Read Astro City Vol. 7: The Dark Age Book 2: Brothers in Arms by Kurt Busiek Free Online
Book Title: Astro City Vol. 7: The Dark Age Book 2: Brothers in Arms|
The author of the book: Kurt Busiek
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 834 KB
Edition: DC Comics
Date of issue: November 22nd 2011
ISBN 13: 9781401228446
Read full description of the books Astro City Vol. 7: The Dark Age Book 2: Brothers in Arms:It starts to feel like every modern American comic is still reaching back to Alan Moore, and Watchmen. Whether they want to or not, there is almost no escaping him. But curiously, it's been something absent in much of Busiek's excellent Astro City--a series which deconstructs superheroes in a much more sympathetic, hopeful way, hearkening back to the Silver and Golden Ages of comics.
Well, until now.
As evidenced by the title, this collection is about the difficult times: an era of violence, of hopeless, a time with no heroes, no one to look up to. For Busiek, that means the Modern Era of comic books, also known as 'The Dark Age of Comics'. Starting with Watchmen, this period opened the doors for maturity, depravity, moral relativism, and heavier themes.
Like most movements, it started out on the top, with a few visionary talents looking to break out and explore something new. Then it spread, influencing everyone from the most savvy to the lowest denominator in comics, eventually becoming a much-belabored joke, less concerned with the political ramifications of violence than with endless decapitations and giant guns. And that's what Busiek explores in this story.
When his characters talk about the increasingly violent nature of so-called 'superheroes', he's talking about the literary movement as much as his story. When he asks whether we made these new 'heroes', or whether we just got the heroes we deserved, he's talking about the progression of comics. His world physically shifts and changes, ushering in this darkness, this ravenous thing which is self-feeding, cannibalistic. The events and characters mirror the real changes in the industry that Busiek witnessed over the past thirty years.
For those of us with a background in these changes, there are a lot of references, in-jokes, parallels, and insightful observations about the nature of the industry. We see 'expies' of all sorts of familiar, Dark Age characters: Guy Gardner, Nightwing, Cloak & Dagger, Savage Dragon, Spawn, Punisher, Swamp Thing (who even looks like Alan Moore), and I'm sure many more that I didn't recognize.
We even get a brief panel of a many-armed man with a sword and sunglasses, clearly an homage to Rob Liefeld's idiomatic style, complete with reference to the hilariously unnecessary character 'Forearm' (who had the special power of possessing four arms).
It's an interesting tack for Busiek to take, breaking away from the style of his other Astro City books and coming closer to something like the deeply sarcastic satire of Marshal Law. But Busiek always retains such a sense of hope, even in the darkest moments. He is self-aware, but not cynical. For him, every heart has its redemptive place.
Yet, somehow, this doesn't overrun his stories, it doesn't turn them into cheap, hokey melodramas. But then, Moore's cynicism doesn't turn his stories into hopeless trudges, either. For both men, there is a focus on the story, and on pure character, separate from any ideal or hypocrisy those characters might hold.
But while the parallel themes of this work are interesting (using hope to deconstruct the cynical deconstruction of comics), the execution leaves something to be desired. We rush through large, complex events: the world almost ends several times an issue, which is part satire, but also a concession of a certain type of comic. Yet the character progressions are strangely plodding and straightforward, especially for Busiek, who usually reveals his characters with such deliberation.
In the end, Busiek's subversions rarely went far enough. The cliche comic elements were central to the story, and while he poked fun at them, the poignancy and gravitas of the story still relied upon them. We were asked to care about the ridiculous, which is not uncommon in comics, but it's hard to suspend disbelief for a parody. We're being pulled in two directions at once as we're asked to invest in something that is being deconstructed.
Busiek seems satisfied to relegate the Dark Age to history, to give it a start and an end and leave it at that. I would have hoped for something more: for an indication that this darkness, this cynicism has ultimately changed us. It has not made hope impossible--indeed, in some ways, it has strengthened it, since we have so much more to hope for--and it's hardly something so easily bookended.
