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‘Astonishing Times’ TPB (review)

Written by Frank J. Barbiere, Arris Quinones
Art by Ruairí Coleman, Lauren Affe
Published by Dark Horse Comics / ComiXology Originals

 

What would life be like if superheroes walked amongst us every day?

Would humans be fearful, in awe, or simply uninterested in the everyday exploits of the superhuman men and women sharing their world?

Noah Sanz, a young, dynamic reporter trying hard to live up to his father’s legacy, lives in this world where superhumans are commonplace.

Noah’s weekly column, which covers the exploits of the superhuman population, is on the verge of cancellation due to a lack of interest.

Yet, Noah’s editor-in-chief gives him one last opportunity to turn it all around if Noah can bring back the story of the century.

Noah thinks he has found that story when his current investigation involves him in a mystery surrounding the disappearance of several superheroes, which quickly turns into a conspiracy that leaves Noah in over his head.

There have been many books that pastiche DC’s the Justice League.

The Justice League, with the trinity of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman at its core, represents the archetypes on which all modern heroes are based. Astonishing Times offers pastiche versions of the Justice League members Superman, Batman, and the Flash in Infinite, Kokin, and Gold Rush. Noah is a stand-in for down-on-his-luck Peter Parker and his dead father. Infinite’s best friend, a stand-in for Superman’s best bud, Jimmy Olsen.

I often enjoy tales like the one presented in Astonishing Times because they represent the idea of actual change in the lives and the attitudes of the characters we have come to know and love over the past 80 or so years since their creation.

While there have been some updates in the lives of the Justice League, their members can only grow and change as much as their owners let them change. A book like Astonishing Times is much like the works of Mark Waid’s Irredeemable and Incorruptible worlds, where heroes have lived long enough to become villains and villains have lived long enough to become heroes.

Barbiere and Quinones’ writing is strong, and his characters are relatable and believable. Coleman’s art is beautiful and a joy to behold.

Overall, Astonishing Times is a solid book with some exciting ideas that, for the most part, are well executed.

The only point it took off is that the book is a tad predictable, but then again, I’m approaching an age where I have read these types of stories 1000 times over.  As such, it’s a given who is likely to live and die in a world where Superman has gone rogue, and Batman needs to take him down.

4.8 out of 5 stars.

 

 

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