Ever since I started reading Astro City when it was relaunched last year, I’ve been very impressed at writer Kurt Busiek’s way of looking at a superhero world in unique and varied ways. In these two issues we follow a woman named Ellie Jimson, an older woman who lives out in the middle of nowhere and has made her own museum full of robots that have been destroyed by the superheroes of the world. But she doesn’t just put them on display but also manages to actually repair all of them and somehow befriend them. Astro City #14 and 15 follow Ellie and her robots as a menace from her past comes back for vengeance.
Whats been so interesting about these two issues is that they deal with a question that not many superhero fans have really thought about; namely what does happen to those hundreds of robots that the superheroes destroy everyday? This issue is a fascinating look into the mind of someone who for some reason has such a personal love and affection for these machines that she even calls them family.
Ellie herself is a very nice and interesting character. She can at points come off as a bit of a Mary Sue and become a little bit too forgiving of what happens to her but her personality is balanced out by just how sweet she is and her various interactions with her robots.
The only problem with this story is that the ending is a bit too vague about what happens. I’m not sure exactly what Busiek is trying to imply with what happens to Ellie and her robots but it does seem to just come out of nowhere on the last page.
Brent Andersons art is always very good. He is fantastic at drawing very realistic looking people but also giving them a very dynamic feel. When you see a picture of one of Ellie’s robots, they really do look gigantic. When he draws the Samaritan the hero really does look very heroic and imposing. If you were to open up to any page in any Astro City comic you can tell just from the art that it’s an Astro City book. The cover by Alex Ross is also very beautiful and very fun as he throws in a few clever robot cameos from DC, Marvel and even the Internet.
Astro City issues #14 and 15 present probably my favorite storyline since the relaunch of the title. It’s not as grand as the Winged Victory story or as fun as the Gentlemen Bandit story, but it is Astro City doing what Astro City does best: it looks at a superhero universe in an interesting and unique way that many people probably haven’t thought about.