Busiek and Anderson's current Astro City story looks the gloomier aspects of '70s superhero comics. Astro City, which is quite possibly the best superhero book on the market right now, has always been at its best when it gives us the view from the ground in its fantastic universe—what's it like to be part of the "normal" population of a superhero world? It's particularly interesting to ask this question in light of cosmic characters, those galaxy-spanning heroes and villains that prove the universe to be larger and more complicated than any Astro Citizen could hope to understand.
This issue gives a wonderful picture of the ineffability of cosmic superheroics, accompanied with a brilliant explanation for how the average folks of the universe deal with such events as the sudden appearance of an alien god. In this issue, an enormous, faceless apparition called "The Incarnate" appears over Astro City, hovering over the skyline for days but making no sign of why it's there or what it wants. Busiek and Anderson tell us how the people on the street cope:
Naturally the fringe element came out in force, looking for some kinda cosmic enlightenment. They talked about "levels of perception" a lot, but I don't think they got anything either. The rest of us, we walked on eggshells the first few days. Maybe prayed a little more. But in the end... In the end we did what we always do in Astro City. We shrugged, nicknamed him "Big Joe," and went on with things."In the shadow of a god who is visible but incomprehensible, there's nothing to do but fall back into routine. A divine presence is meaningless without a divine message.