Astro City: Family Album

An inevitable downside of reading books back to back[1] is that I’m forced to make comparisons that I might not make if there was a several-month gap in between, per the usual. In this particular case, I am forced to admit that Family Album does not have the strength of the first volume. …and, apparently that it is itself the third volume, not the second as I had believed? Note to self: stop borrowing graphic novels, as you are apt to read them out of order! (In everyone’s defense, there are no numbers on the covers or for that matter inside, so I can see how it happened.)

Well. That was disheartening. Anyway, the stories were a mixed bag. Even though they have been universally fun and well-drawn[2] throughout, I cannot help but notice overly intentional comparisons to familiar comic book heroes. And it’s not like these comparisons are badly created or even particularly derivative. The respectful homage is clear, it’s just that it pulls me a little bit out of the story when I catch myself saying, okay, yeah, that’s definitely the Fantastic Four, nice twist in the family dynamic here, I see what they did with the enemies there, and so on. And as that is certainly my biggest complaint for the book, you can see by its size that in general things went quite well. The big theme of the book, children in unusual family situations, covered three stories that simultaneously gave me a lot more background on some already familiar heroes. And of course there’s always something new around each corner.

It’s just… it didn’t have the bright shiny sense of wonder of the first volume, that feeling that, whoa, they’re really pulling this off. Instead, I’m already into the “What can you do for me next?” phase. Which is clearly my fault, but like I say, I would’ve been better off if I had just read it later than now.[3]

[1] This is a thing I am noticing, rather than a reason why I never do so; still my policy is clearly correct, as is now shown.
[2] Both ways
[3] And in the right order.

2 thoughts on “Astro City: Family Album

  1. Mike Kozlowski

    This actually is the second one. The Batman one is the third one, and then Tarnished Angel.

    I apparently like these more than you do, but I’ll tell you either way that the quality declines monotonically — each volume is better than the one before. But they never get below “very good” in my book, so.

    (Also, the most recent Dark Ages thing is better than Tarnished Angel, now that I think about it.)

  2. Chris Post author

    1) Why oh why would Amazon lie to me?

    2) But yeah, that’s is exactly the complaint I have about reading them so close together, is I think that by rights I did like it better than the review shows. In any event, this is certainly still in the “very good” or better rating level.


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