‘Astro City’ # 13 Breaks from the Formula to Terrific Effect

Astro City13 cover

Astro City # 12

Written by Kurt Busiek

Art by Graham Nolan

Cover by Alex Ross

Published by DC/Wildstorm comics

For a while now, Astro City has been in what you might call a familiar rut. Not in a bad way, per se, but a period of distilling the core ideas and motifs of the series down, of perfecting the formula that made Astro City great. But something like this can only be done for so long before it gets stale, and thankfully it seems that Busiek and co. were aware of this, as Astro City #13 is nothing if not a shakeup, an experiment, a step out of the normal pattern. And also thankfully, it’s a darn good one.

The story of the issue concerns a higher entity called The Dancing Master, seemingly a harbringer of music and love, who arrives in Astro City, causing a torrent of romance across the city. We see this through a small group of supporting characters, a bank teller, a costumed villain called Gunjack, and several lab technicians working on high-tech scientific projects that involve large, cumbersome phrases like “Plasmic chord patterns” and “Barraging the aetheric with digitized mandelbrot probes”. What makes the story interesting, however, is that it’s told out of chronological sequence, skipping Astro City 13 insert

backwards and forwards in time. Busiek takes full advantage of this, using the technique to set up expectations as readers try and tease out the relations between the various players, and occasionally subverting them.

On the artwork front, Brent Eric Anderson gets similarly experimental, trying out new styles and approaches to ensure that The Dancing Master is properly represented as a shifting, ethereal being. His first appearance is rendered in a gorgeous scratchboard style, and a later encounter with Astro City regular The Hanged Man is done in a flat, colorful psychedelic style, reminiscent of Yellow Submarine. The cover is done partially in this style as well, and this is by far the most visually striking Astro City has been in some time.

Though Astro City‘s recent patter of sticking to the core formula has yielded some excellent stories, issue 13 is a welcome change of pace from that trend, a trippy, experimental and deeply interesting comic that clearly had a lot of hard work and time put into it. The writing and art both break from the norm, going in interesting new directions, and hopefully this new trend of experimentation keeps going for a few issues more.




Add Comment


50 CEOs Who Never Went to College (and how they managed to succeed)
10 Different Types of Financial Aid
Top 10 Richest American Idols
V-Moda Crossfade Wireless
The 5 Most Expensive Wireless Headphones: Ultimate Auditory Clarity
7 Best Golf Courses in St. Augustine, Florida
25 Bachelor Party Movie Ideas
People playing the clarinet
10 Different Types of Clarinets
11 Different Types of Drums
A bowl of oatmeal porridge
7 Different Types of Porridge
Shots of tequila
5 Different Types of Tequila (Plus Tequila Cocktails)
Fresh kale in a bowl
10 Different Types of Kale
8 Different Types of Cantaloupes
A Man in a Suit Opening a Car’s Door
9 Different Types of Car Doors
Headlights of a black car
9 Different Types of Headlights
19 Different Types of Construction Vehicles
Fire Truck with Warm Yellow Lights
9 Different Types of Fire Trucks
54 Different Types of Sports Played (Individual and Team Sports)
15 Different Types of Goggles
13 Different Types of Dumbbells
15 Awesome Alternatives to Skateboards (Plus Interesting Facts)
16 Different Types of Technology
man holding smartphone with vintage case
11 Types of Cell Phone Cases and Covers to Protect Your Expensive Smartphone
Black and Red Tablet Covers
8 Types of Tablet Cases for Kids, Protection, and Convenience
Camera, lenses and other photography equipments.
45 of the Best Online Camera Stores for the Perfect Pics