The joy of a two part story is getting the instant gratification of a conclusion sooner than later. Kurt Busiek closes a story of a lawyer living in a superhero city this week in Astro City, but is it good?

Astro City #40 (Vertigo)

So what’s it about? The Vertigo summary reads:

Life on Shadow Hill gets a bit more complicated when Marta has to handle a contract matter between the Silver Adept and an extradimensional demigod! On the other hand, she gets to watch baseball with ghosts. Also featuring the Hanged Man.

Why does this book matter?

Busiek introduced Marta and her unique perspective last month while also revealing the Hanged Man’s unique superhero origin. [Editor’s Note: Marta was introduced 20 years ago] Considering the cool concepts introduced last issue we’re bound for more here.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

The story on the television reminds me of Art Ops.

And we get them in droves! I was floored by the surprises of this issue as Marta goes on one very cosmic adventure. Busiek opens the issue layering the world of Astro City with Marta’s very human perspective on it all though we’re reminded she has powers that connect her to the astral plane. She’s very ordinary though, which is important, because when giant glowing gods start showing up (or portals with tentacled monsters rushing in) it increases the pure insanity of the situation. Busiek does a great job showcasing Marta’s biggest superpower and that’s her brain. In a clever bit of writing Busiek has Marta read over and translate some interesting supernatural jargon into lawyering and it’s a fun take on a cosmic adventure.

Carmen Carnero draws this issue with colors by Peter Pantazis and boy do they put on a show. The cosmic world is beautiful, colorful and reminiscent of some of the best classic Dr. Strange stories. There are also fun designs when it comes to the bad guys (and Candlemen!) and Silver Adept’s full page spread introduction is gorgeous. Marta looks as average as ever which helps ramp up the cosmic craziness.

It can’t be perfect can it?

Though the official synopsis says The Hanged Man makes an appearance I didn’t notice him at all. In fact, everything in the previous issue seems to have not mattered in this one–aside from introducing Marta of course–which left me wanting more. In a good way I imagine, because I wanted to learn more about the Hanged Man, but maybe that’s a story for another day.

Astro City is a weird place.

Is It Good?

Astro City is always a well of ideas you’ll never want to stop dipping back into for more. This issue delivers a surprising story that is rife with surprises and clever writing.

Astro City #40 Review
Fun story that can be enjoyed even if you didn't read the last installmentMarta uses her noggin in a clever wayThe cosmic world is beautiful and inventive
What happened to the Hanged Man story?
Reader Rating 1 Vote