Ether: The Copper Golems #1
Written by Matt Kindt
Illustrated and Lettered by David Rubin
The first volume of Matt Kindt and David Rubin’s Ether ended not so much with a cliffhanger as with some dangling plot threads. The central mystery of that series – who killed The Blaze, protector of The Ether – was solved, though the question of why it was done still lingered. And then there was the matter of the Copper Golem that was used to do it, and that was also somehow able to create a breach in reality and travel from The Ether to Earth. It’s the latter question, and the consequences of those breaches, that is set up as the central question of the new follow-up series. The first issue of Ether: The Copper Golems is both an exciting continuation of the story set up in the first series and a great jumping-on point for new readers.
Kindt faces a difficult task in this issue, and he handles it with ease. Characters and concepts central to the world of the series are introduced clearly for new readers, and succinctly enough that established readers won’t be bored by too much recap. The mystery of the Copper Golems, while related to the events of the previous series, is presented here completely fresh with no need for prior knowledge. For the established readers, there’s plenty of advancement and expansion of the world as Kindt and Rubin dive into character relationships and aspects of The Ether that are only briefly glimpsed or hinted at in the previous series. There are things here that will certainly have more resonance for readers who’ve read the first volume, while at the same time are some real emotional punches in this issue that land whether you’re new to the series or not.
David Rubin’s work on this issue in superb. From musty prison cells to expansive otherworldly landscapes, everything the artist draws leaps off the page. The Ether is a fantastical place that feels fully-formed and real. Even the ground the characters walk on seems to be alive. The characters themselves are perfectly realized, their appearances and body language revealing and enhancing their personalities. Rubin’s coloring in particular on this issue is excellent and helps to immediately establish setting in both space and time. The color palette on Earth is very different from those used in The Ether, and a flashback sequence that exclusively uses shades of purple is set apart nicely from the present-day action.
Ether: The Copper Golems #1 is an excellent first issue to the five-issue series, and a perfect jumping-on point for readers new to The Ether. Kindt and Rubin establish the characters and the world and then get right into the good stuff, and Rubin’s art is worth looking at multiple times to take in all of the detail and imagination that went into it. This is a comic not to be missed.