If you’re not into God Hates Astronauts after issue 2, there is no saving you. You’re not in on the joke, and you don’t have to stick around. If you’re getting it, and it’s working for you, issue 3 is more of that sweet, sweet ridiculousness you’ve come to crave from Browne & Co. The issue begins with Doctor Professor recalling more of his horrifying memories of NASA’s first experience with King Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger and the denizens of the planet Crabulon. Meanwhile, at the NASA company picnic, Star-Grass’s Cow Impulse Controller explodes, leaving him with the brain (and the urges) of a simple farmyard cow. King Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger sends one of his most skilled and unfortunate assassins out on a King’s errand to Earth, Gnarled Winslow is haunted by the ghost of his ex-fuck-buddy (now deceased), and the Anti-Mugger has to deal with a woman who is extremely concerned about her coupons while also dealing with the fact that there’s probably an invasion coming from the Crab Nebula. Oh, and also, the Anti-Mugger’s crazy zombie arm is still mugging people while he sleeps.
The art on this series has been a true delight. In the midst of the weirdest possible shit that Browne’s mind can devise, he renders it in a very clear, very kinetic style. He’s got the energy of a young Jamie Hewlett, and the clear composition of a mid-period Walt Simonson. There’s never any confusion as to what’s happening from panel-to-panel, it’s always hilarious, and it’s always extremely well-drawn. Also, the caliber of his co-conspirators keeps on growing. He started out with a Geoff Darrow variant, now he’s onto a Chris Burnham variant and a Peter Bagge pin-up? That’s impressive, and I hope it speaks to the amount of creators putting their weight behind this book. It isn’t your Wytches or The Wicked + The Divine with a fairly well-known creative team as the known quantity behind it; it’s one dude and his insanely funny comic about NASA and farmers and Tigers Eating Cheeseburgers and infidelity and mugging. What’s not to love?
The story feels like he still hasn’t fully switched gears from webcomic to monthly book. A lot happens in every issue, which isn’t hard to follow, but it leaves you with a lot of threads to remember to pick up next time—except now, “next time” is next month, not next Thursday or next week. It’s not an insurmountable problem, or one that reduces my enjoyment of the book, but it is one that he’ll have to address as the book moves on and (hopefully) gets bigger and bigger.
Like I said, there’s a lot of threads that I’m following in God Hates Astronauts: the troubled-but-on-the-mend marriage of Star-Grass and Starrior; the Anti-Mugger’s horrifying new sleep-mugging habit; Doctor Professor and his incoming horde of Crabulonian invaders. There are even back-up features trying to keep us up-to-date on the whereabouts and the doings of The Impossible. None of this is me complaining—I love all the things Browne is doing. I just really really hope he can pull them all together in a couple issues to end the arc. But really, if at the end of the day, my issue is that I hope a creator, who has proven themselves more than capable of handling a story, isn’t juggling too many balls, do I really have anything to worry about?
This reader says: no.
Writer/Artist/Creator: Ryan Browne Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 11/5/14 Format: Print/Digital