Comics Spotlight on Astro City Volume 2: “Confession”

Geek Culture

Happy Comics Release Day!

With the news coming out of San Diego Comic Con that Kurt Busiek’s Astro City series has been optioned for the big screen, I thought I’d take a look at one of my favorite volumes of the series, Confession.


Astro City is a world populated by superheroes and their adversaries. If you’ve seen the commercial for Cartoon Network in which the man leaves home on his way to work, dodging all manner of superhero-style disasters, that’s a good analogy to the kind of world that exists in Astro City.

Confession is ostensibly centered on the dark superhero, the Confessor, a mysterious dark vigilante, but it’s really about his apprentice, Altar Boy, and how the young man learns the true meaning of a hero. The external action focuses on Brian Kinney’s arrival in Astro City, how he’s picked for the job of sidekick, and the crises that swirls around the city as it turns against the superheroes. To give away the real secret of what’s going on would be spoilery, so I’ll leave it at that, but things are not as they seem, not for the Confessor and not for those who turn against him.

What Kids Will Like About It:

While I love this volume, it might not be the best one for to introduce kids to the series. It’s somewhat dark and the Confessor is scary, especially as he’s often as much a mystery to Altar Boy as he is to everyone else. Older kids should enjoy the coming-of-age story.

The action sequences are well-rendered and sharp and the colors of the city are vibrant, all things my kids tend to look for in comics.

But the pacing can be slow and might cause some children to lose interest. Volume One: Life in the Big City could be a better starting point.

What Parents Will Like About It:

For those who love science fiction for the escape into another world, Astro City provides that.

And, at the end of this volume, is an absolutely beautiful story, The Nearness of You, about the nature of love and loss, as one man struggles with how a crisis across the space-time continuum affected his life.

Best Scene:

It’s in the short story at the back, when the Hanged Man says “No one forgets. No one.”

About the Creator:

I’ve written a spotlight on Busiek’s work on DC’s Trinity book. His artistic collaborators on this book are penciler Brent Eric Anderson and inker Will Blyberg. Alex Ross is the cover artist.


Neil Gaiman wrote the introduction to this volume. All the covers of the individual issues are included and there are a number of concept sketches.

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