Saturday, September 7, 2013
Told from the POV of Altar Boy, who comes to Astro City looking to become a superhero and ends up being trained by the mysterious Confessor, an urban vigilante who may or may not have superpowers, Confession is a solid story of this odd world of superheroes. It hints at revelations about the past that are still to come, most notably the mystery of the Silver Agent and Astro City's Dark Age of the 1970's and 1980's.
Confession also sketches in some of the quasi-mundane details of life in a city teeming with superheroes and supervillains. Not only are there superhero bars and hangouts, but there are such bars and hangouts for specific types of superheroes and supervillains.
Tensions reminiscent of the Dark Age begin to multiply in Astro City as mysterious killings begin to occur periodically in and around the city's supernatural borough, despite the best efforts of heroes supernatural, super, and unpowered to apprehend the killer or killers. Some people begin loudly agitating about the failure of the superheroes. And Altar Boy begins to have doubts about his mysterious mentor. All the threads get tied up in a satisfying climax that sheds new light on the history of the city and its heroes. Recommended.
And there's a sad but metafictionally astute story that riffs on the bizarre pas de deux of Superman and Lois Lane during the 1950's and 1960's, when it seemed like half of all Superman stories involved some combination of Lois trying to discover his secret identity and Superman doing weird and often dickish things to throw her off his trail. Busiek's writing and the art by Anderson on the interiors and Ross on covers and designs are all very satisfying. Recommended.