YMMV / Astro City

  • Arc Fatigue: Experienced by fans during the Schedule Slip of the earlier issues, more recently due to the years of publishing time dedicated to the 16-issue "Dark Age" storyline.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Deke "the Deacon" M(a)cManus has no superpowers or doomsday plans, but more than makes up for it in sheer ambitious depravity. After serving as the top lieutenant for mob boss Joey "thr Platypus" Platapopoulous for many years, the Deacon made his move for power by igniting the most awful gang war Astro City has ever seen, bombing gangs turfs and killing the bosses' loved ones, then framing other crime lords for the acts to instigate bloody battles throughout the city. As hundreds of people are caught up in the bloodshed, the Deacon murders Joey, unleashes the psychopathic Jitterjack onto the city, and manipulates Black Velvet into murdering the criminals who once brutally tortured and experimented on her, something the Deacon himself had a hand in. Upon assuming control of the annihilated gangs, the Deacon cornered the market on drug running, arms trades, and human trafficking throughout Astro City, and continues to be a plague upon its civilians and heroes alike to this day.
    • The Dark Age: Aubrey Jason, later known as Lord Sovereign, was a PYRAMID operative who killed a random couple to escape superhero pursuers, resulting in the couple's children growing up with a burning hatred towards him. Later pursuing him, the brothers force Jason to leave PYRAMID and go on the run. Attempting to escape them, Jason causes a massive amount of terrorist attacks that claim multiple innocent lives to throw them off his trail until he harnesses mystical energies to make himself into a superpowered being. Christening himself "Lord Sovereign", Jason threatens to force the brothers to relive their parents' murder for eternity and intends on draining the minds of everyone in Astro City to make them his slaves while repeating this process across the world.
    • Samatarian: The Infidel is one of Astro City's greatest threats and a wicked contrast to his enemy's unfailing virtue. Born Kiyu and possessed of an ever-constant curiosity of the world and how it worked, Kiyu eventually absorbed the power of the Empyrean fires and slaughtered those who would defy and oppress him. Branded a monstrous infidel, Kiyu happily takes the title for his own and travels across reality to use countless people from across time to use as fodder for experimentation, slaves, or his own pleasure, goading many into becoming subservient to him by saving them from many of the world's greatest disasters only to enslave them. When fought against by the Samatarian, the Infidel devastated the world and tried to destroy or enslave those close to his enemy countless times, even obliterating the entire world before finally making a pact of peace with his enemy when both realized the fight would be never-ending. Even in the present day where the Infidel seems to be a Retired Monster, he still actively schemes to subtly corrupt the Samatarian during their annual peace meetings, with even the prospect of a potential redemption for the Infidel left doubtful in lieu of the Infidel's perpetual crusade to slake his curiosity and trump over his nemesis no matter who has to suffer.
    • Dr. Aegyptus is an Egyptian-themed supervillain from the early 1900s in Astro City. First introduced having stolen a mystical time-traveling artifact, Aegyptus uses it to kidnap black men, women and children, taking them back to the 1700s and selling them into slavery to use the proceeds to buy magical artifacts in the past before anyone is aware of their true value. Later resurfacing with a new plan, Aegyptus plans to sacrifice a crowded theater full of innocent people in 1917 to summon an Eldritch Abomination to hand the very world over to it, resulting in everything that lives being devoured in return for Aegyptus gaining ultimate power.
    • One-shot villain Krigari the Ironhanded started out as an entity native to the Unterverse who slaughtered his way to a position of power and strength, becoming a galactic tyrant with a perpetual lust for war and blood. Decimating entire worlds and races with the few survivors forced to toil at his armies with slaves and destroying billions of innocents, Krigari's psychotic crusade takes him to Earth once the disguised Quiqui-a, Eth, tells him he is destined to be defeated at the hands of Astro City's Honor Guard. Repeatedly attempting to destroy Earth, Krigari ultimately binds his soul to an artifact called the Dark Opal to make himself invincible and crush all his enemies, with only the Heroic Sacrifice of the noble Stormhawk putting an end to the Ironhanded's universe-destroying crusade.
  • It Was His Sled: It's pretty well known even to non-readers that Confessor is actually a vampire.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Doctor Aegyptus' mass kidnapping on its own would be bad enough, but then it turns out he's exclusively kidnapping black people, taking them back to before the American Civil War, and selling them into slavery.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Gormenghast, and what he does to Crackerjack. The man may have been a jerk, but violently harvesting him for tissue samples to make an army of clones isn't what anyone deserves.
  • Tear Jerker: There's a lot of tragedy behind the scenes in Astro City. A lot of characters, even the ones who seem like they're doing great, are suffering for one reason or another.
    • "The Nearness of You": a short story dealing with an ordinary person's struggle with a Cosmic Retcon that erased his wife.
    • 'The Tarnished Angel' is a Reformed, but Rejected story, tragic because the ex-supervillain would be content with so little.
      • And the story-within-the-story "Voice of the Turtle," ends with a Hope Spot... but the Turtle's the next victim of the hidden killer.
    • The Silver Agent's career ends in a way that was hinted at in the very beginning of the series: being executed by the state for a crime he didn't commit. And, as revealed in The Dark Age and his later two-issue focus arc, the Agent knew of his tragic death (because of time travel) and went to his death anyway, to avoid a Bad Future.
    • Beautie's focus story, "Her Dark Plastic Roots", reveals that the robotic member of Honor Guard suffers from continuous loneliness (even though she doesn't understand the emotion) as well as inevitable 'amnesia' when she gets close to discovering her own secret origin.
    • Then there's the anguish Crackerjack and Quarrel go through as time starts catching up with them. Watching them as they accept and deny the effects of time on their skills will hit home for older readers.
    • The story of G-Dog, a superhero who's a Fusion Dance of a man and his pet corgi, using the same magical amulet that had belonged to Stormhawk (from "Sorrowsday"). The guy had been a petty criminal and had taken the dog as collateral from a drug addict who owed him money (who had himself stolen the dog from a breeder). Having the dog as a companion slowly begins to change him into a better person, but after stealing the amulet and stumbling across its power, he does a complete Heel–Face Turn as he gains an empathic bond with his dog, and feels guilty about committing crimes. The two begin fighting crime as G-Dog, the man goes back to school, gets a job and even gets married, and attributes all the positive changes in his life to his pet. Unfortunately, eventually the dog begins to grow old, and finally passes away from cancer at 17. The man doesn't lose his powers, as they're a permanent side effect of the amulet, but he's absolutely devastated by the loss of his beloved companion. In the end, rather than bonding with a new animal, he leaves the amulet out in the wilderness where Stormhawk had once found it, in the hopes that it will benefit someone else as much as it had him.