by Matt D. Wilson, Kevin Warren and Dylan Todd
After just two issues, the rug has been pulled out from under readers. It was an impressive accomplishment. Wilson managed to let readers believe they knew where the story was headed and how it would be tying up. The structure of the case felt routine enough that it almost was to the detriment of the series. But Wilson uses the familiarity against his audience and Copernicus Jones: Robot Detective certainly changed gears heading into its third issue.
Something Wilson does well in this series is teasing elements in an off-hand manner that not only get the imagination of the reader firing, but also provides a very strong sense of a lived-in world. In this issue readers hear about a robot act that was passed, use of data ports in mob muscle and learn that someone owes Jones a favor. They are all small pieces and most pass without much further explanation, but it gives readers a sense of the larger universe. What was the purpose of that act and what did it allow? Why did the mob install data ports in their men? And what did Jones do for the woman at the precinct that she owes him a favor? Readers don’t need any of these questions answered to make sense of the story, but they are all great choices to use less space to build out the world in an effective way.
Jones travels about Future City in an attempt to figure out just what is going with Jeanette Windstone. He manages to get his hands on an old backup of the crime robot, Paulie Ocean and then goes looking for Jeff. Overall, there is not a ton of progress to the third chapter of the story. After the big shift last issue, this entry is focused more on setting up the next few pieces. But after only three issues, it’s a wonder that there was a status quo shift at all. Wilson has handled the series pacing well so far and therefore, despite this issue being a bit tamer; it is likely for good reason.
Wilson manages to touch on some curious new territory with rules that are established in this series. With the ability for programming and downloading personalities, dead or alive, it presents interesting possibilities with what could happen within the story. Kevin Warren continues to do some great things with the art in the story. When Jones and Jeff fight, seeing the impact of each punch on the metal of Jones’ figure is a great touch. As the issue continues, Jones never loses the sagging right eye. The ‘Asimov’ Easter egg makes for a great bit of fun, and Wilson even addresses the robot rules in the letters pages.
All in all, Copernicus Jones #3 is a solid issue. The story doesn’t advance too far, but a lot of pieces are moving into place and it includes enough small moments to keep readers invested.