The Dark Age is not over, because there is no author out there who is moving on to the next step (at least, not that I have seen). It's why we keep returning to Moore, even though his work, in his own words, should be out-of-date by now. The future of comics will not be defined by Cynicism vs. Hope, by Moore's Dark Age vs. Busiek's Golden Age, but by their combination, and by the new voices that rise out of it.
I had originally posted here the review for the first volume. This has been rectified.
My Suggested Readings in Comics
Read information about the authorKurt Busiek is an American comic book writer notable for his work on the Marvels limited series, his own title Astro City, and his four-year run on Avengers.
Busiek did not read comics as a youngster, as his parents disapproved of them. He began to read them regularly around the age of 14, when he picked up a copy of Daredevil #120. This was the first part of a continuity-heavy four-part story arc; Busiek was drawn to the copious history and cross-connections with other series. Throughout high school and college, he and future writer Scott McCloud practiced making comics. During this time, Busiek also had many letters published in comic book letter columns, and originated the theory that the Phoenix was a separate being who had impersonated Jean Grey, and that therefore Grey had not died—a premise which made its way from freelancer to freelancer, and which was eventually used in the comics.
During the last semester of his senior year, Busiek submitted some sample scripts to editor Dick Giordano at DC Comics. None of them sold, but they did get him invitations to pitch other material to DC editors, which led to his first professional work, a back-up story in Green Lantern #162 (Mar. 1983).
Busiek has worked on a number of different titles in his career, including Arrowsmith, The Avengers, Icon, Iron Man, The Liberty Project, Ninjak, The Power Company, Red Tornado, Shockrockets, Superman: Secret Identity, Thunderbolts, Untold Tales of Spider-Man, JLA, and the award-winning Marvels and the Homage Comics title Kurt Busiek's Astro City.
In 1997, Busiek began a stint as writer of Avengers alongside artist George Pérez. Pérez departed from the series in 2000, but Busiek continued as writer for two more years, collaborating with artists Alan Davis, Kieron Dwyer and others. Busiek's tenure culminated with the "Kang Dynasty" storyline. In 2003, Busiek re-teamed with Perez to create the JLA/Avengers limited series.
In 2003, Busiek began a new Conan series for Dark Horse Comics, which he wrote for four years.
In December 2005 Busiek signed a two-year exclusive contract with DC Comics. During DC's Infinite Crisis event, he teamed with Geoff Johns on a "One Year Later" eight-part story arc (called Up, Up and Away) that encompassed both Superman titles. In addition, he began writing the DC title Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis from issues 40-49. Busiek was the writer of Superman for two years, before followed by James Robinson starting from Superman #677. Busiek wrote a 52-issue weekly DC miniseries called Trinity, starring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Each issue (except for issue #1) featured a 12-page main story by Busiek, with art by Mark Bagley, and a ten-page backup story co-written by Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, with art from various artists, including Tom Derenick, Mike Norton and Scott McDaniel.
Busiek's work has won him numerous awards in the comics industry, including the Harvey Award for Best Writer in 1998 and the Eisner Award for Best Writer in 1999. In 1994, with Marvels, he won Best Finite Series/Limited Series Eisner Award and the Best Continuing or Limited Series Harvey Award; as well as the Harvey Award for Best Single Issue or Story (for Marvels #4) in 1995. In 1996, with Astro City, Busiek won both the Eisner and Harvey awards for Best New Series. He won the Best Single Issue/Single Story Eisner three years in a row from 1996–1998, as well as in 2004. Busiek won the Best Continuing Series Eisner Award in 1997–1998, as well as the Best Serialized Story award in 1998. In addition, Astro City was awarded the 1996 Best Single Issue or Story Harvey Award, and the 1998 Harvey Award for Best Continuing or Limited Series.
Busiek was given the 1998 and 1999 Comics Buyer's Guide Awards for Favorite Writer, with additional nominations in 1997 and every year from 2000 to 2004. He has also received numerous Squiddy Awards, having been selected as favorite writer four years in a row from 1995 to 1998,
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