A couple of books from outside Marvel and DC. One is midway through a miniseries, and the other is an ongoing returning after a long hiatus.
Copperhead #11, by Jay Faerber (writer), Drew Moss (artist), Ron Riley (colorist), Thomas Mauer (letterer) - Some don't greet unwanted guests with pies to the face, they just shoot them.
At the end of the previous issue, Sheriff Clara Bronson had entered the Mayor's office and found him dead. So now comes the attempt to determine the killer. His last appointment was with a local bigwig, and he doesn't particularly like the sheriff, so she lets her deputy, whose name is Budroxifinicus (generally called "Boo") go first. And he quickly gets installed as the new Mayor. Whether he's trying to sucker the bigwig, or this is his way of getting one over on the sheriff remains to be seen. The sheriff also has an old ex show up, and there's a dangerous escaped convict who probably has an unhealthy fixation on her somewhere in space.
In retrospect, I should have reread the first two trades, because I can't recall who "Ford" is in his day job. I do recall the bigwig calling someone looking for dirt on Bronson, and that someone implying the sheriff kills people who try that shit, which I guess was Ford. Besides that, Faerber did a good job at least outlining all the basic connections. The coroner's also the doctor, and a drunk. The bigwig doesn't like the sheriff, she and this convict have history, the guy named Ishmael looking after the kid is an "Artie" (artificial human), but manages to work most of that in smoothly over the course of the issue. It's not exposition that grinds the book to a halt.
Moss is new to the book, as cover artist Scott Godlewski was the original series artist. Moss does well, nothing too flashy. I think Ron Riley's colors help the book maintain a largely similar feel to the earlier issues. A lot of very dark nights, and day scenes with a pale pink tint to the sky. At certain points the colors feel slightly washed out, like there's just a bit too much sun. I think Moss needs to draw Boo larger, though. Until the last page, he doesn't really dominate panels or pages the way I recall him doing. Could be that's the point, that as Mayor he has some power over Clara and that lets him assert dominance. He and Riley also like to portray Mr. Hickory (the bigwig) with the brim of his hat shadowing his eyes, so that they appear as empty white circles. At least, they like it enough to use it twice in two pages. There's a good contrast between those pages and how he's drawn on the final page, in his more solicitous public persona as he meets Clara. He's facing us more fully, no hat or anything shading his face, no devious grin, just more open in appearance, even if it's a false impression.
Empowered: Soldier of Love #2, by Adam Warren (writer), Karla Diaz (artist), Ryan Kinnaird (co-colorist), Nate Piekos (letterer) - Well, they may be tangled in the plots and hair of a resentful magical princess, but at least Ninjette still has her beer.
Emp has been pulling together a theory about what's with all the cape-types hooking up, and it involves a strange event where a bunch of teenage girls got magic powers, and one of them hates her job and is on the loose. Which is exactly correct, and the Soldato del Amor intends to mess around with some sort of Super Shield thing designed to protect the city from catastrophe, and instead use it to trap the inhabitants of the city and eradicate all love forever and ever. And most of the heroes are too busy making out or texting each other to do anything.
It's that middle chapter where all the pieces get moved into position for the big finish, and there's a lot more explanation of what's going on and why. Which is not the most fun to read, especially with the various Superhomeys incessantly texting each other constantly. If this is what life is like for the Soldato, no wonder she hates love so much. And I'm in complete agreement with Ninjette, that calling someone "Daddy" as sexy talk is nauseating. Like when guys call their wives "Mother". Colonel Potter always did that on MASH, and it just seemed weird. She's not your mom, don't call her that!
I did enjoy the sequence contrasting Soldato's original glee at learning she's a secret magical princess, with her utter disgust at the role she's trapped in 10 years later. The top half of the page, with bright pink background lighting and literal sparkles around her face as she cheers. Then bottom half, with a dull beige, off-white background of hotel walls, as she sits on the bed with her e-cig of Amor and sullenly stares into space. The constant scowl (except when she's sneering) she carries as she goes about her business is a nice touch too. And having her voice balloons change color when she's in costume and speaking the Language of Love rather than her typical Spanish, of which I can piece together maybe 40%.
Look, if she was speaking German I'd have a chance, but she's not. It's not my fault I'm not the right bilingual.
OK, it is my fault because I didn't take Spanish, but I didn't know in high school I'd someday need to translate a magical floating pangolin's speech bubbles.