Sunday, January 3, 2010

Astro City: Life in the Big City Trade Paperback Review

Astro City: Life in the Big City
DC Comics - Wildstorm
Softcover Trade Paperback
192 Pages
$19.95 (1995) Trade Paperback
$39.95 (1995) Hardcover
$49.95 (1996) Limited Hardcover
$19.95 (1999) Trade Paperback
$17.99 (2011) Trade Paperback
$29.99 (2011) Hardcover
ISBN 156389551X
TO BUY: Astro City TPB Astro City HC Astro City: Life in the Big City (New Edition)

Contributors: Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, Alex Ross, and Steve Buccellato

Reprints: Kurt Busiek's Astro City #1-6 (of 6)

Synopsis: Astro City is a unique metropolis where exciting things happen every day and tourists flock for the chance to catch a glimpse of real-life superheroes. An anthology collection of ‘slice-of-life’ stories featuring a tableau of characters unique yet familiar.

Samaritan balances a superhuman life saving the universe with the mundane existence of a normal man.  A reporter is fascinated by the mysterious secret of the Silver Agent.  Cracker Jack is a loud-mouthed hero who needs to reconnect with the common man.  The Hanged Man is a spectral entity which protects the slums in a superstitious part of town.  Two heroes try to take a moment to themselves and enjoy an honest-to-goodness date.

Samaritan is a Superman-like figure who sacrifices his time to have a
life with saving lives as a superhero
Pros: Exceptional storytelling which really focuses on the human element amid the backdrop of larger-than-life events, Busiek accomplishes quality stories outside the confines of the established characters from Marvel/DC while remaining reminiscient, great sketchbook section from Ross

Cons: Not much, each issue is a separate story although there is no resolution at the end of the book, most of the characters are one-offs of popular heroes (i.e. Samaritan = Superman, Winged Victory = Wonder Woman, Jack-in-the-Box = Spider-Man, and the First Family = Fantastic Four)
Winged Victory and Samaritan go on a date
Mike Tells It Straight: Astro City was an immediate classic and won an Eisner Award in 1996 for Best New Series. These stories are an extension of what Busiek started in Marvels by adding a man-on-the-street perspective to the grandeur of superhero fiction. The stories are not just flash and action, but will touch your heart and captivate you with their subtlety. If Norman Rockwell drew superhero comics they would look like Astro City.

TO BUY and Recommendations: Astro City: Confession Astro City: Family Album Astro City: Local Heroes