This trade has six individual stories and each of them has a different main character. They are connected by the setting: Astro City and some of the characters in them. Astro City is home to normal people, superheroes, and super villains. The villains are actually seen only a couple of times and then at a distance; they never rise to be the main point of a story.

In Dreams: the first story deals with the life of Astro City’s premier superhero, the Samaritan. He never has time to live when he has to rush from one emergency to the next in his solo hero career, battle villains as a member of the Honor Guard, and at the same time he’s trying to keep up a civilian identity as a fact verifier. There’s more than a slight resemblance to another, far more well-known superhero. But Samaritan is a more tortured character: he longs to have peace and to have a civilian life which he has no time for.

The Scoop: a veteran journalist who owns his own paper, the Astro City Rocket, tells about his first big story. He trails the Silver Agent and sees something extraordinary.

A Little Knowledge: a small-time crook stumbles upon the real identity of a superhero, Jack-in-the-Box. He thinks he can get a lot of money out of the secret.

Safeguards: Marta lives in the oldest part of the city where the inhabitants have to protect themselves every night with wolfsbane, crucifixes, and magical signs. She works in the city, however, and sees the heroes who inspire her. One of her colleagues needs a roommate and she has to make a decision about her life.

Reconnaissance: this is a story about a little old man who walks around gathering information about the heroes and seems to hate all people. But then there’s a fire in his house and his secrets are in danger of being exposed.

Dinner at Eight: two of Astro City’s most famous heroes get together for a date: Samaritan and Winged Victory. Both of them have been so busy that they are quite awkward at first and they go to a restaurant in their superhero identities but they are so swamped by autograph-hunters that they have to leave. They end up eating at a fast food place in their civilian identities. They tell each other their origins and about their ideologies.

I liked most Reconnaissance because I had no idea what to expect and the story came as a complete surprise. It was humorous and a bit tragic at the same time. Safeguards was another very good story. None of them were bad, either. I think that anyone who enjoys superhero stories would enjoy this trade, too.

However, I was expecting something a bit more unlike most superhero stories and these are very much in the spirit of Marvel and DC.

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