Review: Astro City #13 – Waltz of the Hours

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Show of hands to all you Astro City fans out there. Who missed seeing Jack-in-the-Box? We don’t see a lot of the guy in this series even though he’s a well known character. Well you’re in luck my friends, as he stars in an issue that will make you scream “WHAT TIME IS IT!?”.

Astro City #13 tells the story about a day in Astro City with every page being one hour. We see the lives of certain characters in the city, from a guy who works in physics to a villain who wants to retire. We also get introduced to a new character called the Dancing Master. a being that likes to spread love and joy wherever he goes.

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For the most part this is one confusing comic. I’m all for trying new ways to tell a story but this is just a little frustrating. Time doesn’t go in chronological order but all over the place. Think the flashbacks in the movie Man of Steel as an example. It goes from 11 am to 3 am and then 7 pm. I wish the story was in chronological order so I can get a better idea on who the characters are and not have to go through the whole book again and again just make sure how the events play out in the comic.

Once you put everything together it does make an amusing little story about people’s lives when some mystical being decides to bring love and joy back to them. Not knowing that in a world of super heroes that people will freak out and think it’s some kind of plague. The comic does show what lives are changed because of the Dancing Master, but the story is so spread apart and jumps to a different person on every page it gets to the point that you don’t really care about these characters or wishing to see these guys again. It’s unusual for that to happen in this series but that’s what happens when you try to focus on more then one character in the story. So I feel a little disappointed when Jack-in-the-Box doesn’t have enough panel time in the comic.

I did find it exciting that I knew how the characters connect in someway and I’m a sucker for a happy ending when it comes to love. What I found interesting were Dancing Master and a robot by the name of Rover as it looks like it could lead into a interesting story about a robot gaining sentience and going bad. This issue felt more like introducing new characters for the sake of introducing new characters and the story felt weak. Maybe I’m giving too much thought into this.

I’m happy to point out that the regular artist for the series Brent Anderson is back. It looks like that break did wonders for the guy as his art has improved since the last time we saw his artwork. The character designs are unique, especially Dancing Master’s. The style keeps changing every time we see him and I think that’s a good thing. It shows that he’s not from this world and he’s some sort of god like being. It also shows that Brent can do different styles when it comes to drawing. He can make Dancing Master look like he came from a old fairy tale book in one scene to look like something from the 60’s in the next. It’s an interesting twist when telling a story.

All in all this comic is okay. But this is a first time that I can say you can skip this issue. Shocking I know. Unless there’s going to be a issue that follows up on the story then you won’t feel so bad if you miss it. I won’t stop you if you do want it to complete the collection. Take your time though as we won’t see the next issue until August. So take your time and catch up on the series if your behind while we wait for the next issue of Astro City.