Wednesday, June 27, 2018

ASTRO CITY #52 by Kurt Busiek - Book Review

From the publisher: It’s the final issue of ASTRO CITY...for now. Michael Tenicek lost his world years ago. Now he may lose another, as ordinary life among the extraordinary takes a shattering turn. A character-focused finale to the ongoing Vertigo ASTRO CITY series, and a launch point for its new form. Guest-starring the Hanged Man, Honor Guard and more.

Astro City #52 brings to a close Kurt Busiek's masterpiece of a series, at least in the monthly/bi-monthly format. It's a nice, almost quiet, ending to the series. Busiek has been telling a sequel of sorts to the (most famous?) story from Astro City's run, and this issue ends the three issue arc and the series as a whole.

Michael Tenicek lost his wife in an earth-and-reality shattering event. She was erased from existence but for some reason, he had memories of his life with her along with memories of his life when she never existed. Jump forward, and we pick up with Tenicek, who has started therapy groups for those who had trauma and/or tragedy as a result of an encounter with a superhero/villain. Unfortunately for Mike, his story comes to light, and the group has a falling out with him. Issue #52 picks up from here, and Busiek relates how Mike moves on. The Hanged Man makes a guest appearance (he was an important character in the original story) and Mike is faced with a choice: Choose to forget his wife, Miranda, and move on; or continue to deal with his two sets of memories.

In typical Astro City fashion, Busiek gets to the heart of the personal stories within the fantastic characters and events that inhabit Astro City. This series has always been about more than just powers; its about heart and soul and emotion, something Busiek is able to capture extremely well. And while Astro City #52 didn't end how I might have hoped or thought, I suppose it ended the right way and longtime readers should be happy with the conclusion.

I highly recommend Astro City #52, as well as all the previous stories. Kurt Busiek has written something different and special with the various incarnations of this series. If you can't grab the individual issues, it's well worth your time to pick up a collected edition or two (or three or four). If you like literate, character-focused comics full of heart, with some superheroics to go along with them, then Astro City is for you. I'm looking forward to the next iteration of stories that Busiek comes up with.

I received a preview copy of this book from DC Comics in exchange for an honest review.

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