After a strong first issue, the series takes a stumble in its second lap. Filled with awkward dialogue and sparse, but unmotivated action, readers are likely to ask what they’ve gotten themselves in to. Hopefully this is nothing more than a one-issue misstep.
Creating follow ups to successful firsts – whether they be first novels, first movies, or first issues of a comic book series – can be challenging. Go too heavy on the exposition and you risk boring the readers. Too much action gets you labeled as mindless. Pulling of a great follow-up is a mix of talent, alchemy and luck.
Unfortunately, the second issue of Astronaut Down suffers from too much talk and not much else. It’s too bad because the series started out just a month ago with a promising premise. The world is quickly ending and astronaut is Douglas sent on a suicide mission to save the planet. He arrives at the wrong spot – hence the Astronaut Down title – and is sent messages from mission control to try relay the vital information that will save the Earth.
Writer James Patrick relies on a lot of back-and-forth dialogue, particularly between Douglas and his wife. But the conversation is often clunky as Douglas pretends to have memory problems. We’re forced to read a similar exchange in mission control.
Artist Rubine fares better with a pair of unique transmission that command sends to Douglas. The first seemingly comes through his bathroom mirror, which seems to be dripping black goo. It’s an interesting choice and one that grabs the readers’ attention. The other is suicide mission where a back-up astronaut somehow is beamed to Douglas’ location to ask why he hasn’t sent the earth-saving equation. The messenger’s seemingly unmotivated fight with Douglas is the only action in the issue. Well, that and a come-from-nowhere cliffhanger.
There is still time for the creative team to turn the series around. But it will take some effort to cut down on needless dialogue and to inject some motivated action into the story.
Astronaut Down #2 will be available for purchase on July 6, 2022.