decept_o's Astro City: The Dark Age Book Three #1 - A Cold, Gray Morning in America review

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Astro City--Disappointing visit....

When Astro City initially was released, it was a great series, and Busiek and company did a good job at introducing a cohesive universe while focusing on great individual stories and characters.  Literally, every issue was something different, and I was into it, and still feel it is a great title. 

However, what has happened with the "Dark Age" storyline, where Busiek is delving into the early years of some of the heroes from Astro City, the new reader is being left out in the cold. 

While I am very familiar with Astro City, I tried to bear in mind how will a new reader find this book?  Will he or she get into it?  Will the reader even be able to follow what is going on? 

Sadly, the answers, not really. 

Granted, a new reader will be able to understand some things, but it just isn't written in a way that gives any background info about Astro City or other characters, or entices the new reader to get back issues and read more about the Astro City universe. 

What is distracting is figuring out who is talking, giving the narration, why anyone would care about the characters in the story, and the annoyingly overtly convenient and lazy way everything is set up for the characters to accomplish certain tasks. 

The story focuses on two brothers who survive an assault by a villain, but whose parents die in the crossfire.  The boys grow up and vow revenge on the villain, but this info I had to dissect because it was done so sloppily.  Which is not like Busiek's style. 

Speaking of sloppy, the art....*ugh* gets worse and worse and I am so disappointed with Anderson's art.  If they were to use a different artist, this book may survive even with the unapproachable story line.  In the past, Anderson's art was tolerable, simply because the writing was great and the covers were usually rendered by Alex Ross. 

However, you can't pack ice cream between a sh@t sandwich and expect people to buy it. 

I won't even go into the unexplained persona of Cleopatra and the sloppy, sloppy way she is drawn.  The character resembles a male instead of an attractive black woman, as if the artist just said, "Oh, if I make enough scratches and overt shading, she will look black."  Embarassing. 

I was looking foward to this book, but was very let down and I will be surprised if this survives any more issues.  The title has had a history of being late, which may be a good thing, because you are better off skipping it ,even if you are a diehard Astro City I am--or was. 


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