Images © Juke Box Productions.
It has been a long road, as writer Kurt Busiek has acknowledged, but the 16-issue ASTRO CITY epic concludes with these issues, wrapping up the saga of brothers Charles and Royal Williams. Their entire lives have been shaped by a thirst for revenge against the super villain who killed their parents, and the question here is whether the payoff will be rewarding for them and for us, the readers. Along the way, of course, we get to see lots more of the cool sort-of-familiar and always imaginative heroes and villains of the city and the series, of which I think Mirage, shown on the cover above, is one of the coolest. Love that neon tube outfit! We’ve followed the brothers through decades of tragedy and triumph, always hot on the trail of their intended victim, but never quite catching up. Does Busiek deliver?
I can’t go into detail without spoiling things, but I was generally satisfied, if not surprised by the way things wrapped up. I was delighted by the Epilogue, in which we see the brothers “today,” perhaps the best thing in these issues for me. In all, it’s been a good ride.
While the art for ASTRO CITY has remained remarkably consistent over many years, on these issues I was surprised to learn that interior artist Brent Anderson has switched to completely digital art, “drawn” and “inked” on a Wacom tablet and a Mac computer. I would never have known, it looks just the same to me. I imagine it saves Brent some time (or he wouldn’t be doing it), and except for the regrettable absence of actual original art for him to sell, it seems to work very well. Good for him.
These issues are not a wise place to start, but the entire Dark Age series, and indeed all of ASTRO CITY is certainly recommended.