Astro City:

Kurt Busiek, writer,
Brent E. Anderson, artist
(Homage, 1997)

Unlike the Astro City collections Life in the Big City and Family Album, Confession is dominated by a single tale. Teen-ager Brian Kinney has fled his rural roots to follow his dream in the big city, where his starstruck eyes follow every event involving Astro City's plentiful superhero population. He takes a job bussing tables at Bruiser's, a rough 'n' tumble bar frequented by the costumed set, before being bumped up to the higher class Butler's, a clandestine society club for heroes. There he attracts the attention of the mysterious vigilante Confessor, and soon Brian realizes his dream of becoming a costumed sidekick, unfortunately dubbed Altar Boy by his mentor.

His initiation into the ranks of the privileged heroes is a bumpy one, as Astro City suffers under the onslaught of a serial killer who eludes the best efforts of all official and unofficial law enforcement efforts. The superpowered community is rapidly losing public and political support because of its failure to apprehend the killer, and a move gets underway to outlaw the heroes. To make matters worse, there may be an alien invasion underway.

There's plenty of action in this tale, but as usual in Astro City, much of it occurs in the background. There's still plenty to see in the forefront, however, as young Brian learns the ropes and discovers what lines lie between heroes and villains.

The book-long story is supplemented with a short tale at the end of this volume. "The Nearness of You" tells of a man who keeps dreaming of a woman he isn't quite sure he knows ... and reveals a startling truth about her identity.

Confession is my third Astro City collection, and the series shows no sign of losing steam.

[ by Tom Knapp ]

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