Astro City: The Dark Age Book II #1
Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: A Cold Wind Blowing (Eyes of a Killer Part One)
Charles and Royal’s story continues in the sizzling 70s!
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Art: Brent E. Anderson
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: John Roshell of Comicraft
Editor: Ben Abernathy
Cover Art: Alex Ross
Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm
After too long a break, Astro City: The Dark Age returns. Book Two (subtitled “Eyes of a Killer”) picks up a few years after the first ends. Charles Williams is still a police officer. His little brother Royal, still a crook. But things are changing in the world around them. Heroes are no longer the objects of trust they once were, things are becoming strained between Charles and his wife, and both Charles and Royal are facing real dangers on the job, as it were.
This series starts in 1976, and Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson have done a fantastic job of emulating that 1970s comic book feel. Gleaming heroes like Samaritan, Silver Agent and the First Family are either absent or reduced to cameos, while characters in the kung-fu/pseudo-mystic vein take the forefront. We also see a lot from Street Angel, once a brighter character who has embraced a darker side (not unlike a popular JLA member who underwent a Bronze Age reinvention).
As always, though, Astro City isn’t about the superheroes as much as it is about life in a superhero universe, and the unique difficulties faced by Charles (a cop) and Royal (a criminal). Things feel very ominous for both of them, and you definitely get the feeling this issue that the current state of their relationship, not to mention their lives, will be drastically changed by the time this four-issue miniseries reaches its conclusion.
Brent Anderson, as usual, does a fine job on the artwork, and Alex Ross pulls off a particularly unique cover. While still using his regular linework and techniques, he’s dropped back to a muted color palette, doing the entire thing in shades of blue and pink. It makes for a very eye-popping cover, as well as a very unusual one for him.
This first issue is very promising, setting up a lot of things and showing us yet another invention of the Astro City universe.