cover image Astonishing Times

Astonishing Times

Frank J. Barbiere, Arris Quinones, and Ruairí Coleman. Dark Horse, $22.99 trade

When a long-missing superhero is murdered, reporter Noah Sanz goes on the hunt for the career-making story in this fast-moving but genial saga of popular icons and changing ideals. Inspired by his late father, Sanz has never stopped believing in costumed champions, but the world has turned its back on heroes—they haven’t been sighted for years. Sanz is soon pulled into a hidden world of adventure, where he uncovers a sinister plot that tests his worship. Barbiere (the Five Ghosts series) and Quinones pepper the narrative with high adventure, quiet introspection, and sly nods to the familiar trappings of comics: there’s overt analogues of Superman, Batman, the Flash, and even Perry White, as well a familiar Watchmen-light plot of destructive scheming intended to save the world. Art by Coleman (the Star Wars: Jedi series) enlivens the narrative with distinctive characters and sweeping action. Though reminiscent of brand-name superhero comics and characters, it’s done with such a light touch and contagious optimism that it’s forgivable. It’s superhero comfort food in the vein of Kurt Busiek’s Astro City. (Aug.)