Sunday, February 26, 2006

Review: Local Heroes, Kurt Busiek

Kurt Busiek's Astro City is a post-modernist take on super-heroes, the quintessential American mythos. He relies very much on your latent knowledge of super-heroes, and populates Astro City with clones and derivatives of them --- the Superman clone, the Batman identico, the speedster, and all the correspondent types. His approach is unique in that he does not discuss their abilities and their origins (except in one case, and that was only to provide an interesting perspective on his version of Batman). Instead, he takes the oblique view, providing a look at the heroes from a small, limited perspective.

This collection starts off with the point of view of a doorman at a local hotel, and then rapidly cycles through a host of ordinary people, including a comic book writer, a retired hero, an attorney, a ex-superhero's girlfriend, and a young girl who leaves Astro City for the first time to visit her countryside relatives. Each of the stories come with a little twist, and each tale revolves somehow around a superhero, but from the perspective of an ordinary person. The art is well done and consistent.

Overall, the series and the book is recommended. Kurt Busiek is no Alan Moore in the early nineties, but he is the equal to Moore's current series of books.
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