Astro City continues to prove that it soars high above the competition when it focuses on the character of Winged Victory. No pun intended.
Previously in ASTRO CITY: The heroine Winged Victory has been slandered and denounced as a criminal. Only help from Samaritan and the Confessor can clear her name, but does she want a clear slate?
SOAR HIGHER AND HIGHER
This issue is another continuation of a multi-part storyline that involves Winged Victory. The thing that Astro City does so well, better than most titles being published in fact, is it gives you an excellent jumping on point in every issue. You could easily jump into this issue with no prior knowledge and still get enjoyment out of it. Of course, that’s always been a strength of Kurt Busiek’s scripting.
What could have been a simple story about a hero that has been tarnished has been turned into an issue that should be very empowering to women. Heck, I felt empowered after reading this issue! After Winged Victory escapes from the E.A.G.L.E. authorities who have been tasked to bring her in, she has a peculiar meeting with an old woman. This woman tells a very sad story of her life and the injustices that have plagued her. Then she proceeds to let Winged Victory know in these specific words, “You’re my hero.” Not because of how many times she saved the city, but because she created centers and schools where women could solve problems with peace. It’s a powerful moment. Most other writers would have glossed over this scene, but Busiek lets it breathe and make an impact on the reader. It’s moments like this that make Astro City a book that is proud of its heroes. They’re shining beacons for all us to look up into the sky at. I want to live in that city.
MEANWHILE DEEP INSIDE THE CHURCH
Brent Anderson does a fantastic job in this issue. His use of shadow and darkness in the scenes between the Confessor and Samaritan are especially good. His style is probably more retro than the house styles of the big two, but Anderson’s line work never looks dated. His strong dynamic angles and facial expressions make your inner mind view this as a TV show instead of a comic book. That’s an ability that most artists in comics simply don’t have.
BOTTOM LINE: TWO TICKETS STRAIGHT TO ASTRO CITY
Astro City #8 genuinely surprised me. I have been a fan of this series ever since it began over ten years ago. It’s always been a solid book that played on our expectations of the archetypes of DC and Marvel characters, but then moved beyond that and became a special book that made these characters seem more real. The plot of this issue hit me right in my heart. It made me take a step back and reexamine the character of Winged Victory, a character that I had previously not cared too much about. Now I see that character as stronger, bolder with a new side to her that I never saw before. Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson did with this issue what all great storytellers should aspire to do. Challenge your expectations, make you see things in a new light, and tug on your heart-strings. Astro City is comics at the peak of storytelling, my friends.