- Series: Kurt Busiek's Astro City
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Homage Comics (May 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 156389663X
- ISBN-13: 978-1563896637
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,267,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Kurt Busiek's Astro City: The Tarnished Angel Paperback – May 1, 2001
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Kurt Busiek's Astro City: Tarnished Angel tells a story that would be just as compelling even if its hapless hero weren't made of metal. It's a familiar story: old supervillain Carl Donewicz--or Steeljack--gets out of prison old and broken, and just wants to spend his last years out of sight. Events, as they will, conspire against him, and his journey through prejudice, mistrust, and backstabbing ethics is deeply moving. Brent Eric Anderson's penciling is precise and perfectly balanced between '70s superheroes and '40s pulp; Will Blyberg's inks are unparalleled. Readers who are tired of the hero-recycling that's been standard operating procedure at the major comics companies should reward themselves with a visit to Astro City. --Rob Lightner
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This volume centers around Carl Donewicz...also known as the supervillain "Steeljack",for his mantle of steel skin...recently released from a long prison sentence,now faces uncertainty as to how to face his autumn years.His metallic hide marking him by his former profession,he cannot find honest work or even escape the glare of a distrusting world.When he is asked to look into recent deaths in his rundown neighborhood,many of them of low-rent villains and aging thugs,Donewicz begins a journey that takes him face-to-face with a former masked hero whose career ended in disgrace,the initial clue to an insidious plot that might spell the destruction of his home,as well as the loss of his own life.
Artist Alex Ross gives the timeworn Steeljack a face more than a little reminiscent of the aging Robert Mitchum...that's just one of many charms to be found here,whether you're an Astro City fan or new to the series.With a fascinating introduction by writer/artist Frank Miller...a brief but incredible look at the near "death" of the comic book superhero...this is definitely a great read.
P.S. We've read a lot.
Steeljack was once a boy who wanted to be an "angel," one of the superheroes that fills the sky of Astro City. Instead he ended up as one of the people they fought. After years of being in and out of jail, he decided to stay there. Our story begins twenty years later as Steeljack is being released on parole for good behavior and wants to live a normal life as a law abiding citizen. It's never that easy.
Two complications haunt his efforts. First, being completely made of steel he's easy to recognize as an ex-con and not well suited for many jobs anyway. Second, someone is killing small time villains in his old neighborhood and no one but Steeljack cares. He's knows he's not smart, nor brave, nor a detective. But he also knows he's all there is.
The Tarnished Angel is an extremely well told story with the usual great attention to detail from Busiek and art from Anderson. At seven issues it does feel a little drawn out and perhaps too long, but I'm not sure where it could be cut down. Following a novice trying to decipher a murder mystery slows the pace down a bit, as do the side stories and flashbacks. Overall these are minor complaints, but they do keep The Tarnished Angel from being at the level of the first three trades.
While not quite as good as Life in the Big City, Confession or Family Album, Steeljack's story is still a very strong addition to the Astro City universe and an interesting tale of someone not only trying to do the right thing, but having to learn how.