Saturday, February 2, 2008

An authoritative team: part 2

In a previous exciting installment of "a lay of the land" I articulated why it is that The Authority kicks so much frigging ass, the book and the team. I briefly mentioned that The Authority rises above common measurements of awesomeness. A graph or two may have been produced.

I kind of skipped over Mark Millar and Frank Quitely's run on The Authority. I didn't really get into any specifics rather than the Goliath guy got his legs cut off and his head blowed up real good (and then I made a great pun - c'est la vie). I skipped over this run because it was published in a pretty wacky way and was censored and had fill-in artists. Never a good sign. Unless it's Sal Buscema filling in for Walt Simonson.

After Millar and Quitely was a good run by Robbie Morrison and Dwayne Turner. Good writing and good pencils. But it's not Ellis and Hitch. Everybody after Ellis and Millar seemed to forget that The Authority wasn't a comic book you took seriously. This was a comic book in which Jack Hawksmoor says that he hasn't punched anybody in the brains in awhile (yes!).

At the end of Morrison's run came the company-wide crossover called Coup D'Etat, in which The Authority stage a coup and take over the U.S. government. First, a little background. What had been subtly developed by all the aforementioned writers was the Authority's exhaustion with cleaning up after mad governments and ignorant dictators. They had been sieged by a replacement Authority and a psycho hillbilly with a million powers, some that didn't have any name, and they were all put into place by governments to rid the world of the danger that The Authority posed. And it's a serious f*$&ing danger (remember that the Midnighter took out an island using the Carrier). So The Authority got tired of the sh*t being thrown at them. So they took over.

The Coup D'Etat miniseries took each major Wildstorm title and looked the Authority (the team) from that specific title's point of view. So there was an issue that had Stormwatch: Team Achilles dealing with the threat of The Authority seating themselves in the White House, and another issue with Wildcats looking at The Authority. It's a neat little miniseries, but it doesn't have the epic awesomeness that I was looking for. Nobody had yet fulfilled the promise of Ellis and Hitch.

Until Brubaker came along. The third volume of the Authority is actually a twelve issue miniseries called "The Authority: Revolution". Its themes are a-plenty, and its violence is a-awesome. The idea is that as leaders of government, their throne isn't set in stone. Other superheroes, seeing The Authority as villains, attempt to create revolution. While on the flipside, there's the spirit of Henry Bendix, the architect of Stormwatch (the team that The Authority grew out of) and primo supervillain. I don't want to spoil the crazy twists and turns that the story takes, but this "Revolution" maxiseries is balls to the wall with plot and action. It's not as grand as the first 12 issues of the series, and the stakes don't seem as high, but it's balls to the wall, and that's the most that you can ask for.

Now after this "Revolution" there was a bit of a quiet period in the lives of The Authority. Then, the God of All Comics, Grant Morrison, was announced as writing fourth volume of The Authority. Oh - my - god. That was the best news I had ever heard. Imagine Morrison's JLA (which has tear-inducing levels of face-kicking awesomeness) and multiply that by seventeen and three quarters. Yeah, that's right.

But tragedy befalls the story. Only two issues come out. Sigh. Morrison's schedule is too busy, as he's trying to make the DC universe into a living organism, or whatever nonsense he's doing.

Now we have "The Authority: Prime" which I haven't read because the covers are so ugly and I am going to wait until it's collected in a trade.

Sometime in the future, I will take a closer look at Millar and Quitely's run, and inspect it for the minutiae of awesome, but that will have to wait. Tomorrow I am going to take a look at one single issue in Walt Simonson's Fantastic Four run. One issue that rivals entire comic book series and the whole bibliography of Hemingway and Kafka combined. So just wait.

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