ASTRO CITY #14 (Kurt Busiek, Brent Eric Anderson) is a heartfelt story of a woman and her (not so) killer robot friends.
This issue focusing on the gentle-hearted Ellie, her reformed robot museum, and her business-dumb nephew who throws a spanner in the works, ASTRO CITY #14 kicks off its newest arc with a satisfying issue that will leave you eager for the conclusion.
I love almost everything about this issue. In general, ASTRO CITY is right up my alley – I have a real taste for worldbuilding and civilian perspectives of superhero life, which are very much this series’ bread and butter. This issue is no exception. You rarely see a lot of exploration of the aftermath of superhero battles, and I loved seeing the answer to the question too few had asked – whenever a technology-based villain attacks a city with an army of robots… what happens to the robots when the dust settles?
But the bits of worldbuilding are far from the only thing that makes this issue shine. Ellie herself is the real star of this issue – the gentle, humble woman who wants little more than to live peacefully with the robots she rescues and share them with others in her museum. While the machinations of her nephew Fred are fairly predictable, Ellie’s heartfelt care and concern for her robotic friends and genuine goodwill towards her shifty nephew bring a real human element to the proceedings. I can’t wait to find out more about her past, as allusions have been made to a mysterious past of some sort.
Finally, of course, I must mention the superb art. Though this issue offers comparatively few chances for stunning superpowered panoramas, the sweeping desert shots, varied and character-rich robot designs, and well conveyed expressions give the art team plenty to work with. Not to mention, the colors are gorgeous.
Without spoiling too much, I find myself dubious that Ellie, given her apparent abilities, would not find out about Fred’s little scheme earlier, even with her giving him the benefit of the doubt. Without knowing the extent of her past, her rapport with the machines around her, and how Fred managed to use them, however, this may well be satisfactorily answered in the next issue.
I can say with no exaggeration that ASTRO CITY may be the best series on the shelves right now. If you have any interest in the nitty gritty details of a world with superheroes, if you have ever thought too much about the logistics of comic book universes, if you have ever wanted to see more than the usual perspectives on superhero worlds, or if you just want a good story, then ASTRO CITY is for you. If you’re already reading, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re curious, then please, jump in – Astro City welcomes you.