Astro City #8 by Kurt Busiek & Brent Eric Anderson (cover by Alex Ross)
Things are not going well for heroine Winged Victory. Someone has concocted an elaborate plan to taint her name in the minds of the public. Winged Victory’s records have been falsified to reveal criminal activity. Meanwhile, adversaries are claiming that they were trained by her and that their public battles were nothing but choreographed spectacles designed to lure more young women under her influence. If these attacks were simply personal it would be one thing, but, they go straight to the heart of her primary mission. Winged Victory has dedicated herself to assisting women in need, giving those with no other options a place where they can safely learn the necessary skills to start a better life. Now the government is shutting down her shelters under anti-racketeering laws and even if her name is cleared, she fears never being trusted again.
I shall admit that when this four-part story started last month, I was a little nervous. I had never read Astro City prior to last year’s new series, and am unfamiliar with its vast cast of heroes and villains. I really enjoyed the first six issues, which centered on everyday people acting or reacting to the fantastic circumstances around them. Would I grow lost when tossed more directly into a world of heroes with whom I had scant previous experience? Well, turns out there was no need to fear. Ever the master, Busiek naturally weaves into the dialogue whatever background is required for a new reader. More importantly, as in the previous issues, he keeps the focus on character moments, sketching in their personalities so well that you feel familiar with them by the end of an issue. And yes, there’s still action (it seems even in Astro City heroes, upon meeting, are required to misunderstand each other and slug it out for a few pages until it occurs to someone to state the obvious).
Anderson’s art continues to fit well with Busiek’s story, capturing equally well the awe-inspiring and the everyday. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Winged Victory, and look forward to seeing where her story goes next . . . Cheers
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent