Astro City: Confession - Kurt Busiek & Brent Anderson

I found this one at the library, and having read one other Astro City book before, I was pretty sure I'd enjoy this one as well. I wasn't disappointed. Neil Gaiman wrote the introduction, and in it he sums up what I liked about Astro City better than I could. The secret to good fiction is: "There is room for things to mean more than they literally mean." Astro City is a superhero comics that is about more than superheroes. It's more common now, in the world that's seen "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Smallville" on TV, to see monsters and superheroes and aliens as more than just what they appear to be. (And it explains why literal representations such as the first two Harry Potter movies are so disappointing, even when they stay "true to the book.")

This volume, apparently early in the series, is about Brian Kinney, a teenager who moves to Astro City to get away from home, a small town where his dad built a reputation as a loser. He ends up becoming an apprentice to the Confessor, a hero with mysterious powers and a dark secret. In the meantime, there's a brutal serial killer on the loose, a movement to criminalize superheroes (predating "The Incredibles" by several years), and that aforementioned secret of the Confessor's. The book also includes a stand-alone short story, "The Nearness of You," featuring a bizarre hero called the Hanged Man.

A lot of superhero comics are hard for me to get into because the series have been around for so long that the writers expect you to know who all these characters are, what they do, what their motivations are. But in Busiek's world, there are superheroes that might have never appeared before, and it's not important for you to know who they are exactly; yet there's still a sense of history and back-story to the whole thing.

I think I liked "Local Heroes" better, but this is still fairly high on my list.

Fed to jonathan's brain | November 23, 2005 | Comments (0)


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