In 1995, hot off the heels of the mega-successful mini-series Marvels, Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross began a new approach to telling superhero stories. With Busiek’s writing, Ross designs and covers, and artist Brent Anderson, Astro City was a comic series designed to tell the superhero story from a more human perspective. The series ran periodically until 2018 and was published by several different companies and had different editions.
Astro City Metrobook Vol. 2 is published by Image Comics and collects reprinted material from volume 2, issues 13-22. Also included are various mini-series. This collection focuses more on the citizens of Astro City. The heroes are merely background characters and occurrences. These stories are more personal and thus more relatable to the reader.
The tales in this collection have been reprinted multiple times since their original run. This volume is incredibly large and almost impossible to review as a standard trade or story, especially with the variety of different narratives and characters that are included. A few things must be pointed out: First, this series is a classic. It came at a time in which comics were changing focusing to smaller, more personal tales and tackling not just characters, but environments, as well. Astro City feels like a real place with real people who have lives, families, hopes, and dreams.
Apart from the writing, the art is simply stellar. The character designs and covers are by Alex Ross who was at the height of his popularity just after his work on Kingdom Come. There is no better character designer than Ross. Brent Anderson gives him a run for his money, bringing a unique realistic style not only to the characters, but to the environment, as well. This is combined with straight-forward storytelling. This was a departure from the Image era of design which came back into style over the course of the book.
Astro City is a series that was great when it was originally published and remains so to this day. From the writing to the art, it remains a pinnacle of comic book storytelling at its finest. The collection in Astro City Metrobook, Vol. 2 is one of the best.
Highly Recommended – 4 out of 4 stars
Creative Team: Kurt Busiek (writer), Alex Ross (cover artist), & Brent Anderson (artist)
Publisher: Image Comics
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