Advance Review: Saving the World Comes At A Price In `Astronaut Down’ #4
by Tom Smithyman
This limited series has finally found its voice – just in time for next issue’s finale. While the series has been uneven at time, the story of an astronaut trying to save his version of Earth has now become a compelling read.
It’s taken a few issues, but Astronaut Down is getting good. Really good.
The series had a promising but uneven start involving an astronaut being sent to a different reality to discover a special equation that would stop a cancer that is literally destroying the Earth. Astronaut Douglas Spitzer has jumped to a new reality – one where he holds the key to its salvation. There’s just one problem. He can’t save his own world.
In the story written by James Patrick, Spitzer has to make an agonizing choice: accept that he is a hero on this new world despite failing his native reality or continue to beat himself up over his failure and reject the pleasure of the planet he saved. Of course, just as he makes his decision, he’s faced with an even tougher one. The complexity of those decisions is what this series has needed to make it truly interesting – and it helps to set the story apart from much of what’s currently being published.
Adding to complexity Spitzer and his worlds are facing are the MAGA-like science deniers who seem to be a universal constant. Despite saving the world, some anti-science thugs claim the threat was a hoax and throttle Spitzer. While the timing wasn’t planned this way, Patrick is sending a powerful political message just a week before the real-world election here in the US. It adds to the story’s impact.
The only downside to the issue is that while the text deals with though issues, it doesn’t leave itself to dynamic visuals. Don’t blame artist Rubine for that. He makes the most of what he has, but images of destruction are much more exciting than saving the world with an equation. Call it the price of progress.
This limited series is getting really good just as it is about to end with its next issue. Hopefully the creative team will find a way to build on the momentum they’ve create and resolve Spitzer’s story in a way that feels both authentic and satisfying to readers.
Astronaut Down #4 will be available for purchase on November 2, 2022.