Comic Review: Astro City #42 (Vertigo)

Every now and then, readers like to read something that’s more independent. That isn’t confined to the typical company meddling that tends to plague any form of entertainment and.literature, (notably […]

Every now and then, readers like to read something that’s more independent.

That isn’t confined to the typical company meddling that tends to plague any form of entertainment and.literature, (notably Marvel and DC ). But every now and then there is a river of comics from sub-publishers, independent etc. Vertigo has had the privilege of publishing and continuing a gem in comics that often gets overlooked in superhero / comic book media. One gem.that is still going on is Kurt Busiek’s Astro City. Astro City is a comic series that plays off of the conventions of Superhero lore in a very believable and humane way. Usually, a series of one-shot focusing the Super Powered Heroes, villains, and even focusing on the lives of civilians that inhabit this world.

Astro City issue 42 is much like what you’d expect from this series, which is nothing but a good tale. This issue focuses on a Super Villain who has been stranded on an island for 30 years, reflecting on his victories, and mistakes, yearning to make a glorious return to civilization, defeating his enemy Mermaid, and finally cementing his name as a great supervillain. Will he accomplish this feat? What will it finally take to leave the island and if so, will he actually be happy to leave the island? Or will he have preferred remaining on it?

Kurt Busiek is often known for his work on The Avengers (with George Perez), Marvel’s (with Alex Ross) and many other significant series. So it’s no surprise that not only does Busiek understand how to write a superhero story or a mythology, but he knows how to write a humane story with a beginning, middle and end, that is beyond black and white. There is always a gray area, and in this issue, it’s very humorous and reasonable to how the antagonist of this book, is the main character sees himself and realizes that what he wants is probably different in regards to the end result that he may have received.

The art by Matthew Clarke and inks by Sean Parsons are fantastic and really gives that sorta Late 90s early 2000’s vibes of when comic books just had this kind of neo feel to it. The rest of the art in this book is fantastic and everyone does a good job with this one shot. Alex Ross’s cover art always does its job at cementing the tone for the book, and Busiek’s writing never fails as seen in this issue.

If you’re looking for stuff that isn’t Marvel, nor DC, but looking for something that analyzes Superheroes in a way that feels refreshing and manages to accomplish that sophisticated approach that isn’t a dreary deconstruction of Superheroes of Alan Moore’s Watchmen, but isn’t as far off as Grant Morrison’s wacky approach to superheroes, and you’re seeking for that middle ground, I think Busiek’s Astro City and this issue may just be for you.

Anthony Andujar Jr.

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