Written by guest contributor Lance Lambert
This month seemed extra-long and boring, even with some vacation time I wasn’t fulfilled. I realized it must be the long wait for Copperhead #9. Really, it’s been no longer than normal but I just couldn’t wait to read it. I have loved this book from the beginning and as much as I try to not lead this review with praise, I just had to. It’s a wonderful book and this week keeps the story moving with force.
Clay escaped at the end of issue #8 and even though Clara has no clue, there’s others on his tracks. Lieutenant Ford decides he needs to reach Clay’s destination before he does and that just happens to be Jasper, the planet where Clara resides. There’s so much more to come with this part of the story. I found myself having no clue that so much was going on. I mean that in the most positive way. Faerber has developed many conflicts and is able to put some aside while still managing to progress each plot line.
Boo is still captive and Clara has to make some moves to get her deputy back. Of course, you all know what that means, she has to assemble a posse. If you’re anything like me any time there’s a round-up and a search for some outlaws, I’m stoked. I mean this book is action packed and if you like westerns there’s nothing better. It’s a shout out to the greats like Magnificent Seven. To add to the beauty we start to see some characters develop. Clara has gotten a group consisting of Ishmael, two other androids, and Cletus. Up to this point Clara has had a difficult time dealing with the new position. She’s managed to handle it well, yet she still is an outsider trying to maintain some authority. In this issue her ability to lead is once again put to the test. She finds that maybe Cletus following along is more of problem. However, Cletus is willing to prove himself. Through Godlewski’s art throughout the scene, one can see her emotions to his response without leaning too much on dialogue. Further on, Clara has to deal with the hired androids who have their own way of doing things. Once again, we see Clara make a decision. Honest characters are good characters. That’s exactly what I see in these scenes with Clara. She is not outside of time, as a leader she makes her best reasoned decision in the moment. There’s more to showing how she handles them and their consequences.
In the middle of all of this, there’s a moral question on the more science fiction front, it is with the androids and Ishmael (also an android and also a bad ass). They confront Ishmael, questioning his motives for helping the sheriff without pay. The conversation of empathy in regards to inorganic life has not revealed itself. So yeah it’s been done before, but Faeber confronts it with integrity. Ishmael seems to hide his true thoughts on the question by answering it in ways the android would normally respond. The androids counter with the thoughts that they are all made the same with the same background “not like the humans”. Until Ishmael shows some resistance saying “Guess I lost a lot in the war…Maybe even my basic nature”. These are huge questions. Are we much different from the androids? They seem to not think so. The question of basic nature is a very common human discussion as well as in Ishmael’s thought process. I won’t take this much further and leave it you to read the issue and see where the questions go. I know that I am anticipating Faerber's attempt to answer.
The Copperhead team continues to create a story that after the smoke clears and the tumble weeds roll, stands unharmed with a glance to readers that has Clint Eastwood shaking in his boots. There are tough questions, difficult decisions and lots of gunfire. Clara is an exceptional protagonist, but there other characters equally as interesting. Copperhead #9 is a must buy and if you haven’t picked up the first 8 you might as well save yourself the extra trip. Next month Copperhead #10 seals the end of another arc and I can’t wait.