REVIEW: Astro City #1
Or – “OHMIGODOHMIGODOHMIGOD ASTRO CITY IS BACK, YOU GUYS!!”
Whaddaya waiting for??? Your Major Spoilers review awaits!
The perfect introductory issue.
A lovely callback to stories past.
There are no cons.
Shut up and read it.
ASTRO CITY #1
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Brent Eric Anderson
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Letterer: John G. Roshell & Jimmy Betancourt
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Editor: Kristy Quinn
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Astro City: Once the small town of Romeyn Falls, Astro City is a metropolis (ahem) that is home to dozens of superhumans, each of whom is pretty much nothing like what you expect while totally being recognizable as both archetypes and people. Strange things happen here, strange and wonderful things…
A VERY UNUSUAL STORY-TELLING TOOL…
As comic books go, Astro City is an utter curve-breaker for me, as even the worst issue of this series has been better than the majority of comics on the stands. When this issue opens, we, the readers, are immediately directly addressed by The Broken Man, a new character to the world of A.C. The Broken Man also serves as the issue’s narrator, telling us about the world of Astro City and explaining that something is coming. This rather difficult-to-pull-off storytelling device totally works for me as a reader, pulling me into the story and conversationally tossing out references to things we have and haven’t seen. When a new hero appears, he snarkily responds that we’ve probably missed some stuff, what with “spending a few years messing around with stuff that happened thirty years ago.” Artistically, the book hasn’t lost a step either, with characters new and old sharing the stage, and a HUGE double-page spread of a couple dozens Astro City regulars trying to blast open a pair of doors that appear over the river outside of town…
…BUT ONE THAT TOTALLY WORKS.
What’s that all about? Well, it has to do with the Broken Man’s words, as well as a wonderful return from a previous issue #1. In fact, now that I think of it, the primary superhero presence (Samaritan), was the star of the very FIRST Astro City issue, so this book serves at once as a celebration of what has gone before and a return to greatness for the A.C. franchise. As with the best issues of the series, the superhero fighty-fighty and zappy kablammicus are secondary to the stories being told, and it’s a thrill for me to see the continuation of a character arc from 17 years ago, especially to see characters who were children grown up. If there’s any flaw in this issue, it’s the worry that Astro City will once again go away for a few years once I get used to the idea of it being a monthly title again. The last page has a neat twist/shocking reveal, and makes me think that the Broken Man may be someone that we’ve seen briefly before in two separate incarnations, a twist that would be interestingly metatextual and brilliant all at once. If it IS who I think it is, I’m hoping we finally find out more (but not ALL) of his story, much as I wondered for years about the tragic end of the Silver Agent.
THE BOTTOM LINE: RUSH RIGHT OUT, IN A BUYING FRENZY.
If you haven’t heard me gush about Astro City before, please be aware: I am a total mark for this series, and will drink the Kool-Aid without question, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not an excellent book. From the cool new logo design to the text page (that promises, I might add, to become a letters page next time) to the new hero in town, it’s all top-notch stuff, and like the previous #1 issues, makes a point of being not just a good story, but a good introductory story at the same time, all the while feeding the established fans more of the patented Astro City goodness. Astro City #1 is how you relaunch a book, folks, and if you’re not reading it, you’re missing something wonderful, something that once again broke the grading curve and earned 5 out of 5 stars overall. This comic book makes me want to be a better nerd…