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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Whatever You Want: Astro City

Astro City

By: Kurt Busiek

I was first introduced to Astro City about the same time that I was introduced to Sandman. Unfortunately for me, the person who owned the books (and was loaning them out to everyone) moved away before I got my turn with them. Years later, Scotty added them to my ever growing list of books.

The great thing about this series is that it doesn’t follow just one character or just super heroes. It follows a city, so you can pretty much jump in where ever you want. I started with Tarnished Angel and the Beauty special that came out about a year ago. I don’t know what it is about this series, but it’s strangely compelling. I haven’t finished reading all of the books by a long shot, but I am working my way toward completing the series.

Each story shows a different perspective of the many layers of the city. Life in the Big City is the first book in the series. In the first story, you get to be in the head of the Samaritan and get to see his dreams. And in his dreams, the Samaritan flies. In real life, his flights are too short to be joyful, there’s always too much to do. I love seeing super heroes in their most vulnerable moments. The second story follows a newspaper editor and the new journalist for the Rocket. The editor tells a story about a tiny piece he wrote when he was a budding journalist and how it was nothing like the piece it started out as. But at the Rocket, they have to stick to facts that they can prove.

Tarnished Angel follow former villain Steeljack, a man made out of metal. He’s out of prison, but now he’s old and tired. He’s hired to find out who’s killing off all of the other supervillians. Despite myself, I found myself really feeling for Steeljack. He’s obviously seen the error of his ways and wants to just keep his head down for his remaining years, but things are never that simple in Astro City.

I love the cast of characters, each one unique. I mean, who would really think to make an oversized Beauty doll as a super hero? Obviously Kurt Busiek would. I recommend that you give this series a shot; it’s not that hard to get into, you don’t even have to start at the beginning if you don’t want to (as much as Rob probably wants to kill me for saying that, it’s true). Also, Alex Ross’s covers are just beautiful.

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