In last month’s Astro City, the first part in a multi-issue story about the past and future of longtime Astro character Quarrel, Busiek and co. told the story of Quarrel’s early life and the events that set her on the road to heroism. It was, and still is, a fine origin story, but the issue felt mostly like set-up for something more rewarding to come, a story more focused on Quarrel’s present, as she and Crackerjack near what passes for retirement age for crimebusters. A good origin story, even as deftly executed as we saw last month, still feels like old ground for superhero comics, and the prospective of a comic focusing on an aging hero’s choice to finally hang up the tights seems like a much more interesting and less-travelled idea for a story.
Unfortunately, part 2 of the story continues to largely be an origin story for Quarrel, this time focusing on her
It could very well turn out that the extended look at Quarrel’s backstory will be essential for what comes later, that the story of Quarrel -now- cannot be told without a detailed look at Quarrel -then-. Be that as it may, this feels like a story that will be told better in collected editions. It still feels like we’re in a holding pattern, waiting for the main show to begin once the set-up is done. Again, it’s a good holding pattern, but the tantalizing glimpses of the much more interesting story waiting in the wings are making the meat of the issue seem dull by comparison.