This is new Astro City material for me, even though it’s been around for a while. There’s still a lot of what makes Astro City great in the long “Dark Ages” story, but not enough to make it shine. I think I like Astro City best when it takes a quick dive into an interesting story, plays with some tropes, and just hints at a broader world and continuity. This tries to explain too much and be too connected, and in doing so, I think it loses a lot of the magic.
This volume isn’t quite as good as the last (mostly because of the filler material that it concludes with), and it has some of the same problems with trying to do diversity but sometime undermining itself. However, I still think the best superhero stories are the ones that pick at and play with tropes, and I haven’t seen anyone do that better than this series.
I love Astro City. It is definitely not percect (the creative team is a bunch of white guys, and sometimes, that’s painfully obvious), but as far as I’m concerned, it’s the best wholesale reimagining of superhero tropes out there. I’ve read every single story in this volume before, and I read them now with a more critical eye than in the past, but I had a great time rereading them all.