Astro City Through Open Doors HC (Kurt Busiek's Astro City) Hardcover – 24 Apr 2014
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"Astro City reminds readers just how much fun Busiek and Anderson's series can be. It was absolutely worth the wait." CBR
"I don't often realize how much I miss "Astro City" when it's gone until it comes back and sweeps me up again." MTV GEEK"
About the Author
Kurt Busiek is the acclaimed author of DC'S 2008 weekly series TRINITY, the ASTRO CITY graphic novels, as well as JLA/AVENGERS, SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY, Marvels and many others
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There are quite a bit of storylines that seems to be mysteriously intertwined in this story arch, and true to form for this series, we get to see from the viewpoint of the everyday inhabitants with a few peaks from superheroes both old and new. The covers from Alex Ross remain as beautiful as ever, and while Brent Anderson's art is not the flashiest nor the most modern, his clean storytelling is perfect for this series and I got quite a kick of his takes on modifying his art style to fit several flashback sequences set in various eras.
As usual, it is not required to have prior knowledge of Astro City to enjoy this new series, but older fans will get a kick over seeing some of our favorite superheroes, plus some everyday characters from the past.
I am happy to say that despite the dubious quality of DC's hardcovers, both from the quality of the materials and inclusion of extras, we have the standard Astro City hardcover with its logo watermark, plus the usual sketches & designs for new characters (but where is the foreword and the ribbon?) and the new illustration for the dust jacket is pretty nice too.
All in all there is something for everyone here; older fans of the series, comic books fans in general and anybody just interested in good quality entertainment, and with the recent pace with the release schedule of the comic book we should be seeing some more volumes relatively soon....can you say Confessor?
We kick off with a mysterious being called the Broken Man talking right to the reader, worried about some threat coming that can be anywhere and now we're his agents. Busiek actually pokes fun at complaints over "The Dark Age" with new heroine American Chiba and the Broken Man saying "you spend years talking about stuff that happened 30 years ago, you miss a lot." A massive door opens unveiling an alien who, in a priceless moment, booms out in a loud voice but then adjusts the volume of his communicator before politely introducing himself. In another brilliant touch, Busiek brings back the father and daughters from all the way back in the first issue of "Family Album" for a nice update that sets things into motion.
A two-parter focuses on a young woman who goes to work for the special hotline that gets information for super-team the Honor Guard. Besides giving us looks at new heroes like Wolfspider, we see the woman shaken when a simple call turns into a huge crisis, her guilt over it questioning what being a hero means. A great one-off issues looks at "Sideliners," people with super-powers who prefer to stick to normal lives, not hero or villain, such as an elderly telekinetic who does special effects work. It's great with humor as they're kidnapped by a would-be conquerer who badly underestimates how this isn't the first time it's happened to them. Another issue has Broken Man sharing odd tales of the past from a monster hunter to a female steampunk style adventurer with promises of them tying into the plot later. Then, a look at a small-time mob guy who sees an opportunity for power but wonders if it's worth risking a happy life.
The genius of the book is amazing as they can introduce a new character and in only moments, make them feel as long-lived as Superman or Spider-Man. Alex Ross' covers are still brilliant and Brent Anderson's pencils are as sharp as ever, selling the grandeur of these heroes but also the reactions of the common folk around too. These characters feel so amazingly real from the telekinetic who treats kidnapping as just a minor annoyance to the struggle of the woman on the hotline stricken with guilt, you feel for them and want to know more of their struggles and lives. It's wonderful how this book is classic super-heroes at their best and yet still feels exciting and new, an amazing gift for any creator. As ever, the collected editions include sketch work on the characters with notes by Busiek who hints this is just the beginning of a new age for the title. Whether it's your first trip or a returning visit, "Astro City" is always the place to be for any comic book lover and this volume is a clear example why.
“Through Open Doors” is the eighth installment in Busiek’s Astro City series, which has the packaging of a standard superhero comic but involves something very different – and spectacular – underneath. The series treats the superheroic as backdrop for the quotidian and the human. Stories center not on the grandness of the superheroes and their accompanying villains, but on far more relatable dramas of ordinary life. And so it is that in telling these tales, Busiek reverses the formula: he has written an ambitious series of interconnected graphic novels cloaked as mere genre fiction.
In this volume, for example, we witness the hopes and anxieties of an ordinary woman working in a response center that receives calls and analyzes data to alert superheroes to super-emergencies, and we observe the domestic life of a man who is certainly villainous, but also devoted to his family. Not that Busiek entirely ignores the pleasures of genre fiction, however: we are also introduced to a sinister and immersive plot involving an entity called the Oubor – you will have to read the story yourself to find out more, but know that the arc isn’t resolved by the end of the volume.
The Astro City series hasn’t disappointed yet. If you aren’t familiar with it, start from the beginning and don’t stop until the end. And if you are up to date, then you already know what a treat this volume will be.
In one we meet a woman working for a superhero team's call center under the enormous pressure of screening calls from around the world and trying to figure out if this is a crazy person, or a vital clue. In another we hear from a local mob boss who gets a chance at the big time. Busiek even pokes fun at his own overused structures by having a narrator interupt stories halfway through. All of the stories are marked by innovative ideas, strong character design by Alex Ross and memorable characters who feel real. We even meet the veteran of a story from a few years ago and see how he's doing.
I can see this outsider view of superheroes getting a bit stale, but so far Busiek has kept it fresh and I'll definitely be back for more.