This character is, for me, a close second to the Confessor. If I knew more of his back story, he might well be my favorite. I may be at odds with myself on this one, though, because a large part of his appeal is wrapped up in the mystery which surrounds him. He has a spirit-like quality and rather undefined powers. He requires no food or water and receives no bodily injuries. He can change size as he floats in mid-air.
He is the guardian of Shadow Hill, an Astro City neighborhood beset by supernatural forces.
He appears to those in need, communicating with them telepathically and comforting them in the process.
“I go where I am needed – and tonight, one of the places I am needed is here.”
The Hanged Man is centuries old. Sightings of him extend back into the Middle Ages. He makes significant cameo appearances in a number of stories, including Life in the Big City, Confession, and an award-winning short story titled The Nearness of You which is added to the end of the latter. Look him up. This good fellow knows how to take care of business.
WARNING: SPOILER ALERT for those who have not read Confession in the Astro City series. You might want to read the graphic novel first.
The Confessor is my favorite character in the Astro City pantheon, but there are a number of volumes I have yet to read. So… who knows?
The original Confessor is a nuanced, conflicted, and principled character. You see, he’s a former priest who was turned into… well, a vampire.
This fact makes him an interesting personification of the struggle between the spirit and the flesh.
He and his sidekick, Altar Boy, hang out in the unfinished wing of a Cathedral which sprawls over 14 city blocks. Due to the complicated and extensive architecture, their hideout is immune from discovery. Everyone is either unaware or too afraid to inspect that part of the building.
The Confessor has a number of interesting powers, including the ability to appear from (or disappear into) mist. What intrigued me most, however, was his ability to elicit the truth from criminals who were disinclined to give it. His unflinching stare compels them to make the “confessions” from which his name is derived. Obviously, his name also makes reference to his former profession.
Truthfully, this is one righteous dude, so read… and enjoy.
The Crossbreed are a team of superheroes of Christian orientation within the pantheon of Astro City. Their names and powers are derived from biblical stories. Noah can control the weather. Mary has wings and can fly. Peter controls the ground. Daniel is a leonid man of violent principle. David is a giant. Joshua can emit a sonic scream.
What I like about this bunch is that they are used sparingly, which makes them more effective (at least in the series, Confession). They intervene at strategic points in the plot.
Otherwise, they seem to limit their influence to preaching on street corners.
They intervene but do not interfere. They avoid coercion except when it comes to fighting villains to save others. Their self-restraint maintains a balance of human decision. These are characteristics which many Christians attribute to God.
Another hero next week.
Be there or else…