Ether: The Copper Golems #1
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Dave Rubín
Publisher: Dark Horse
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
In Ether: The Copper Golems #1, after a brief stint in prison, Boone Dias is released and sent on a mission back to Ether to find a way to stop the Copper Golems from entering into earth. In order to complete his mission, however, Boone confronts the demons of his past in the form of uncomfortable conversations with the family he all but abandoned and a reunion with Violet Belle, who doesn’t want anything to do with him.
When he talks to Violet, he discovers she has been forbidden from using magic and instead must jailbreak one of the greatest spell-hackers of Ether. Boone, Glum, and Violet make their way to the most impenetrable jails in Ether and try to spring Grandor before they bring down the fury of the Over-Dragons protecting the prison.
While this is a return to the Ether universe for Kindt and Rubín after more than a year, this was admittedly my first foray into this series, so I will say straight up that this comic will be far easier to understand for those of you who did read the first five issues. At one point, Boone explains the chaos that is breaking out on Earth thanks to the Copper Golems punching their way through, but I expected some sort of disaster movie-esque sequence where we actually see what happens. I went back and familiarized myself with what happened before and found out I wouldn’t need my disaster montage because it happened in a previous issue. So my first recommendation: go back and read the first five issues like I’m about to do here soon.
Now that I have that out of the way, it’s time to get to some observations. Right off the bat I can tell that Boone is a troubled character in the way that he seems to care much more about his legacy in Ether than he does about his family. The brief but tragic interactions with his daughter and wife made me wonder why he even bothered to have a family in the first place. He also seemed much more alive when he was in Ether. On Earth, he appears distant, angry, and melancholy; on Ether, he had swagger and derring-do in spades. And nothing seems to matter to him more than being the greatest detective and scientist in both realms. I wonder if there will be consequences for this along the way.
The artwork of this book works magnificently in how it helps tell the story rather than supplement it. Back on earth, everything seems grungy and dark, but when Boone gets to Ether, it’s cleaner and the colors pop more. Ether in itself is a work of art as a combination of neon-colors and steampunk structures. I also enjoyed the creativity of the panel and dialogue layout—one scene in particular that sticks out is where a conversation takes place where each character speaking is the one not shown in the panel.
Verdict: Buy it.
Ether: The Copper Golems #1 has the makings of a fun science-fiction fantasy that exposes you to complicated themes like addiction and devotion. But don’t make the mistake I made and make this you first trip into Ether.