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||Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol.2 #4-9|
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||Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol.2 #9|
Astro City #1, 7
Based out of an abandoned vestry in Grandenetti Cathedral, the shadowy figure known as the Confessor was -- and if rumors are true -- still is, one Jeremiah Parrish, a young priest, who had first come to what was then Romeyn Falls in the late 1800s. He began his vigilante career, prowling the rooftops and dark corners of Astro City in the early 1950s.
The Sin and Redemption of Jeremiah Parrish
He had been brought to the city to oversee the importation of eastern European goods. He managed negotiations and relationships with the foremen and workers that lived in the foothills of Mount Kirby. An area now know as Shadow Hills. Many of them had migrated from southeastern Europe to help build Cardinal Grandenetti's magnificent Cathedral. In the process, Jeremiah became enthralled by an young female who was cursed as a vampire. She drained him of his blood, and left him in a waste pit to rot. He rose again three days later, a vampire himself.
The last mention of Jeremiah Parrish is from an entry in the diary of Enzio Grandenetti; "The Creature that now inhabits poor Father Parrish's body has again eluded the godly efforts of those that hunt him. It seems we will now never be able to destroy him, and grant peace to his soul. We must seal him in his lair, away from those he would prey upon, as his thrice-accursed kind always do. I have set the masons to this task and hear them already about their godly work. May God bless their efforts, that we may have peace from this blasphemous creature."
The efforts of the priests and workers were semi-successful. Jeremiah Parrish survived, living in the sealed section of the Cathedral for decades. His humanity dwindling until the emergence of the first public superheroes showed him the possibility of doing good work amongst humanity while keeping his secrets. He became a shadowy stalker, feared by the criminal fraternity, little seen and never photographed.
The Confessor and Altar Boy
In 1997, the Confessor's path intersected with that of Brian Kinney, a new arrival in Astro City. Brian was working at the restaurant Butler's, which discretely caters to off duty superheroes, when the villain Glue-Gun broke in and attempted to take him hostage. Witnessing the young man's fighting prowess in swiftly dispatching Glue-Gun, the Confessor took him on as a sidekick. In truth, the ex-priest also wanted a confidant, someone to share his secrets.
Across that summer, the two had an assortment of adventures. Among other accomplishments, they captured the Gunslinger after the criminal's killing spree. Darker events were befalling Astro City. Events conspired that slowly turned the citizens against their super-powered guardians, a movement that turned out to be part of an elaborate plot by an alien species called the Enelsians to weaken Earth for imminent conquest.
The Confessor sacrificed his secret and his existence to reveal the real enemies threatening Astro City and the world. His final act was exposing Mayor Stevenson of Astro City as an Enelsian spy.
Brian Kinney Carries on the Tradition
Before coming to Astro City, Brian Kinney had been brought up by his single father, a small time doctor. The elder Kinney, always compassionate, treated everyone in the community who needed his help, even those who were too poor to pay their medical expensives. As a result, he developed a reputation as a sucker who could be taken advantage of, and Brian grew up in miserable economic straits. Brian came to greatly resent his father for this, and he vowed to become someone people respected when he grew up. He vowed to become a superhero.
He spent years preparing for this goal, learning martial arts at dojos and doing research. When he reached adulthood in 1997, he took a one-way bus to Astro City. Hoping to be taken under one of the city's many heroes' wing, he took a job at the superhero bar Bruiser's. Its owner, KO Carson, sensed Brian's goal and so referred him to Butler's, that suit-and-tie restaurant being where he'd more likely meet the type of heroes he needed, and thus Brian came to the Confessor's attention.
Over his time as Altar Boy, in large part through the Confessor's mentorship, Brian came to understand that being a superhero was about helping others, not whatever acclaim or respect that could result in. He came to understand that his father, regardless of how others viewed him, had been a hero in his own right.
After the Confessor's death, Brian chose to carry on his mentor's identity and name. He spent four years training all over the world before he was ready, then returned to Astro City. And the criminals of the city soon realized the masked monster they thought dead was back once more to bring terror down on their heads...
The vampiric powers of Jeremiah Parrish granted him preternatural strength and speed, the ability to transform himself into mist, and a resistance to conventional weaponry. He could not be seen in mirrors or captured by photography, and he demonstrated an ability to be supernaturally persuasive, using this ability to glean information from criminals. In addition, he appears to have been an exceptionally capable martial artist and athlete, as well as a highly accomplished sleuth.
He also had weaknesses. As a vampire, the Confessor had an aversion to garlic, and a vulnerability to blessed weapons, holy water and sacred symbols. Despite the pain caused by sacred symbols, the Confessor emblazoned a cross over his costume front as a form of penance. He craved fresh blood, although the pain helped him keep his mind off it.
The current Confessor has no powers, instead using voice modulators and tricks to inspire fear in his evil-doers' hearts. However, Brian Kinney is trained in martial arts, possesses keen detective skills, and maintains a rigorous physical training schedule, including four years of training around the world before donning the cowl of the Confessor.
Both men carried various accessories to aid in their crimefighting. For example, Brian pulled out smelling salts to shock a shapeshifter into reverting to true form.
- Although The Confessor didn't appear in an actual story, until Kurt Busiek's Astro City Vol.2 #4, he appeared on the Wizard Presents: Kurt Busiek's Astro City #1/2 cover, as well as in promotional art before the series was published(Which was also used in the Post Card artwork in the letter columns of the first six issues).