Awesome / Astro City

  • It's an understated one and easy to miss, but an unnamed bystander gets one in "Safeguards." A group of people on a bus watch Winged Victory flying away with two criminals, and most of the passengers (except Marta, the main character) start talking about how Winged Victory's a cult leader and are generally being dismissive and contemptuous. One passenger had this to say:
    Passenger: Honestly! Would you listen to yourselves? Winged Victory's just captured some criminals, and this is the thanks she gets? Mutterings and slanders? I shudder to think what we'd do without them, without ALL of them!
    • Everyone else promptly kept quiet after that.
  • Irene Merriweather has an understated moment as well. Despite the fact that Irene's unrelenting attempts at exposing Adam Peterson as Atomicus bordered on insane and ultimately drove Atomicus to leave Earth forever, Irene's defining characterization is being The Determinator. She originally got where she was by willpower, resourcefulness, and the ability to bluff, and when she began dating Atomicus, she initially misconstrued his feelings of fear as some sort of challenge to prove herself as a woman deserving and capable of receiving his love. After Atomicus finally left Earth, Irene went through a Trauma Conga Line where she was fired, routinely pelted with objects on the street, and sank into alcoholism, before she finally decided enough was enough and began looking for work again. She found a job with an alderman, met her future husband and had a daughter named Samantha. While she is still plagued with feelings of guilt over her mistakes, Samantha was inspired by her mother's resourcefulness and determination and became Flying Fox.
  • The "sideliners" in "On the Sidelines," ordinary folks who use their super-abilities in everyday jobs. They just want to pay their bills and get on with their lives, but that doesn't mean they can't get pissed when someone tries to exploit them...
  • The end of Astro City #8 "Patterns" is an amazing moment for The Confessor. First, he reveals himself as a vampire - a secret he's kept for over a hundred years, half of which time he spent operating openly as a superhero - by fighting, desperately, with his full speed and strength in front of thousands of people and several news cameras. His opponents are a whole squad of soldiers armed with hologram cross generators, holy-water-squirters, and a gatling gun stake gun. After getting staked, he grabs the gun and uses it to take out the mayor, revealing to the world the fact that shapeshifters have infiltrated the planet.
    • And that's followed by a fantastic issue showing how the various heroes, villains and monsters of Earth rise up to defeat the invasion.
    • The ending of the story, four years in the future, a gang of fur thieves terrified by what looks like a Confessor who is not only back from the dead but immune to crosses, garlic and holy water. Behind his mask, Brian smiles that "this is going to be easier than I thought."
  • The culmination of "The Tarnished Angel" is a superb combination of super-hero motifs with Film Noir. Steeljack, a minor supervillain who is weary of the life, accepts a detective job out of financial desperation. He discovers a plan to lure a bunch of supervillain C-List Fodder into a murderous trap. He doesn't have enough evidence to bring to the police and suspects they wouldn't much care anyway. When the real villain frames Steeljack, and the superheroes refuse to take his word for it, he realizes he is the only hope his neighorhood has. He eludes pursuit with desperate ingenuity, confronts the villain and battles him to a standstill. After which he takes the best honest work he can find - as a graveyard groundskeeper.
  • Winged Victory standing up to the Council of Nike in "Victory", defending her association with male heroes and giving them an Armor-Piercing Question of whether she should teach that men and women are equal or that women have to be alone to be strong.
  • At a carnival in Caplinville, the local small-town hero is being overwhelmed by an attacking villain team. A crowd of Heroic Bystanders charges the villains, and buys the hero the moment he needs to regroup.
  • One of the arcs from the Vertigo series analyzed Quarrel and Crackerjack's relationship over the last couple of decades. At one point Quarrel briefly dated M.P.H., but broke up with him because she didn't have the energy to be the kind of girlfriend he deserves. Quarrel explained that she stays with Crackerjack because, with all the energy and focus she has to put into being a superhero, it doesn't leave her room to do stuff like plan for dates or special occasions... and with a similarly non-powered hero like Crackerjack, that's not a problem. When M.P.H. tries to pull the "nice guys get shafted for the bad boys" routine, Quarrel tells him that he's not allowed to pull that shit on her.
    Quarrel: No. No, you don't get to do that. I'm not "women." I'm a woman.
  • American Chibi's decision to remain in the Unbodied's dreamworld to prevent the King-In-Chains from threatening both the native Ubbows and the Earth impressed the members of Honor Guard to the point where Samaritan named her a full member of the team. When last seen, Chibi faced King-In-Chains with a smile on her face, declaring, "The Ubbows are under Honor Guard protection, you hear me? Honor Guard protection!"
  • Generally, any time Steeljack's in focus he gets a moment of awesome.
    • For example, escaping from shackles he can't break, not by using his strength, but his weight, to break the chains holding him and leap out of a plane onto the rocks below, the impact breaking him free (at the cost of a nasty headache). This from a guy who reckons he's just Dumb Muscle.
    • For an encore, he goes to warn the Honor Guard about El Hombre's scheme, who don't believe him. So he escapes them too, and goes to thwart the man by himself.
    • When Steeljack returns in a 2014 story, he stops a low-level "collector" who's been using the weapons of former crooks for himself. He's arrested and it looks like that's it for him...but then partner Cutlass shows up with evidence to prove he was stopping a threat and he's hailed as a hero at last.