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Sex #1 (Image): Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski drop their much anticipated new series and I’m instantly less concerned with the gratuitous sex (yes, even if it’s supposed to be some type of meta-fictional corollary for superpowers, it hasn’t served much of an organic narrative purpose yet other than saturating the world) and more concerned with the cool world-building going on with this prodigal hero returning to Saturn City. Fairly early into the proceedings, there are some awkward panel transitions and dialogue mismatched to the wrong people; Simon calls a person “Larry” who appears to be a woman(?), asks direct questions of people on and off panel which never get answered, so things feel choppy, and some other stuff like that. The sex scenes are also confusing visually. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you have a pair of women in a 69, from the POV depicted in one panel, the other’s legs aren’t going the right way. I suppose this is neither here nor there really, and one could argue that they’re just random static images and not meant to be sequentially linear as the panels lead us to believe, but, I don’t know, if you’re going to make a book ostensibly about sex and hype up all the marketing that way, you might want to, and I’m just spit-balling here, but you might want to take the time and care to get the basic vaginal geography and sexual choreography down. The colors also look a little flat and one-dimensional at times. With those warm and wet gripes out of the way, I really dug the way there isn’t any blatant exposition that insult’s the reader’s intelligence. We’re dropped into this world essentially en media res, and it’s up to us to piece clues together to figure out who these players are, what their relations to one another are, and how things function in this sexualized Astro City that seems to be past its prime, suggesting a rich off-camera back story. I’ve always enjoyed Joe Casey’s forward-thinking scripting and experimental ideas, in particular subsuming the Tony Stark/ Bruce Wayne archetype here and running with it. There are bits of the backmatter/lettercol I enjoyed, like the notes on re-appropriation of the superhero genre, and the appreciation of the strengths of the non-Marvel and DC books currently available, and the sometimes deliberate blurring of the creator lines between corporate and indie comics, but the tone also comes off as sorta’ pretentious ego peacocking, as if Casey is patting himself on the back for how clever and hip and daring his ideas are. Anyway, as an ongoing series, and with this type of pacing, there’s lots of time to unfurl this world, and I’m curious to see where it goes. Grade A-.