While Monkeybrain comics may not specialize in horror, they do specialize in quality comic books. For those of you looking to expand your palette I’ll be running a new article called “Monkeybrain Monday.” The goal is to showcase some of the digital titles this small publisher has to offer. Hopefully getting people to try something different.
This week we have “Copernicus Jones: Robot Detective” from Matt Wilson and Kevin Warren. A brisk noir set in a shady city where criminals are connected to every bit of bad business you can imagine. Wilson offers a quick script that introduces our titular hero as a snack-loving rogue whose word isn’t worth much but has a drive that’ll solve any case. Warren’s black and white art revels in the 1940’s atmosphere where futurism is king.
“Copernicus Jones: Robot Detective” opens with a fantastically by showcasing the world of pain Jones’ is about to enter. The voiceover narration gives a comedic blend of 1940’s noir with robot culture. From here the script somewhat stumbles into standard fare. A gorgeous girl walks into an office suspicious of her husband. He’s a bigwig in town, and our hero reluctantly takes the case for the desperate beauty.
Surely enough double crosses are to follow, but before any of that can happen Jones’ past comes ringing. A phone call reminds him of a tremendous sum of money owed. Jones’ isn’t exactly on the up and up himself. It’s a good device to make the hero a little more questionable in a sea of already dodgy characters.
Warren’s art strikes a great balance between his shady noir panels and his more action-oriented pieces. His artistic style is reminiscent of Dean Motter’s work on “Mister X.” The characters have this great pseudo 1940’s futurism look. Copernicus Jones looks like the antiquated ideal of a robot from decades past. While the atmosphere is shaded in darkness, we’re only treated to a view of the city once in the whole book but when we are the beautiful skyline has buildings that with a little more attention to detail could look less modern and more in line with the pseudo future being established here.
First issues are a difficult task to pull off. They require the right balance of world building, plot progression, and character development. While the world is beginning to be developed I couldn’t help but want to know more about robot culture, and the inner workings of the city. Copernicus is well developed but only because he borders on a character archetype we already know so well. With a few more issues to find solid footing this robo-noir could really become something special. Yet, for $0.99 you’d be silly not to give it a chance, because if you want it to continue it’s going to need that dollar of yours.
Rating: 3/5 Skulls.