Under the Sea with Ether: The Copper Golems #1


Ether: The Copper Golems #1

Matt Kindt (Writer), David Rubin (Artist)
Dark Horse
May 16, 2018

Ether: The Copper Golems, a continuation of Kindt and Rubin’s earlier Ether series, came out recently and found its way into my hands and eyeballs. Ether follows scientist-adventurer-detective Boone Dias as he explores and studies a fantastical dimension called “The Ether,” which boasts a highly developed society with a varied cast of characters, and often, mysteries to solve. Despite the massive amount of time-debt accrued while in the Ether, Boone Dias continues his studies for weeks on end, years in Earth time, eventually abandoning his wife and children. 

Ether: The Copper Golems, Matt Kindt, David Rubin, Dark Horse, Flats Kike J Diaz, Publisher Mike Richardson, Editor Daniel Chabon, Assistant Editor Brett Israel, Digital Art Technician Josie Christensen, Design Anita Magana

Kindt and Rubin have done a great job creating a varied and interesting world and characters; no two are alike. The story is fairly easy to follow. I hadn’t read the previous series and had little trouble following along. Something I’ve noticed in both Ether and Copper Golems is the lack of women/women-coded characters that do something other than get angry or cry because of the main character. It seems like the women in the series are heralded as strong and important to both society and Boone Dias, but so far throughout both series there are about four side characters who are women (if we’re just counting The Copper Golems, it’s three) and they don’t really do much.  Boone’s daughter, Peruda, gets angry at her father who doesn’t recognize her. His wife Hazel is old and is only in the story to “forgive” Boone for being absent, despite her own interaction with the Ether, and Violet has her spell-writing abilities cursed away, rendering her as “the woman in the group that the man once slept with” basically. It sucks. 

This series has two distinctive tones in both writing and art style between the two worlds, which is as fantastic as it is jarring, as I assume it’s meant to be. The palettes used on Earth and in the Ether are great contrasts for the other and really help bring out the otherworldly nature of the Ether. It also helps exemplify the difference between Boone Dias as a person versus Boone Dias as a scientist. When he’s on Earth, not doing research in the Ether, Dias is an absentee husband and father, too busy with work for his family. He’s mean, dirty, and unkempt on Earth. In the Ether, Dias is totally different, becoming engaged, enthused, and talkative. It’s instantly obvious why Dias spends so much time in the Ether.

The first world-switching sequence is breathtaking. The page has an interesting layout for panels that conveys both movement and transformation. Rubin uses different panel layouts throughout the issue, each one fun and dynamic. I like the way Rubin incorporates sound effects into the art; it’s expressive and gives the impression of a texture with the sounds, particularly during the jailbreak scene. I was tickled by the variations on the sound fx “fap” in the issue, has it been long enough since people used “fap” as a euphemism for masturbation that it can now be a tapping sound effect?

All in all, I like this comic. It’s one I’m going to probably keep up with if only for the fact that it is so creative in its artistic design. It’d be nice to see some kind of character development for the women in the series, though.

If you like non-linear storytelling, gorgeous color palettes, detective stories, and/or creative design, read this comic. Did I mention that there’s a bug bike? Because there’s a motorcycle that is a bug, and it’s awesome. Read this issue if only for that sweet, sweet bug bike.

Mackenzie Pitcock

Mackenzie Pitcock

Mackenzie Pitcock grew up in Mobile, Alabama during the 90's anime boom and has been a proud weeaboo since childhood. They are currently living in Seattle and petting lots of animals.