This month's issue of Copperhead closes out the latest arc by finally propelling a couple of plot lines forward leaving us with a much-anticipated cliffhanger.
Writer: Jay Faerber
Artist: Drew Moss
Colorist: Ron Riley
Letterer: Thomas Mauer
Publisher: Image Comics
Sheriff Clara Bronson has to enlist the help of Ishmael to track down the mayor's killer. The good doctor turned de facto coroner makes a stunning revelation about the cause of the mayor's death and has to develop an antidote. It's a race against time to find the killer before he or she skips town. Jay Faerber begins to tie up some loose story lines that have been drawn out. The mysterious assassin is revealed and Boo finally breaks free from the manipulations of Hickory.
This arc has been a little uneven. Sometimes great but oftentimes meandering and illogically plotted. Boo being easily manipulated and turning his back on his job and Clara didn't ring entirely true. He then makes another 180 degree turn in this issue. Can he trusted going forward or will he return to being the acting mayor and under Hickory's influence? Clara's felonious ex finally arrives in Copperhead but his journey there was so strung out I've forgotten why I should care. Ishmael is an interesting character but hangs out in the fringes of society and this series. He seems to be a friend/mentor to Clara's son but is only called upon out of desperation. It seems there's more that could be done with that character.
I've read Copperhead from the beginning and I've grown fond of the characters and see a lot of storytelling potential. It's the reason that I've become more critical of this latest arc that has stunted their development. Faerber is a talented writer that produces and writes for CBS' 'Zoo' so I can imagine he being distracted from the comic. The writing sometimes seems that way, giving way to convenient plot turns and introducing new characters that don't much matter. It doesn't feel thoroughly thought out and sometimes rushed in its execution.
The art remains solid as Drew Moss continues to do original artist Scott Godlewski justice by producing some sharp designs and well choreographed action. Ron Riley stills enriches every page with his vibrant color schemes and fleshes out an engaging and irresistible landscape of varied hues. There's no question that Copperhead is continually one of the best looking comics made today.
'Copperhead' #14 is a perfectly serviceable ending to the latest arc and propels the story where it should have been earlier. It's the conversion of several story lines finally colliding that should light a storytelling fire into the next arc. After an uneven start to 2017, I'm hoping Copperhead will be tighter-scripted, focused, and with better character development going forward.