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Astro City: The Dark Age #2

Posted: Saturday, August 13, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell



"Criminal Prosecution"

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Art: Brent E. Anderson
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: John Roshell of Comicraft
Publisher: Wildstorm Comics
$2.99 U.S. / $4.00 CAN

Plot:
After opening with news footage of the criminal activity that has made the Silver Agent public enemy number one, we see the pair of brothers who have been the central players in this story have problems of their own as Royal has been targeted by a ruthless vigilante named the Blue Knight. We also make a dramatic discovery about the brothers that nicely explains why they are bearing such hostility toward the Silver Agent.

Comments:
Long-time readers of Astro City will probably find this arc to be far more enjoyable that those that have just jumped on board, as the main idea that looks to be driving this opening arc is solving the mystery of what happened with the Silver Agent. Still you can't really blame Kurt Busiek for wanting to reward readers who have been looking for the answer to the question of the Silver Agent ever since a memorial statue of the character appeared in the first issue of the regular series almost ten years back. In any event this issue offers up a wonderful final page moment that is sure to throw all the expectations that the readers had regarding the Silver Agent's story out the window, as while the general feeling is that the character was wrongly condemned by the people of Astro City, and that they only learned of their mistake after the character had been killed, the final page brings an unexpected wrinkle to the table that completely overturns the apple cart. What's more this final page revelation also serves to draw a direct connection between the Silver Agent's current plight, and the two brothers who are acting as the central players in this arc. There's also a pretty engaging secondary plot involving a ruthless, Punisher style vigilante who is terrorizing the criminal community of Astro City, and we see that one of the brother's manages to earn himself the unwanted attention of this relentless killing machine. The issue also does a nice job of opening up the story to give readers a more expansive look at how the Silver Agent's crisis is impacting the rest of the Astro City universe, as we see the beloved First Family also get drawn into this decidedly hostile environment when they make a fairly controversial decision regarding one of their old enemies. In the end this is yet another fine effort from Kurt Busiek, and how can one not be delighted by the fact that Astro City is back on the stands setting the bar for all the other titles. Plus, that last page is sure to leave many readers picking their jaws off the floor.

I'm a big fan of the overall look of Brent E. Anderson's art, as it puts me in the mind of the type of work that was I encountered when I first started to pick up comics, as his art reminds me of artists like Neal Adams and Michael Golden. I mean I actually enjoy the fact that his work looks to have embraced the look that many fans would label old fashioned, as the book opens with a attention grabbing visual, and there's also a lovely little moment where we see a super hero races by so fast that the art almost fails to capture him. The art also does a nice job of playing with the flashback of the fire, as I love the way that each flashback opens up the story a little more, until we arrive at that final page shocker. There's also a some nice impact visuals in this issue, from the shot where the Silver Agent is escaping police custody, to the one page shot of the big brawl between the fugitive Silver Agent and the mind-controlled Starfighter. There's also a lovely interior shot of the Blue Knight, though I have to say the Alex Ross cover manages to offer up an even more effective shot of this very simple, but highly effectively designed character.



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