Copernicus Jones: Robot Detective: A Smoking Barrel of Laughs (#7) – Matt D. Wilson

3 out of 5

While perfectly in line with the tone of the fantastically fun preceding issues, this Copernicus Jones one-shot simply can’t get as far along on its charms by dint of it being a one-shot. There’s less room to establish the feel of Wilson’s and artist Kevin Warren’s robot noir mash-up, making the book not so much a fresh take on a pulp mystery as it is just a pulp mystery that happens to star a robot. This is, in part, understandable, given that the creators have the comforts of having already established the world and their character, but making the focus of this one-shot on a standalone case also means we’re coasting on those comforts, when it could’ve equally been an opportunity to do some exploring of them.

The case is pretty fun, though, with the murder of one part of a comedy duo sending ‘Nic on another interview tour of colorful characters, and Wilson does sharpen the script as appropriately for the limited page length, keeping the connections from clue to clue clear, and the solve delivered with a punch. But again, the book is somewhat faceless beyond a generally mirthful tone – the detective could’ve very well have been flesh and blood and it would work the same. Though that “same” is surely entertaining.

I will say I liked what I saw of new letterer Josh Krach here. More issues will help to clarify it, but his bubble placement was very clear, whereas Dylan Todd’s on the previous issues occasionally ran in to reading order blips.