Astro City: Local Heroes #5

Reviewer: Mathan Erhardt
Story Title: Justice Systems

Written by: Kurt Busiek
Penciled and Inked by: Brent E Anderson
Lettered by: Rob Steen
Colored by: Alex Sinclair
Editor: Ann Huntington Busiek
Publisher: Wildstorm/DC Comics

Poor Vince Oleck. He’s just a hapless defense attorney. He just wants to prove his worth. He gets a case that he can’t win, a case with plenty of eyewitnesses. So what does he do? He does his homework and comes up with the best defense he can, doppelgangers, evil twins, and death-like comas. How can the jury be sure that it was his client and not an evil twin or doppelganger? How can the even be sure that “victim” is dead? As residents of Astro City, they have all seen less bizarre things on the news.

The problem is that his client, Richard Duncan Forgione, is indeed guilty. Vince has to do his job, but he hates doing it. Furthermore, as a “reward” for doing such a good job on the case Richard’s father, the local capo has offered Vince a job. Well, not so much offered as told Vince he’s going to be working for the “family” or else.

Vince is understandably having problems sleeping, but he’s also having nightmares about the Blue Knight, the embodiment of justice, that rights wrongs. After winning the case Vince flees with his family trying to evade the senior Forgione. But when Forgione sends some goons after the Oleck’s, its up to the Blue Knight to lend a helping hand.

Astro City was one of the first non-DC titles that I picked up, because I had heard such good things about the stories. Well this mini-series has continued the great tales. Busiek is a great comic writer, but he’s also a great comic fan. The concept of a lawyer in a city frequented by heroes, utilizing this defense is a good one, but the tale of a man struggling between right and wrong is a great one.

Anderson is one of the under appreciated artists. I love his look. People aren’t smoothed over they look real. And the little details like the foreshadowing on page #7, just add to Anderson’s appeal. Of course the colors also look great, especially in Vince’s dreams.