Copra vol. 2 (#1 – 3) – Michel Fiffe

4 out of 5

Image – now the home of Copra, hence its ‘volume 2’ – is publishing issues 1 – 5 as ‘Act Six’ of the series, but Fiffe’s comments on the letters’ page suggests that this arc ends with 4.  …And then I’m going to deny them both (yes, the creator as well) by considering just the first three issues the story, as 4 really seems like mostly setup to me.

Copra has sent us off on a couple of wording ending / saving missions with different, forever-squabbling iterations of our on-again / off-again crew of heroes and sorta heroes.  If you note a lot of inbetween descriptions there, well, that’s the fun of the way Fiffe was presented Copra, in which no one’s ever really on one side or another; it just so happens that people fall in with one another while it makes sense, and then even when it doesn’t, you have alternate dimensions and other-worldly baddies to deal with.

Volume 2 comes at a good point for new readers but also doesn’t slow down on where we were before, which is a mighty accomplishment: one member of Copra has seemingly turned, leading to a showdown (stretching across these three issues) starting in a motel and then heading in to a laboratory, tying back in to some characters from what seemed like a tossaway fight early in the series.  Thanks to a super helpful issue-by-issue recap from Fiffe in book 1, you get the gist that this is supposed to be “down time” for most of our leads, and instead they have this sudden reemerged threat to deal with, which isn’t on the scope of the previous adventures – which is why it’s a good lead-in fight – but has stakes because it’s personal, and because Michel shows us that even one-off squabbles can cause our squad to drop members.

Joining up with Image hasn’t tainted Fiffe’s style or book presentation in any way.  Cover to cover, it still looks and feels like Copra, just on magazine-stand paper stock, and he picks up a codesigner for the book with Adam Pruett (who isn’t stepping on toes here – there’s no mistaking this for any series other than Copra.)  The last self-published books – the Vs. series – got a little loose in the execution by my opinion, so I was happy to see Fiffe back in full force here, now fully in charge of how and when he applies detailing and his heavy inks and psychedelic colors versus flatter images, fine lines, and his usual pastel range of colors.  He perhaps over-uses a technique where he draws a character’s limb or body multiple times as outlines to show their movement – it just ends up looking like they have several arms, unfortunately – but the dude is always tweaking his style, and I encourage that to continue.

The character work and choreogprahy here are great Copra stuff, although some cutaways to moments likely important in the next arc are a little clunky.  I do love that Fiffe has continued with the volume one numbering in his signature on the covers, and I hope he keeps that up.