It’s unfortunate that when creators pull off a story that it sometimes takes a while to appreciate just how truly kickass the work is. After my first reading of Copperhead #3, I thought ‘Well that was fun,’ and closed the file on my digital reader. Rereading it for this review, I realized that I had short-changed Faerber and Godlewski who continue to tell a story that continues its focus on its first mystery while slowly building out the world of Copperhead sans lengthy exposition. Copperhead keeps up the pace this issue, furthering the Sewell massacre case as Clare tries to determine what information Missus Sewell is withholding from her and Deputy Boo. After briefly interrogating Ishmael about his possible involvement in the Sewell massacre (during which we learn of Ishmael’s species, the Arties, creation as soldiers during an intergalactic war), Clare releases him. While Boo babysits Zeke, Clare tails Missus Sewell who she releases with the hopes that she’ll led Clare to a possible suspect.
Here we get one of the most interesting set of pages as Godlewski takes us through the chase between Clare and Missus Sewell, Faerber smart enough to leave things quiet and trust that the reader gets what’s going on as Clare follows Sewell through a factory, the latter pushing aside anyone silly enough to get in the grieving mother’s way. Wordlessly, we gain some great insight into Clare’s detective skills as she observes the scene and determines Sewell’s next move. It moves briskly without ever feeling superfluous and leads to another great standoff that’s left unresolved this issue.
Godlewski does stellar work in his portrayal of Clare who appears as a strong, no nonsense cop in most instances, such as the aforementioned chase scene, but allowing vulnerability to seep in whenever concerned about her son or sympathizing with Missus Sewell. The transitions between those states always ouccurs naturally, and never seemingly just for dramatic effect. There’s a powerful moment where Clare moves from scolding Zeke for leaving their home to her embracing him.
In addition to the heavier detective work, the team squeezes in a page between Zeke and Boo that develops their relationship in a humorous fashion. I dig how annoying Faerber makes Zeke in this scene as he assaults Boo with questions, Boo responding in a deadpan fashion to all, including telling Zeke that a particular device melts the faces of anyone under seventeen years old. It’ll be interesting to see whether Boo warms up to the kid in future issues, but for now it’s great that this comic has found a source of levity in what’s otherwise dramatic fare.
Copperhead continues to be a uniquely illustrated comic that I look forward to reading each month with a pacing that never stalls, and characters who seem rich for continued exploration. Although the final cliffhanger wasn’t much of a surprise, it’ll be interesting to see whether the Sewell massacre mystery ties into other shenanigans going on in this outbound town.
Writer: Jay Faerber Artist: Scott Godlewski Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 11/12/14 Format: Print/Digital