COPRA Vol 1 & 2 (Issues 1-6)
Written by: Michel Fiffe
Art by: Michel Fiffe
I’ve seen, read and listened to independent comic book artists or writers lament over the hardships of putting out their product. There are entire articles about how hard it is to break into the comic book world from either the writing, illustrating or producing standpoint. But for one artist (in the very complete and literal sense of the term), Michel Fiffe has done a breathtaking job of all the above. COPRA Volumes 1 & 2 (issues 1-6) are the most exciting and engaging panels I have read in a very long time. COPRA, as exuberantly explained to me by another comic book artist, is “A love letter to the original Suicide Squad”. (Fiffe has just released issue 24, and it is available on his site http://michelfiffe.com/comics/ )
Copra, the word is defined as the dried meat or kernel of the coconut used to extract coconut oil. This raw dried meat of the fruit, in my own interpretation, is what this comic book is as a metaphor. Back in the original Suicide Squad days, there was a carefull script written to humanize the obscure faces and to show the less appealing jobs and missions in the comic universe. This comic, COPRA, can be broken down into that raw kernel of a plot.
COPRA is about a team of the unwanted super powered beings of the world sent out by their government to do the unappealing work that no one wants to stain their hands with. In typical government fashion, there are some backstabbings as officials try to climb over each others back before throwing them under the bus. Though the COPRA team is an unappealing lot, they have bold hearts and find an embracing camaraderie and comfort in each other.
Fiffe’s sheer amount of information and back story that he is able to lay out over the course of his script isn’t overbearing but tells the right details to get the whole picture of each member of the squad. What starts out as an unsanctioned cleanup mission, turns into an ambush with COPRA being blamed for the obliteration of an entire city, who the public easily accepts as the wanted individuals. Now they need to stay on the run as they try to track the person responsible for the disaster. As original members of COPRA come back to finish the fight, the camaraderie and willingness to fight for each other becomes a theme, along with one character’s changing morals on why he fights (his hometown was the one that got destroyed).
With anti-hero names like Wir and Man-Head, this comic is very unique in its graphics and dialogue, but with a familiar concept, COPRA is an easily understood book. The artwork is just amazing. Fiffe has done work for Marvel as an artist, and the illustrations he provided for All-New Ultimates was great. In COPRA, the splash pages and panel flow during flight and fight scenes are worth every penny for the shipping and handling to find this independent comic. The coloring changes styles when needed (like the smeared colors when punches or kicks are thrown) and the characters faces are a style on their own, one that is a signature of Fiffe’s gritty comic book.
Once I had finished volume 1, and the COPRA agents were sent on the run, I just had to pick up the second volume to both complete the story and indulge in the creative talent of Fiffe. Now that I have finished issue 2, and the seen the opening act had gone through its progressions, I needed to track down the next issues in the series. Originally planned as a 12 issue series, COPRA has more than doubled that length at this point. This is a set of comics for classic Suicide Squad readers, a novel for crime and revenge readers and artwork that can inspire you to follow a new favorite artist.