Confession time. Josh Epstein had me try on many hats before settling on this long overdue assignment. When he brought up the subject of me reviewing this, my personal life was basically imploding on itself, and without knowing any background on Astro City, I answered his request with a rather defeated “Okay.” He had to prod me a few more times via messenger before I was able to scrape myself out of bed and do productive things like read comics.
I went into this assignment completely blind. To explain, I have done absolutely no research on the background of the Astro City, not even a casual search. Honestly, I thought it would have something to do with Astro Boy. *shrug*
Anyway, I was intrigued from page one. The narrator looked like something from The Sandman series, which is unsurprising, since this is coming from Vertigo. I am also a sucker for things that have a narrator. Some may call the device emotionally manipulative or insulting to the intelligence of the audience, but to me it is oddly comforting.
We are whisked off to Astro City, and the “threat” is introduced, a large golden door that is floating above the city. Through this threat, we are treated to a steady rotation of who the protagonist is not. It’s not the thoroughly irritating American chibi girl (thank GOD) or any of the chisel-jawed poor man’s Superman/Captain Americas. In fact, our hero is a simple man. Extraordinary and yet ordinary. No powers, no youth, just a man a hair past his middle years grappling with ennui.
He readily volunteers to venture into the unknown, once the occupants behind the golden door show themselves. They do not want any of the city’s surplus of super-powered beings; they just want someone ordinary to teach them about the mundanities and politics of earth.
The hard left the comic takes in the end left me wondering if the series was going to be taking a St. Elsewhere route or, somewhat more recent, that one Season Six episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, you ought to just read this comic. I highly recommend it.
In a nutshell, I am intrigued to read more. As with most Vertigo titles, the artwork was more than adequate, the dialogue was clever, and the plot engaging. I feel slightly like Temperance “Bones” Brennan for having a bit of a I-don’t-know-what-that-is moment when it comes to this series, so forgive my ignorance on this series, and feel free to laugh heartily at me, while peppering the comments section with biting comments.
MandiLyn Krueger is a contributor to the Capeless Crusader website. When she’s not rescuing the elderly from their own infirmity at her day job, she writes POINT OF ENTRY for Capeless. She is on a never-ending quest to become a more complete nerd.