Genre fusions can be hit or miss, but the blend of sci-fi and Western in COPPERHEAD feels just right. When it comes down to it, execution is everything, and this new series from Image is an enjoyable read that does just the right amount of nodding to its influences while carving out its own story.
There are a lot of interesting plays on concepts we're used to -- most notably, casting a young mother as the new-sheriff-running-from-the-past, in lieu of the more generic grizzled lone wolf type. It's interesting to see bits of her character come out; Faerber is doing a great job of balancing her maternal side with her all-business law enforcement side, allowing neither to dominate her identity.
COPPERHEAD is set in a mining town that feels appropriate to both the sci-fi and Western aesthetics, and the art is perfectly textured and dusty. I'm enjoying the diversity of creatures (both alien and humanoid), and the mingling of old and new (shotguns and mag-lev trains). Scott Godlewski has an excellent sense of camera angle and motion, and knows when to break panel dramatically.
There's one thing that nips at my ability to connect to Clara, and it's subtle but present. At least twice in this issue, she uses a nickname that the recipient doesn't like, and she continues to go with it. My initial impression of her is soured by the fact that I think she's rude, and it's at odds with the fact that I want to root for her for every reason outside of that. I guess I'm okay with flawed heroes as a concept, but don't love when one of those flaws is inconsideration?
The backmatter in COPPERHEAD tells us that the book was initially pitched as "Deadwood in space," and it's not a bad way to look at this title. It's got classic Western elements fused with sci-fi staples, and the title is off to a strong start. I'm interested in seeing where things go, both in terms of worldbuilding and character development, since there's rich potential all around.