God Hates Astronauts issue 2 is every bit the madcap follow-up to the first issue that we’ve all hoped for, nay, prayed for. There are more crab attackers from Crabulon, there’s Doctor Professor with a 70’s mustache AND a full-on crazy person beard, there’s a super powered baby, and there’s the triumphant return of the Anti-Mugger. It is everything I prayed for and more.
I’m not going to try to recap the plot of the issue too much, because I want it to be able to surprise you; it’s nothing if not surprising and hilarious at every turn. Instead, let me try to frame a reference for the general attitude and spirit of the book. Picture the old MAD magazine sci-fi parody comics; okay, now picture one of those where every character takes every single situation, no matter how heinous or ridiculous or patently flying in the face of space-law it is, and they take it at face value; now take that and add a lot of sexual situations, swearing, and animals punching each other in the face.
This issue features the added bonus of some independent content, which is a trend I’m noticing from Image a lot recently (esp. in Shutter) and I’m really digging. The tie-ins for this issue are stories that are both directly part of this universe and written by Browne, or they are at least close enough so as not to change the story. I think it’s an excellent way to build the world of a story that’s only really available in comic books, as opposed to other mediums. I like that books like Shutter use it to showcase other independent creators and their work, but I love that God Hates Astronauts is doing that as well as marrying it to the book’s brand.
I also love that this book takes the superhero/superfamily dynamic and extrapolates it to its logical extreme. If Franklin Richards were an actual boy with crazy unbelievable superpowers, he would constantly be using them accidentally kill the babysitter while he tries to get a cookie. It’s just how little kids are. Instead, Franklin has the mental age of like, a thirty-two year old, and meanwhile, here we are in God Hates Astronauts where a little kid acts like a little kid, even if she is superpowered and lethal. In the same kind of way that Marvel comics of the 60s were taking the nuclear family and suppressed male angst and turning them into flawed superheroes, the universe is getting metatextual up in this motherflipper and taking the Marvel comics we grew up with to turn them into damaged superheroes. So it goes, and life goes on.
Apologies for the critical theory rambling.
God Hates Astronauts is the kind of comic that could either go for a miniseries run and conclude, and wrap up all its loose ends, or it’s the kind of comic that could literally go on forever. There’s a set plot in the works, but even without that, I enjoy living in this world for 22 pages every month so much that I would read it just to see Star Grass and Starrior sit around and bicker. Luckily, I get angry crabs, and bro-gay astronaut chickens, too. What I’m saying is this: you could be reading God Hates Astronauts now, and it could go on for years and be renowned as a hilarious book that everyone loves, and that everyone should read, OR, you could skip GHA, and Ryan Browne will get other work for the big companies, and when he turns in amazing work, we’ll all go, “Why doesn’t he have a creator-owned title?” And it will be because there was one, and it was too good for us people.
Don’t let that happen. Buy this book. Buy two copies. Buy one for your mom. She’ll probably like it, aside from all the swearing. (Maybe with the swearing? I don’t know what your mom is into these days).
Writer/Artist/Creator: Ryan Browne Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 10/1/14 Format: Print/Digital