I think it was sometime last year when I came across this one. The best comics list of 2014 or maybe it was 2013 had just been released so I checked it out. The list I was looking at had some comic called Copra, which I had never heard of, the rest of the list I had more or less heard about the other comics. Immediately I was intrigued as the title was new and certainly didn’t give any indication as to what the story was about. So I began searching and trying to figure out what this comic was. Quickly I found that the internet was much abuzz about this new story, honestly I could not find anyone saying anything bad about it, so I knew I had to check it out. It took me a while, months in fact, but I was finally able to track down a trade that collected the first six issues from a small comic printing shop in New York.
Michel Fiffe is brand new to the comic’s scene, and Copra is his first comic. Surprisingly he is the writer as well as the artist on the comic. Last I checked there are like over 20 issues out of Copra, so that is an incredible amount of time spent on this project. In 2013 he was a writer on the Marvel series All New Ultimates. From what I have gathered he only wrote for this title for a short time, regardless I am very impressed that he not only created his own comic but worked for Marvel for a short time, pretty cool! He is also a part of Act-I-Vate, which I have never heard of, but seems to just be a group of artist that creates web comics for fun. It seems to be a place where new artist go and show off their work, at least that is what I gathered. I can honestly say that I am jealous of Michel and his success. It is really cool to see someone have this much success with his own comic and idea.
The story is about a group of outlaw superheroes who are part of a secret government team, who are called in from time to time to handle weird situations. A mysterious object appears from seemingly nowhere and the team is called in to check it out. Upon retrieving the object they are attacked by a villain known as Vitas who steals the object and uses its power to destroy a small town killing everyone that lives there. From there the team must regroup and call on some of its older members to come back and help them stop Vitas before it’s too late and unleashes the full power of the object.
I think this story is the tale of two different aspects, in my opinion, so I will look at both. First I want to say how creative Fiffe is in both his writing and his art style for the book. He has essentially somehow made a self-published book popular and in the mainstream. That does not happen very often to my knowledge. The story is very unique at times but at other times very cliché, but again this guy wrote and drew this whole book himself.
With that being said, and maybe this is a little of my jealously coming out at the success this story has had, but I really did not see anything that great about this one. Yeah it was a little different, but honestly it was more of the same. I also felt the story was missing some things that would pop up later that did not seem to flow as nicely as it should. I will say that I could have very easily missed these, so I am not sure. Either way I thought the story was lack luster at best and nothing to get too excited about in my opinion. Now here is the kicker, after seeing how highly rated this book was I was certainly expecting something truly spectacular, but in the end I was left wanting. Perhaps that is the reason I did not care for it as much as I should have is because I was expecting more, that is the problem with expectations, when you have them you are almost certainly going to be let down.
It was interesting to see some of the characters in this one, and how closely they resemble some of the Marvel characters. While they are loose comparisons at best I felt it was still easy to pick out the Dr. Strange character and the Iron Man character the others are fairly unique but still nothing so different that I had never seen before. I hate to sit here and bash this story and I certainly do not want to do that, but I just did not feel it was that great by any stretch of the imagination. I cannot for the life of me figure out how it was rated so highly on the best of 2013 list or whatever list it appeared on. Still trying to figure that one out. I will say that despite my not liking the story I will give credit where it is due and Fiffe is wildly talented, again he wrote, drew, colored, and lettered this entire series himself. So that I am still very impressed by.
The artwork in this one is very crude and rudimentary, but honestly I did not mind it. It was something very different than I am use to, but it worked well. The style reminded me a lot of the cartoon Ugly Americans on CC a few years back. Apparently I am the only one that liked that show as it is no longer on, but I think the style here is very similar. The real selling point of artwork and in my opinion the entire book, are the fight scenes, I thought they were really cool and was not expecting much based on the art style but I was blown away by how cool and interactive they were. This is one area where Fife did an excellent job, and one that I was not expecting. The page layouts were better than average, and at the end of the day I was quite impressed with them. Every page seemed to be a differnt layout, and I will say that Fiffe did a great job with the page layouts. The colors were very different, and I think he used colored pencil to color pretty much the entire book. I am not sure, and there is nothing wrong with this but it does give a very different aspect to the artwork, plus you do not get the rich pop of the page color that other techniques offer, still though given the artwork style I think this color technique works just fine.
All in all, I have to say that I was a little disappointed with this one. Mostly because I think I went into this with too high of expectations. The story really never took off to me and I was mostly uninterested through the whole book. Also I felt that there were some missing transition scenes that would have made the story flow better. The artwork, although a bit rudimentary, did give a very different aspect to the norm of what I am use to seeing, and I thoroughly enjoyed the fight scenes which still make me smile when thinking about them. The other thing with this one is that you may have a hard time getting an actual paper copy of this book. I am not sure if is I available digitally, but you may be waiting a long time to get your hands on a physical copy. I am going to recommend this for a couple of reasons. The first being Michel is doing what I would love to do and he is making it, so I want to support the little guy, plus you have to respect the amount of time and effort he has put into this. So for those reasons you need to check it out, it did not appeal to me, but don’t let that stop you.