4 out of 5
Yeah yeah, I’m making up my own sequencing: Fiffe kept referring to the next issue as ‘the prelude to Ochizon,’ and then the next issue, and then issue 6 was actually called that but still needed the prior to issues as setup… so we’re bundling all of these together as one big prelude to a forthcoming miniseries which will have a big ol’ showdown, I guesses.
I’m really glad Fiffe has returned to flesh out Ochizon. Going by his lil’ blurbs in the backmatter, he’s been intending this for a while, which makes me excited to go back and read the issues when Ochizon was just this mysterious force that folks wanted to use to exercise some evil bad guy power (really, I’ll take any reason for going back to reread Copra, as it’s great to experience the way the series and its creator has / have grown and changed over the years); now, according to Guthrie, its tied to a ritual from her homeworld, which her family is traveling to forcefully subject her to – memories she’s since recovered since being in Rax’s dimension.
Issue 4 is Fiffe laying this out, and really functioning on all gears, expositing like a champ and then jumping between characters and subplots to keep us in touch with everyone’s current state of affairs. Issue 5 hiccups into the fray: some transported villains are used as beacons to – I guess – call forth Ochizon, and then Fiffe’s Orion proxy busts on to the scene, hunting for Guthie, leading to… issue 6’s all splash, all silent smackdown when ‘the heads of Ochizon’ assemble and cause mass destruction.
While book 6 is undeniably cool – just the most amazing artwork – it admittedly sacrifices some story for spectacle, and though Copra has always been a pretty fast-moving book, I would’ve taken one more story based “prelude” and maybe saved the visual fireworks for the Ochizon series… although I can never guess the directions Michel will take us in, so I might eat those words when I get to whatever wows await us in those issues.
But that nit aside, the gist of the story is still very clear, and the two beats preceding the splash/silent book have been some of Fiffe’s best and most balanced work to date.