Astro City: The Tarnished Angel

8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Astro City continues to be a great read

Enjoy the previous volume slightly more

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Astro City (Volume 1)

Publisher:  Image/Wildstorm/DC

Writer:  Kurt Busiek

Artist:  Brent Eric Anderson

# of Issues:  7

Release Date:  2000


Astro City (1) #14

Reprints Astro City (1) #14-20 (April 1998-January 2000).  Steeljack is a career criminal who has finally been released from prison on parole.  With orders to stay away from crime, Steeljack finds himself drawn back into his old life out of necessity for an income.  When Steeljack finds something sinister is growing in his old neighborhood of Kiefer Square and none of the big superheroes care.  Steeljack is going to have to break his parole if he hopes to save his people…but Steeljack’s discovery could be a problem too big for him to solve.

Written by Kurt Busiek and illustrated by Brent Eric Anderson and covers by Alex Ross, Astro City:  The Tarnished Angel continues Busiek’s award winning series and the third collected volume.  Following Astro City:  Confession, the comic was originally released under the Homage line of Wildstorm but was absorbed into DC Comics in 1998.

Astro City was such a great read and this is another prime example of why this series was a great read.  The rich world of comics provided the backdrop for the series and allowed greater exploration of classic comic themes.


Astro City (1) #15

This volume of Astro City focuses on the life of a supervillain and his motivation.  Steeljack is a rather generic character that is meant to echo B-Level Marvel and DC comic characters.  He isn’t a Lex Luthor or a Joker…he’s the Flash’s Piper or Spider-Man’s Grizzly…a character whose crimes cannot support him nor is he maniacal enough to care less about his crimes.  It is a story about what happens when a character gets old.

In addition to this theme of aging villains, the story is a story of redemption and what it means to be a hero.  Busiek used Astro City to explore classic comic tropes and give them depth.  It is an interesting concept for a comic and that is why Astro City is one of the more unique comics that has range and room to explore these aspects.

The story is presented as a pulp noire story.  The character is drawn like the classic actor Robert Mitchum which gives it additional context since he was often in these noire-style of films.  It is a good way to make an additional connection to the story.

Astro City:  The Tarnished Angel is a great read.  With Astro City still being printed, it is fun to go back and read some of these earlier tales since the joy of Astro City is little interconnections that enrich the story so reading as much Astro City as possible is a good thing to make Astro City even better.  Astro City:  The Tarnished Angel was followed by Astro City:  Local Heroes.

Related Links:

Astro City:  Life in the Big City

Astro City:  Family Album

Astro City:  Confession

Astro City:  Local Heroes

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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