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Customer reviews

3.1 out of 5 stars

on 13 July 2013
A couple of years ago I tried reading Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross' Marvels, a book I was assured was a superhero classic and an incredible comic. It feels like superheroes could exist in our world! is the general sentiment around that book. I got about a third of the way through before I gave up. Terrible art - I don't like Ross' ultra-realistic painted style, the figures are too static - and boring characters telling unimpressive superhero stories made me drop the book long before the end.

More recently I read Superman: Secret Identity and finally saw why Busiek is praised, so I decided to try another of his books, the critically acclaimed Astro City from 1995. I got further than I did with Marvels but I also gave up on this one too - it's essentially Marvels with a different artist.

The city is full of Busiek-created superheroes, all of them analogues of DC/Marvel characters (and forgettable to boot) and the chapters are told from the perspective of different narrators in the fictional town of Astro City. The comparison to Marvels isn't immediately apparent as the first story is told from the perspective of the Superman analogue but from then on we get a string of ordinary people telling you their stories encountering superheroes in their everyday lives, one of whom - the newspaper editor - seemed exactly like the Marvels narrator.

It doesn't help that the narrators are bland and uninteresting or that the superheroes are equally dull, but the stories feel decidedly one note - narrator tells you their ordinary life, a superhero saves them from a crime of some sort, the end. It's exactly the same formula as Marvels minus the Alex Ross art, though Brent Anderson's art is a long way from impressive either.

It's not that it's badly written, it's just a really dull read. I suppose if Marvels is your bag, you'll love Astro City - if like me you didn't enjoy Marvels, you definitely won't like this one.
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on 27 October 2001
Kurt Busiek (Marvels) at his very best. With his very own series, Busiek continues to tell classic super-hero stories with a twist, breathing new life into the genre. The artwork by Brent Anderson is somewhat disappointing after one is faced by the (as usual) beautifully painted covers by Alex Ross. However, it is probably unfair to compare Anderson's artwork with that of master painter Alex Ross's. But buy this for Kurt Busiek's storytelling.
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