Advance Review: Getting Some Badly Needed Answers In `Astronaut Down’ #3

by Tom Smithyman

Overview

Writer James Patrick turns this entire series around in this issue. By finally delivering some answers to key questions, the story comes into sharp focus and has become compelling. What’s needed next is some additional dynamic imagery to bring the book to the next level.

Overall
9/10
9/10

Writing a monthly comic book is an exercise in balance. Write too much action, and you run the risk confusing readers by not providing enough context. Give too much exposition, and you the audience may get bored and stop reading. Dangling mysteries in front of their faces work – but only for a while.

Writer James Patrick seems to have learned this lesson and is intent on giving the readers of the Astronaut Down series some badly needed answers to questions that have plagued the title since its inception. Facing a global catastrophe, the world sends interdimensional astronaut Douglas Spitzer on a suicide mission to an alternative Earth to provide an equation that should save the planet.

We knew that much, more or less, from the beginning. But with this issue, Patrick reveals why Spitzer was not the ideal choice for the mission, as well as what exactly happened to his wife. Those facts weighed down the last issue, but with those needed answers, the title seems to have new life.

It also sets up what’s coming next in the series – in an exciting way as the hero skips to new realities. It’s amazing how Patrick was able to turn things around so quickly.

He also has a gift for throwing elbows at climate change deniers and anti-vaxxers who doubt science. When a “quantum anomaly” occurs and begins to flood the planet with a poisonous liquid, Spitzer describes how some were non-plussed. “People denied its existence, its severity…and fought against a cure. All while the mutation branched into new strains.” It hits close to home as we’re dealing with the latest Covid variant and rising temperatures.

Despite Patrick’s compelling and tight script, artist Rubine isn’t left with much beyond some talking heads. Fortunately, he does deliver a few terrifying pages where a breach from the anomaly kills thousands of the remaining humans.

If Patrick can continue the momentum from this issue while writing some more art-intensive scripts, this series could evolve into a must-read each month.

Astronaut Down #3 will be available for purchase tomorrow.

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