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Visit Wonder City

By Jim Zoetewey, editor, author of The Legion of Nothing

Oct 25, 2009: If you read comics, the title of Wonder City Stories gets your attention by itself. That’s largely because there’s a comic by Kurt Busiek called "Astro City."

What Busiek does there is focus on normal people living in a superpowered world and sometimes on how superpowers impact the ordinary lives of those people who have them.

Jude McLaughlin does something similar in this serial, but not the same.

Wonder City Stories follows the lives of the people comics leave out and takes seriously the aftereffects of the storylines typically found in your average comic.

Among the characters followed:

Megan Amazon, daughter of a retired superheroine who hasn’t yet taken up spandex, and shows no sign of wanting to.

Nereid: A daughter of superheroes who is introduced while testing a power (danger induced teleportation) that is largely useless and causes problems for herself and others.

Mr. Metropolitan/Ira Feldstein: A superhero who retired long ago, and now assists his daughter in law in caring for his comatose son.

There are more, and all are interesting, and occasionally funny. Among the many fun little bits of this serial are the names of the restaurants (which should amuse comic readers), and deliberate use (and misuse) of common superhero tropes.

One example (which I’m going to obfuscate a little to avoid spoiling the story) is a mysterious warning given to Mr. Metropolitan. In many stories, the warning would have caused the hero to run out and save the world. In this story, it causes him and others to question his sanity.

Similarly, the story can be defined by the things that don’t happen. Mr. Metropolitan doesn’t become young again. His son doesn’t wake from the coma. Megan Amazon doesn’t become a superhero. She loads trucks with her super strength.

Rather than run off and fight bad guys, the characters deal with their everyday lives. It’s surprisingly enjoyable to watch them do it.

It’s a fun serial and I hope people will check it out.

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