Written By Kurt Busiek
Art By Brent Anderson
Astro City never fails to show what the world would be like if superheroes did exist. Kurt Busiek takes a stance from other superhero comics by not just focusing on the superheroes’ lives, but showing the perspectives of average people, dangerous villains, and others. In the Through Open Doors collection, many things happen that will have lasting effects on the comic’s world. A new superhero named American Chibi, a small, cute magical girl inspired by anime, is introduced along with the arrival of an alien emissary, Telseth. Telseth says he comes representing a people that want to learn about Earth and introduce Earthlings to his. Another storyline explains how to the Honor Guard is notified of emergencies and what happens when one of the operators decides to take direct action. Not all people with superpowers want the heroic lifestyle, some choose to maintain their anonymity. A powerful telepath fights for her peace and quiet and shows that being an inactive fighter doesn’t make her a worthy advisory. Mingled throughout the chapters is narration from a guy called The Broken Man, who alludes to something more dangerous is about to happen in the world of Astro City.
Busiek is a master of showing how the most ordinary people and events can be more amazing than ever imagined. He highlights that readers should try to find superheroic moments in their own lives and enjoy it. Beyond that inspiring message, Through Open Doors moves much slower than other volumes and rather than focusing on heroes it allows the ordinary citizen to be the star. While the side stories in other volumes with regular people always proved amusing, making an entire volume dedicated to them makes you wonder what the superheroes are up too. This doesn’t make the stories anymore enjoyable, they just deviate from the main characters. Busik mentions that events in this volume are part of a bigger storyline sure to blow readers out of their seats.
Brent Eric Anderson doesn’t disappoint with a style that is inspired by the Golden Age of comics with a modern twist. What Anderson has that the Golden Age lacked is a wider color range, better grasp on how to depict humans (mostly due to better printing options), and a tighter grasp on how to show action. His art augments the series in a way that combines classic and modern tastes.
Through Open Doors lacks the excitement of other Astro City collections, but it still reveals new ideas about what it’s like to live in a superhero world.