God Hates Astronauts #3 Review

Written by: Ryan Browne

Art by: Ryan Browne, Alejandro Bruzzese, Brad McGinty, and Jordan Boyd

Publisher: Image

Providing an overview of God Hates Astronauts seems like it would be fighting a losing battle at this point. As it stands, Crabulon’s ruler, King Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger, is still on his way to attack Earth, Star Grass’s cow-impulse controller is on the fritz, Anti-Muggers turn toward the dark side is continuing, and… well… I’m just at a loss for how exactly to accurately summarize the absurdity.

I’m going to preface the rest of my review by stating outright that the comedic elements of the book simply aren’t working for me. Three issues in and I’m just not enamored in the least with the absurdist method in play here. I know that this is going to be a very subjective thing (but critiques always are anyway), as there are plenty of people that are into this kind of comedy. That’s why Family Guy‘s constant non sequiturs are still a hit.

My experience with Browne’s creation started with this Image run. I am fairly certain that I’d feel more connected with the book if I’d been following earlier iterations. I’m just not sure if it’s too much to ask that this run should be able to stand on its own. I also can’t imagine that going back to earlier iterations would make the comedy speak to me any more. With that in mind, from a narrative standpoint, this run feels like a mess. Things may come together more once Crabulon actually invades, but it feels like there’s no way of knowing when that’s going to happen, as the progression of the narrative is haphazard. In the meantime, the book feels like a series of barely connected vignettes. Much of what’s occurring seems like it’s meant to hinge on the Power Persons Five, but Browne hasn’t really given us any reason to care. The focus is so much on the absurdity that there’s just no time spent creating reasons for the reader to actually care. I don’t think that this is unintentional, but it does leave me feeling very cold about the book when paired with the fact that the book isn’t making me laugh. I just can’t shake the feeling that there are numerous other books currently doing this type of comedy in a much more nuanced manner.

Unlike the overall narrative, I actually am enjoying Browne’s artwork. This does make me wonder if a version of this book, in which he was working with collaborator on writing, would be more up my alley. Like his writing, Browne’s art is not subtle in the least. But the book definitely feels like it would be better served with these images and exposition that was a bit more reserved, whereas the same exposition with a more subtle art style would just not work in the least. I actually do really enjoy the creative usage of onomatopoeiae that aren’t onomatopoeiae at all. But, amidst the barrage of just as ridiculous exposition, it just feels overwhelming.

I know there’s an audience for God Hates Astronauts, and I absolutely don’t begrudge that audience its enjoyment of the book. This is simply a case of coming to the determination that I am not a part of that audience, and that’s okay.