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  Bookends: Dan Davidson

Astro City: Local Heroes

Reviewed: July 21, 2006
By: Kurt Busiek / art by Brent Anderson / covers by Alex Ross
Publisher: Wildstorm (DC) Comics
256 pages, $23.99

Busiek, Anderson and Ross have created what is perhaps the best series in the world of comic books today. Astro City is a place teeming with super types that echo the great characters of the major comics houses. What is different about the stories that are told there, particularly in this collection, is that they are mainly about the ordinary folk and how they react to all the hullabaloo.

“Newcomers” is told by the doorman at the Classic Hotel. The story covers decades of his life and deals with all the times he’s given advice and aid to new arrivals and tourists.

“Where the Action Is” comes from a comic book writer, who is trying to cope with the business of writing fictional stories about real people, and what some of the implications of that might be.

“Great Expectations” is the story of an actor playing a superhero, and how that works out.

“Shining Armor” reaches into the city’s past to tell the life story of a woman who once romanced a super hero and finally scared him away by prying too much.

There are four more equally engaging tales, each told with a sure voice by Busiek and illustrated in his best realistic style by Anderson, who does his best work on this book. The collected covers are by Ross, the painter who has brought high quality realism to the field over the last decade.

Once again, I’m happy to report that these stories can be read anyone able to handle good writing, though parents who have enjoyed comics themselves when younger will get more out of these stories than their kids will.

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