[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Brent Anderson
The final chapter in the Broken Man’s century-spanning revelations about Astro City, music, rebellion, heroes and the threat of the Oubor. The Broken Man is mounting a defense—but does it stand a chance, or is it as cracked as he is? Featuring Honor Guard, the First Family and more, in a story that sets the stage for everything that is to come for Astro City.
This issue delves into the metaphysics of the comic world in a way that isn’t often attempted. In a scene that echoes Grant Morrison’s Animal Man, the Broken Man becomes aware of the readers of the comic. But this story takes the idea further, suggesting that the Oubour is not only a threat to the world of Astro City, but to the real world as well.
Also interesting is the Broken Man’s refusal to believe that he is the latest incarnation of the avatar of counter-culture music. He prefers to believe he is some third-party caught up in the situation instead. Why is he unable to accept this? It doesn’t seem to be out of fear of facing the Oubour, as he accepts that it is up to him to lead the fight against it.
Busiek seems to be masterfully making use of the Broken Man’s ability to break the fourth wall and directly address the reader of the comic. As entertaining and as fascinating as this is, I trust Busiek will not overuse it and keep it contained to this character and keep his future appearances sparse.
Astro City is known for taking a realistic view of a fantastical universe, so it is an interesting departure to see the story give totally over to the fantastical. Add to this a healthy dose of a comic book universe’s metaphysics, and you have an amazing and trippy read.