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Astro City #8

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by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson & Alex Ross

The latest arc in Astro City has been one of the best ones since its return. Someone has set-up Winged Victory and turned both the public and her allies against her. Now people see here various training compounds for women and possible terrorist training camps and everything Winged Victory has worked so hard on her whole life looks to be slowly crumbling right before her eyes.

Astro City has always had its fair share of analog characters to represent certain recognizable heroes that fans can relate to without feeling like rip-offs. Here we get to see The Samaritan, Winged Victory and The Confessor team up for the first time, which is their version of DC’s Trinity (Superman, Wonder Woman & Batman). Even though these characters haven’t really worked together in Astro City before, Busiek knows his characters so well and they work really well together (after a small misunderstanding between The Samaritan and The Confessor). Even though the culprit of Winged Victory’s framing has still not been revealed this issue really showcases their team work but also has an underlying theme of the empowerment of women. Having to rely on men for help, men getting to decide her fate. No matter whether they had good intentions or not it’s humiliating for her to have all these men in control of her situation now after all she has worked for to strengthen and empower women. Busiek has wrote a great mystery story that also has plenty of deep themes that happen to be very relevant, especially now.

This issue looks spectacular, and that’s saying something since all of Anderson’s Astro City issues are always eye-catching. Having to pack an issue with Astro City‘s Big Three and have them look and feel like a team really was a big strength for this issue. This has been the first issue to feature the new Confessor who had taken over the mantel for his master and as a reader you’re curious how he can hold his own with the experienced heroic goliaths. This proves to be no problem and the design and explanation make sense and fits perfectly into the story. Even the designs for both E.A.G.L.E. troopers and the Iron Legion look well thought out and still give you a memorable feeling but also stand out as their own characters. The beauty of Anderson’s art is it will sometimes remind you of a familiar troupe you have seen in comics over the years but still feel like an original creation so that this series is enjoyable to both new readers and fanboys alike.

This story is a prime example of everything that is great about Astro City and why’s it’s so great to have it back on the shelves. You can get so many layers of enjoyment out of this series no matter how familiar you are with Astro City‘s history or even comics in general. Busiek and Anderson have spent years building this series which reflects off the page onto the reader but they never stray away too far from being impossible to a new reader to pick up and enjoy. Hopefully new readers will enjoy this latest series and be convinced to go back and read the previous collections if they feel they want to know more about all the inhabitants of Astro City. Many people write comics where they build their own super powered characters while throwing in subtle homages to familiar heroes but Astro City was always one of the first who did it right and made a series that can stand alone as its own entity.

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