A couple of posts ago, I was complaining that Kurt Busiek, although a solid writer, just doesn't get the Justice League. Or the DC Universe for that matter. There's always been something about the stuff he writes for DC that doesn't click for me. His Marvel work is great and he's so good at what he does, but not when it comes to DC properties. Astro City is his creator owned book and what he does here makes his Marvel work look like his DC work, if that makes sense. There's something magical about reading Astro City to me. It rarely hits a sour note (though there was that maxi-series a few years ago. The less we talk about it, the better). He was born to write this book.
Very often in Astro City, Kurt will write a story which involves some sort of flashback. Sometimes it's a single page showing scenes from previous adventures of the characters. When you read something like JLA and they do that, you see a panel of them battling Shaggy Man and you remember that story, or they show a panel teaming up with the JSA and it brings you right back to that issue. When Kurt does that in Astro City, you get the exact same feeling even though what he's flashing back to has never been published before. Every time I read an issue of Astro City, it feels like a universe I've been heavily invested in since I was ten years old. How he can manage to do that on a consistent basis is beyond me.
This collection is a little different than the last few. It's full of one or two part stories that were published in between longer arcs. Each story is about a different member of the Honor Guard. You get some decent backstory on some of these characters. I do love a nice done-in-one tale and these are all solid stories. Also different about this collection is the stories are all drawn by guest artists. But that does not detract from any of the stories.
Astro City: Honor Guard
Writer: Kurt Busiek
Artist: Jesus Merino, Joe Infurnari, Gary Chaloner, Tom Grummett, Wade Von Grawbadger, Cory Hamscher, Ferlis Santacruz, Agustin Padilla Bob Wiacek, Andrew Pepoy