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Astro City Vol. 5: Local Heroes Paperback – October 1, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up–In Astro City, superhumans mingle among the regular people and attacks from evil villains are typical daily fare. This book is a collection of nine exceptionally well-written vignettes about the inhabitants, both from the perspective of ordinary people and superheroes. In Pastoral, readers meet a punk teen who is forced to spend the summer with her relatives in the country. Through a series of her IMs, readers learn that the country is not as boring and simple as the girl had thought, and that even small towns have their own superheroes and intrigue. In the equally charming Old Times, readers meet Supersonic, a retired superhero called into duty, and see the results of trying to relive the past. Local Heroes is an engagingly written book with expressive, skillful art. An accomplished collection, it's a solid purchase for superhero fans.–Jennifer Feigelman, Plattekill Public Library, Modena, NY
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Top Customer Reviews
"Local Heroes" showcases much of what I love about "Astro City." How do courts of law work in a world of DNA clones and shapeshifters? ("Knock Wood") What about the small towns outside of the big city? ("Pastoral"). Are there any comic books in a place were real superheroes fly the sky ("Where the Action Is") and what do they watch on TV? ("Great Expectations"). For some of the stories, it helps to have a background in Silver Age comic books, like "Shining Armor," which shows what happens when Superman gets sick of Lois Lane's constant attempts to expose his secret identity. And you have to look closely at every panel. I only noticed later that the aged hero Supersonic from "Old Times" had popped up in the court case during "Knock Wood."
Some people might be disappointed that none of Astro City's big guns show up during "Local Heroes." No Samaritan. No Winged Victory. No Confessor. No First Family. Not even Steeljack. The only real impactful even from "Local Heroes" is the introduction of the Blue Knight who playes an important role in "Dark Ages." But I liked the focus on the fringe characters, the doormen an firemen and city-smart teens annoyed at having to spend the summer in the country with their cousins. The heart of soul of the series, the human element, is well-represented.
We start with Astro City as seem through the eyes of a doorman at one of its finer hotels. Next we see the city through the eyes of a local comic book company and includes some industry cameos. Next a soap opera star playing a super hero gets caught up in reality. Then we see a love story from the view of the mortal woman who loved and lost. Next an Astro City resident learns about heroes in the heartland. Then a two-issue story examines the legal system as it meet the hero world. Then a retired hero is called back into service. Finally a short story honoring firemen and 9/11 ends the collection.
A wonderful collection that shows not all superhero comics are cast from the same mold. Some aren't cast at all but finely crafted as unique works of art. If you are unfamiliar with Astro City, this volume would make an fine introduction to the series. Existing fans will still find it fresh and original. Check it out.