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‘Astro City’ And The Human Cost Of Superheroics [Issue #3 Preview]

On sale now from Vertigo is Astro City #3, continuing the long awaited return of this most distinctive superhero series by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson. Known for its vast cast of heroes, villains and civilians, the series has always viewed superheroics from the vantage that matters most: the streets; the people whose lives are impacted for better or for worse by the impossible action in the sky. The new issue delves into that in a major way as we follow the story of a superhero support staffer who contemplates the lethal depths of a very human error.

Last month’s Astro City #2 introduced us to┬áMarella Cowper, the newest hire at the emergency call center of the Honor Guard — Astro City’s version of the Justice League. An opportunity offered to few people, Marella and her team are tasked with taking calls, crunching data and making informed judgements that directly affected the missions of Astro City’s greatest heroes. What kind of problem warranted intervention from the great Samaritan himself? What crimes were best suited to the local authorities? What patterns can be extrapolated from all these data feeds, and are they a threat? These are the tough questions Marella had to ask in her job, and she was good at it and felt good about her contribution.

Until she made the wrong call and all hell broke loose, which is where we find Marella and the Honor Guard in this week’s Astro City #3.

The book has and continues to be a spotlight on realistic, complicated people of different backgrounds, ethnicities and genders who happen to live in a world of godlike beings. Despite its obvious inspiration from the past and the fact that it’s been around since the mid-1990s, Astro City is indeed the sophisticated, modern and demographically diverse superhero comic today’s readers have demanded. The latest storyline is a good demonstration of why.

Astro City #3 is on sale now in finer comics shops and digitally from Vertigo.

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