by Matt D Wilson, Kevin Warren & Dylan Todd
A noir book with robots that involves murder and yet feels comedic, Copernicus Jones: Robot Detective is an interesting title and one that does not sound like it makes a whole lot of sense. Wilson and Warren, however, play the title so well that the pairing of such elements seems more natural than readers would ever imagine. Issue one was a fun circular story that left readers with their title character in the hands of the bad guys as he followed a case brought to him by the wife of the recently deceased. Here we take the next step forward and Wilson has more than one trick up his sleeve.
In the first issue, Jones made a few twists on common terminology that played to humor for their nod to robotics. In issue two, a bit more attention is paid to the reality of this world where robots are every bit a part of this society. His torturer attempts to short his circuitry by putting his feet in a bucket of water. He also asks him about aspects of being a robot and it shows a bit more of the world and how much they know or don’t about these machines. The issue does not spend much time on this, but it clues readers in a bit more to the universe.
Jones is let go without much reason. This is instantly suspicious for the reader, but Wilson is smart to address it quickly. Jones is equally suspicious and recognizes that the purpose of his capture was never to learn of what he knew, but to keep him off the case for a bit of time. The question of motive comes up a lot in Copernicus Jones #2 and no answers are readily apparent. Wilson is good at building mysteries that he has full control over. Often, these stories are solved by the reader before the characters, making for a bit of frustration. Here, at every turn, readers will be just as incapable of seeing the puzzle as Jones is and it is all the better for it.
Not only does Jones #2 build on the mystery of the noir crime thriller that had been set in motion last issue, but it also shows further signs of the humor in the series. Not often is it played for quips or obvious gags, the comedy often comes in the form of Kevin Warren’s art. As Jones attempts to investigate the crime scene of the late Mr. Windstone, he must do so stealthily. Watching a robot in a trench coat and hat creep around and duck behind bushes is really funny. Warren is fantastic at communicating this humor through the physicality and facial expressions of Jones as well as other characters.
As the chapter comes to a close, readers will be trying to figure this whole thing out. There are not that many pieces, and yet none of them seem to quite fit together. Jones finds a few clues and seems to be on his way to a solution when he realizes that he is no more in the know than he was when he was handed the case. This entire thing seems to have been purposeful and it will leave not only Jones but readers too looking for more pages as the story concludes in issue two. There is no question that readers will be coming back for more.