The cover shows a middle-aged man, lighting a cigarette. A man with silver skin. Plus, written by Kurt Busiek.

This didn’t disappoint.

Ex-con, whose “special power” was being clad in a living skin of steel. It’s a really rich and complex tale, with the character unfolding before my eyes. And with cleverly woven backstories and subplots.

The main plot: the criminals living in Kiefer Square (a neighbourhood of cons) are being killed. No one knows why and no outside Kiefer Square really cares. Ex-con SteelJack is trying to make good his parole but he’s just plain unlucky and never seems to be able to hold down a job long enough. Then he’s made an offer to protect the people in Kiefer Square. He thinks he succeeded (nice side story of the MockTurtle) but no. The mystery deepens when there doesn’t seems to be a pattern to the killings.

Unable to find work nor protect the people of Kiefer Square, SteelJack takes up the offer of a criminal known as The Conquistador. He’s roped into a plot to wreck mayhem on the city. Near the end, SteelJack makes the connection between and confronts the mastermind behind the killings.

Very nice story, and very beautiful crafted art work.

I’d count this as one of the more substantive graphic novels. The Astrocity series usually is.