Astro City #3 (DC/Vertigo)


Rating: 5/5 – One of the best superhero comics you may not be reading

I’ve been a fan of Astro City since it began back in 1995.  It has been published in a series of series, first from Image, then from Homage/Wildstorm, then the Wildstorm imprint at DC, and now that Wildstorm is no more, from the Vertigo imprint at DC.

Kurt Busiek has created a wonderful world of heroes and villains here that rivals any superhero universe I’ve read.  What makes this series special is the way he focuses on moments that are not typically explored in comics, whether different angles on stories with the heroes and villains themselves or on the stories of the people who inhabit this world and how the supers affect everyday life.

The story that appears in Astro City #2 and 3 focuses on, and is narrated by, Marella Cowper, a young woman who is screened & hired for a call center job that turns out to be the call center that screens emergency calls for the Honor Guard, the big superhero team of the Astro City universe.  The little glimpses we see of her life, how she feels about the job, how she interacts with co-workers, and how she ultimately reacts to the situations in the story is what made this really special.  It was one of those comics that was so good that as soon as I read it I was compelled to sit down at the keyboard and immediately write this review.

This was a heartwarming story that alternately made me tear up and put a smile on my face.  Busiek is a master craftsman at telling this kind of story and I cannot recommend this series highly enough.  Brent Anderson’s art has a crisp, clean style that perfectly complements Busiek’s story.  The camera angles chosen and panel-to-panel continuity provide a clarity to the story flow that could be muddied if handled by a lesser craftsman.

You can pick up #2 and #3 as a standalone story without any need for having read other issues of the series.  The heroes follow familiar archetypes and knowing their specific histories, powers, or back-story is not necessary to enjoy this story.  If you love a great story that focuses on the human element while still having some good action sequences, check your local shop for Astro City.  I think you’ll be glad you did.  Drop me a note to let me know what you think!

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall – Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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