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Astro City: The Dark Age Book One Paperback – April 21, 2015
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About the Author
Kurt Busiek was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He began writing comics professionally in 1982, selling stories to both DC and Marvel Comics in the same month, both of which appeared the same day. Since then, he's written series and characters ranging from Mickey Mouse to Vampirella, including Aquaman, Spider-Man, Conan, Iron Man, the Avengers and more. He is best known for the Marvels series and for his co-creation Astro City, both of which have garnered numerous industry awards. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Ann, and his two daughters. He spends far too much time on the Internet.
Top customer reviews
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Of all the stories in the canon so far,this is easily the longest,spanning two volumes...this first part introduces to African-American brothers Charles and Royal Williams,who childhoods are turned upside-down when their parents are murdered in a superhero brawl.Their resulting distrust in such beings becomes a pattern for the typical Astro City citizen of the 1970s,as traditional ideas of right and wrong are torn apart...culminating in the arrest,trial and execution of the seemingly virtuous hero Silver Agent for an equally seemingly proven charge of murder.Long separated from each other,the brothers are reunited by tragedy,and the revelation of the identity of their parents' murderer.
Despite the introduction of many supporting characters,this is Charles and Royal's story,and the reader is with them every step of the way...it does get a little overwhelming at times,but for the reader,the payoff is well worth it.
So in AC we have new characters swiftly introduced with some quick shorthand, and then Busiek starts telling the interesting part of their story. In superhero land aliens and lab accidents are a dime a dozen. Busiek tells new stories with these familiar staples.
So in Dark Age he enters the 70s a time when life in America was going through tremendous social upheavals. He uses superheroes to tell the story of that time and capture the chaos in society.
Brent Anderson's art and Alex Ross' designs are just as beautiful as ever. Astro City books belong on every comic fan's bookshelf.
Kurt Busiek's series tackles the superhero mythos from a consistently different perspective. These stories are not about heroes versus villains as much as they are about the personal aspect of living in a world with superheroes. In Dark Age, the two main characters are not superheroes. On the contrary they are two normal brothers who do not even care for costumed villains or their heroic adversaries.
Charles and Royal Williams live in Bakerville. One day they tragically lose their parents who have been caught in the middle of battle between costumed super heroes and their equally flamboyant opponents. This trauma affects them in diametrically opposite ways. One, Royal, becomes a cynic only interested making a quick buck on the street. Charles becomes a dedicated police officer.
This era of the Astro City takes place during the Vietnam War. Traditional values are being challenged and Royal's cynicism and Charles' frustration are symptomatic of society. An event central to this era is the arrest and murder trail of Alan Craig, the Silver Agent. This character has been mentioned peripherally in other Astro City storie. Until now all we have known is this hero's treatment was it is the very public shame of Astro City. His story is fleshed out more in this graphic novel.
Meanwhile these two brothers find themselves caught in the middle of these very public battles of costumed adversaries. Royal, a petty criminal, finds himself the target of costumed vigilante who believes death is the only option for criminals. At the same time we see the rise of the Deacon, the Astro City crime overlord.
Rather than ruin it for potential readers I won't tell you more. 'Busiek' is a mark of quality. This is a very strong character-driven series. You should be able to enjoy this graphic novel even though you have not read any of the other Astro City graphic novels.