REVIEW: 'Astonishing Times' (comiXology Originals) #2 by Frank J. Barbiere, Arris Quinones, Ruairi Coleman, and Lauren Affe

Noah and Kokin dig deeper into the mysterious death of a superhero but will they be alive long enough to know the truth?


Astonishing Times (comiXology Originals) #2

Written by Frank J. Barbiere, Arris Quinones

Art by Ruairi Coleman

Colored by Lauren Affe

Cover by Dylan Todd

Lettered by Taylor Esposito

Digital Release Date: August 31, 2021

Age Rating: 12+ Only

Sold by comiXology

After teaming up with one of his childhood idols, the superhero Kokin, Noah is faced with a tough choice in light of their investigation. Meanwhile, Kokin is approached by dangerous visitors. Old secrets come to the surface as the mystery continues!

Score:

★★★★☆ (4/5)

'Astonishing Times' by Frank J. Barbiere, Arris Quinones, Ruairi Coleman, and Lauren Affe is a really great new series at Comixology. This Comixology Original enters the superhero comic world with some familiar world-building. It's told through the eyes of a reporter whose father was a renowned journalist and a friend to capes. He's been enlisted by a veteran hero to look into the suspicious death of another superhero. While this is clearly a comic set in the world of superheroes, it's mostly a murder mystery amid scandal and corruption. So far, it's been an enthralling thriller with just the right balance of intrigue and action. 

The vibe is 'All the President's Men' meets 'Identity Crisis' but not quite as heavy, at least, not yet. New revelations about the reported superhero death have Kokin even more suspicious and convince Noah to retrieve his dad's detailed notes. This case has brought Kokin out of retirement it seems as he returns to his shuttered lair. There's a clever montage at the beginning of the issue that introduces Kokin in his prime. The badass armored costume and custom vehicles echo a certain caped crusader we all know and love. This is an older, grizzled, veteran who can still kick ass if he needs to (and in this issue, he needs to) but seeks out Noah for his access to his father's information. 

Coleman and Lauren Affe create a nice contrast between the flashback at the beginning of the issue with the rest in the present day. Affe's softer tones help the nostalgic look-back at Kokin and his place as a popular and formidable superhero. The rest of the issue is more grounded even the exciting fighting sequence is more practical than bombastic. The look and tone are more along the lines of 'The Dark Knight' film than anything else. It makes for a dramatic and engrossing read. 

'Astonishing Times' #2 delves deeper into the investigation revolving around the questionable death of a superhero. Kokin emerges as a badass vigilante with hi-tech toys still capable of kicking butt while Noah reconciles living in his dad's shadow. The mystery series is building into a can't-miss comic and one of Comixology's best Originals. 

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