicate the magic of the first. While still a solid issue, the book doesn’t quite reach the heights that the first issue did.
The book opens on Zeke, the son of Sheriff Bronson, and his new friend Annie in the desert after dark. A foreboding silhouette looks down at them and the kids are understandably suspicious. However, it turns out there’s more to worry about in the desert than a single hunter when alien creatures attack. Simultaneously, Deputy Boo is investigating the scene of a mass murder while Sheriff Bronson gets the one doctor in town to try and save one of the victims.
The book does a good job of capturing the feel of a small frontier town in the far future. The setting feels familiar, but small touches keep the town of Copperhead unique. The fact that there’s only one doctor anywhere in the area fits nicely with the old western approach. Doctor Mosley’s introduction as the town drunk is humorous, but overplayed. It works against the story as you immediately dislike his character.
The storyline involving the children is probably the most interesting one. Unfortunately, most of the time spent on this storyline is taken up by wordless violence. There are some cool moments here and I’m interested to see them tied into the overall plot of the book.
Sheriff Bronson and the murder investigation storyline is a letdown in this issue because it doesn’t progress at all. It feels like the characters are just filling space rather than moving the story forward. There are some plot points that will undoubtedly pay off in future issues, but this issue doesn’t help make this issue feel significant. Deputy Boo is a humorous character and when he is used for that purpose it works well. Hopefully we can see more of him in future issues.
The art of the book is still quite good. Godlewski’s work seems to do more of the characterizing and the world-building in the book than the writing. It’s refreshing to be able to draw so much from the art and never have any of it explained explicitly. The page layouts are different than what I’m used to seeing and bring a frenetic energy to the action scenes that I really appreciated. Again, colorist Ron Riley does a great job of keeping the parts of this world cohesive throughout the book.
Copperhead #2 might not be as good of a book as the first issue, but it is still a solid entry in the new series. Faerber has laid the groundwork for the remainder of the story arc and I hope to see more payoff in future issues.