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    Astro City # 19 continues down a well-trodden path

    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. More

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    Astro City # 18 Feels Bogged-Down with Set-Up

    What happens when a superhero starts to get old? Not Dark Knight Returns old, but just old enough that running around in long underwear on rooftops seems even more inadvisable than usual, and thoughts of “what comes after?” start to creep in. This is the question that Astro City # 18 stets out to grapple with in a multi-issue story starring Quarrel, an Astro City regular enjoying her first time at the forefront of a story. But while Quarrel’s story has a lot of potential, the first installment feels first and foremost like setup for what’s to come later, the foundation on which the story to come can be built, and as such is only a somewhat satisfying read. More

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    ‘Astro City’ #16 innovates in all the best ways

    A good twist can make a good comic, just as easily as it can make a bad comic worse. Thankfully, Astro City issue 16, entitled Wish I May… has the latter kind of twist, one that makes an already strong comic even better. Of course, the problem this presents is that it makes it extremely difficult to talk about the comic and what makes it interesting without giving away the surprise, which is why this review will sadly have to come with Spoilers More

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    Astro City # 15 is a tightly paced ending to Ellie’s story

    After a first half built around a central question that took its time setting up characters and mood, Astro City # 15 concludes the two part storyline focusing on Ellie, an elderly woman with a mysterious past and a proclivity for repairing robots. But while the first half of the story felt very deliberately paced, focusing on setup, part two feels positively overflowing with exposition and story momentum, taking off at a run early on and not stopping for the world. More

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    ‘Astro City’ # 14: On Robots and Where They Go

    ‘Where do all the robots go?’. It’s a pretty good question, when one thinks about it, just another of the many things comics never really address. When mad scientist X, Y or Z comes in to town, the proud new owner of something large, shiny, ambulatory and looking to cause some ruckus, and said shiny thing is quickly reduced to a collection of paperweights of various size…where do they all go? As always, Astro City is here to shine a light on the lesser-known side of any comic book universe, the robot junk yard. More

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    ‘Astro City’ # 13 Breaks from the Formula to Terrific Effect

    For a while now, Astro City has been in what you might call a familiar rut. Not in a bad way, per se, but a period of distilling the core ideas and motifs of the series down, of perfecting the formula that made Astro City great. But something like this can only be done for so long before it gets stale, and thankfully it seems that Busiek and co. were aware of this, as Astro City #13 is nothing if not a shakeup, an experiment, a step out of the normal pattern. And also thankfully, it’s a darn good one. More

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    Astro City # 11 Feels Familiar, but Not Unwelcome

    Astro City is a book (and a city, for that matter) populated largely by archetypes. While there are a few wholly original heroes and villains dotted about like bacon bits on a good pizza, for the most part what we get are thinly veiled variations on characters we already know. This is because Astro City is more concerned with the world and the normal people in it than the brightly colored people who fly about it in their longjohns, who for many stories are just set dressing. Astro City number 11, once you get to the heart of it, is about Doctor Strange and Wong. More

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    Astro City # 10 Finishes the Current Winged Victory Storyline Well

    With Astro City issue ten, Winged Victory’s current story arc has come to a close, with Vic finally confronting Karnazon, the villain responsible for slandering her name and kidnapping former students. As an ending to the story itself, the issue isn’t anything to write an epic sonnet about. A few keystrokes and the help of a plucky supporting character reveal the location of Karnazon’s base, and the big bad is dispatched with all the gravity and dramatic weight of someone shaking a leaf from the sole of their shoe. Readers looking for epic confrontations and climactic battles will be let down, but those readers will have missed the point somewhat, as Astro City has never been concerned much with action and excitement as it has with characters and ideas, and this issue exemplifies this. More

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    Astro City # 9 Regains Some Focus in the Current Storyline

    It would be very easy to call this issue a dalliance or distraction, similar to the previous one. Not entirely essential to the story, but just a bit of padding to bring it to four issues. While this claim may not be entirely false, it feels more like an organic part of Winged Victory’s storyline than the last issue, mostly by the virtue of actually putting more of its focus on events which directly affect Vic as a character, and not sidelining her so “Astro City” can have a “Batman vs. Superman” moment. More

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    Astro City # 8 Goes a Tad Off-Topic, to its Detriment

    Since relaunching last year, the now Vertigo-published “Astro City” has largely been cruising along on a series of single-issue stories, often to its detriment. But Busiek and co have finally decided the time has some to tell a larger story, one that finally gives some attention to critically under-exposed Astro City heavy hitter Winged Victory in the process, and issue two of the story recently hit the shelves. More

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    Astro City # 7 Finally Gives Winged Victory the Spotlight

    Issue 7 of “Astro City”, which hit stands this week, stars Winged Victory, the unabashed Wonder Woman of the Astro City universe, though she looks more like Katherine Hepburn mugged Xena and Hawkwoman. The issue, the first in a four-part story, both recants WV’s origin, and sees her slandered by her foes, implicating all her battles with them are staged, and offers an overall introduction to Winged Victory’s side of the the “Astro City” universe, which till now had only been referred to rather than shown. More

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