Sunday, August 7, 2011

Astro City: The Dark Age Book 1 TPB

Wow. I forgot how much I love Astro City. I remember being obsessed with it when it started, but I lost interest during the first Dark Age mini-series, and just sort of fell away from the series. Now that I read everything in one sitting, I don’t understand how I could have ever thought this was boring.

Kurt Busiek’s meticulous world is fascinating. It’s too easy to say he’s created analogues of all our old favorites, because while the Blue Knight might be similar to the Punisher or Ghost Rider, he’s not really either. The Street Angel goes through some of the same things as Daredevil, but he’s clearly his own man. And you’ve got to love a world where “Spider-Man” is a high-jumping clown named Jack in the Box. The details are intricate, and there is a constant sense that the world has so much happening, and boy, I bet it would have been good comics, but sorry, normal people just can’t keep up.

The two brothers who star in this story, Charles and Royal aren’t so different, even though one is a prisoner and one is a cop. They are both scarred by the death of their dad (early hero the Black Badge, although that’s never definitively stated), and they are both overwhelmed by the heroes in their midst. Royal has a lot more run-ins with them than his cop brother, of course, the best being the year that Royal spends on the run targeted by the Blue Knight.

It is rough that this first trade contains the first 12 parts of the story, and it is good. Really good. But there is a whole separate trade where the brothers might get their shot at revenge. There’s a lot of revenge to hand out, too, so I’m anxious to see it happen (I always respond to a good revenge story).

Brent Anderson’s art is detailed, clear, and energetic. Simon Magus is a hippier Dr. Strange. Royal and Charles look related, but have their own looks. And Alex Ross’ bonus sketches are a wonderful addition to the collection.

I’m glad I found my way back to Astro City.


1 comment:

Always Right said...

We all forgot how great Astro City is because it comes around like a surprise dessert in a restaurant given to you because of a mistake in the kitchen, very rare and oh so delicious when it happens. The quality doesn't drop, just the frequency or lack of since it began, but always worth the wait.