July 21, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Comic Review: COPRA Round One

A team of supervillains turned government operatives are framed for treason.

I learned about COPRA from a YouTube video courtesy of the channel Strange Brain Parts when I found their video as a retrospective on this somewhat unique series.  You can check the link to get their take.  Mine below is just for the first trade, subtitled simply Round One.

COPRA is the brainchild of writer/artist Michel Fiffe, and to put it as bluntly as possible, Fiffe’s series began as what was basically fanfic for the 80s run of DC’s Suicide Squad.  Looking at that cover above, you can probably even pick out some of the more recognizable stand-ins being there for the likes of Deadshot, Duchess, and Shade the Changing Man, while other characters there are stand-ins for Captain Boomerang, Vixen, Bronze Tiger, and Count Vertigo.  Some characters are more obvious than others, and the only one that was a mystery to me was who the kid in the robot suit was supposed to be.  But they have a woman of color in charge, the entire team is made up of supervillains sent off on government missions, and the series includes some knock-offs of other characters like Dr. Strange and the Punisher.

However, to simply dismiss Fiffe’s work as just fanfiction is not all that accurate a thing to do.  For one thing, while the series started off as a self-published book, Image Comics did pick it up for a while and even printed out the trades.  The adventure itself is something that could probably work with the existing Suicide Squad as well.  The basic plot has a mission ambushed by a former member who takes some sort of valuable artifact that the COPRA team was transporting, and the survivors are accused of various crimes, their boss being tossed under the bus as well.  And for all that Sonia Stone is an Amanda Waller stand-in, the character doesn’t seem to have anything in common with Waller beyond a somewhat similar appearance.  Yes, some of these characters are closer to their inspiration than others, but that’s not what’s happening here.

What is happening is a rather psychedelic at times adventure where the surviving COPRA members go recruiting former teammates to clear their names, leading to an all-out attack at the end of the trade.  It’s not the best comic, but it does have a unique look and feel that the comics that inspired COPRA just didn’t have.  It is the sort of book that will just go to some abstract dimension to show the threat to the world the artifact faces, and it isn’t afraid from the looks of things to kill the characters off–even old Suicide Squad books had certain regular characters whose plot armor would keep them alive–but at the same time, this does feel rough to me.  Maybe it gets better later, but for now, not so much.  What this trade does show is a world where superhuman things are kinda common, and there’s plenty of weird to go around.  I actually like that sort of thing more often than not.

8 out of 10 cyborg roommates.