By Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson & Alex Ross
With Issue five of the most recent Astro City run, we are once again greeted by the Broken Man but this time he only gives us small glimpses of a few different stories. There are three different stories that all have a decent beginning but right when things get juicy the Broken Man interrupts the narrative and warns us that “it’ll see you” if we read too much of these tales.
The first story follows a group of a 1930’s team of monster hunters on their worst mission ever; the second was a quick glimpse of a villain called Lord Saampa, The Serpent’s Tongue, making a speech to his minions. It almost seems like this quick second story is connected to the first but the Broken Man interrupts right at the reveal. The final story is the most fun with a steam punk heroine mechanic called Eulalia Jane Verne who is chasing the debonair thief know as Mister Cakewalk. Each of these stories were entertaining and exciting to read, so it was a shame when the Broken Man would barge in right when things got good. If you aren’t familiar with Astro City it can seem confusing but these things eventually come back around and it only makes the impact stronger, you just have to be patient.
Having three separate stories means lots of characters and in Astro City, every character is pretty cool. Brent Anderson really has his work cut out for him with this series because it seems like every issue he gets to design new characters, from villains to heroes, and he never runs out of ideas for characters. The Art has that typical lively luster that you expect from Astro City, not only do the stories stay consistently good but Anderson’s art has been always been solid and now it really is a staple of Astro City.
Since its return, every issue of Astro City has been strong. Sometimes build up issues like this can feel lackluster but Astro City still finds a way to make set-up issues still be enjoyable to read. It will be interesting to see how these stories eventually come around and work themselves into the story again. Long time fans know after this many years Astro City always delivers when it comes to great stories, so stick around and enjoy the ride because it’s always delightful to read an issue of Astro City.