Friday, February 1, 2008

An authoritative team: part 1

The Authority was created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch. And it's awesome. It's more awesome than anything has ever been. The Authority's awesomeness cannot be matched nor will be. You can click on the image for the pure scientific proof that The Authority has what it takes. It even beats Simonson's run on Thor... if you can believe it....

The series spins out of Warren Ellis' run on Stormwatch... which I don't like. It's too all over the place and incoherent. It lacks the simplicity and the power of The Authority. Even though it was only twelve issues long, Ellis and Hitch on The Authority have proven to be more powerful than Greyskull and Fortress Maximus combined. Yes, another graph may have to be created....

Essentially there's Jenny Sparks, the spirit of the 20th century and a bitch. There's Jack Hawksmoor who is the god of cities. There's the Doctor, a shaman that has all the knowledge of all the previous Doctors in the world's history. The Doctor is a Dutch heroin addict, as well. The science-y spot is filled (deliciously) by the Engineer, who replaced her blood with million of nanites that act as liquid metal over her (naked) skin. She has mental control over the nanites and uses it to form machinery or turbines for flight or a spacesuit. Rounding out the team is Apollo and Midnighter, the Superman-Batman analogues.

The team flew around on this larger than possible spaceship called The Carrier which was able to slip between dimensions into that which ties the dimensions together, The Bleed. The Carrier's teleportation system allowed the Authority to be anywhere at anytime.

The Authority is a combination of next-level plots of superheroes, political commentary, and pure ass-kicking.
This is how real superheroes would act is what Ellis and Hitch are saying.

My two favourite characters are Hawksmoor and the Midnighter. For evidence of Hawksmoor's awesomeness, click the image above for grandiose Hitch-pencilled punching. The Midnighter is Wildstorm's Batman character: he's dark, he's not born with powers, and he's hardcore to the max. He has all these implants that have been installed in him that give him enhanced mental abilities. The most famous of all is his "fight simulator". Once an opponent has made a move, Midnighter can calculate a million ways to beat his opponent.

Look at him standing over that guy's broken body. He's badass. He's more badass than Batman. In the first story arc of The Authority, this crazed Asian warlord has built a non-stop army of superpowered clones. He is carving the family symbol into the Earth by attacking certain cities. His island is impenetrable because of a forceshield. So, Midnighter gets an idea. He thinks, "it's like my father once said. Hit the soft parts with your hand - hit the hard parts with a utensil." So in order to take down the Asian warlord's cloning factory tower, Midnighter teleports the entire Carrier into the forcefield. Yeah. That's right. That's sort of similar to Batman using the JLA satellite to hit something. Sort of. Except imagine if the JLA satellite was the size of Texas. That's f*$&ing hardcore.

(Click the image to magnify the Carrier versus tower fight.)

Also, the Midnighter and Apollo are a married couple. Yeah. I guess it was done as a shock or something, but I was actually cheering for them when they kissed for the first time and when they adopted a baby. While it was begun as a cheap trick, it ended up being something altogether sweeter.

Each arc in the Ellis/Hitch run is four issues long. There's not a lot of plot happening. Bad guy is introduced, the Authority is momentarily beaten, then the sh*t hits the fan and The Authority sprays blood and gore all over the streets. Literally. But each arc builds on the next. The first arc is the Asian guy and his clones. The second arc is a British-alien invasion from an alternate timeline. It's has some pretty great Jenny Sparks action. The third arc is my favourite and the most high stakes. The owner and creator of Earth has come home. It's this crazy pyramid that dwarfs the sun and it's come home to take back possession.

(Click to create big the image of God)

So The Authority, they take the Carrier and travel into the thing and head to the "brain" or "central nervous system" of the thing. This is my favourite arc because the stakes are the highest they could possibly be, and it also finally finishes the Jenny Sparks story that had been building for the two previous arcs.

Above is the best panel from the last arc, which kind of spoils the ending, but is awesome for its Ellis-ian dialogue and is the perfect reason why the awesomeness of The Authority can't be matched.

The Ellis and Hitch run was ended with those twelve issues. But the story of The Authority isn't done. Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, both collaborators of the God of Comics (or Grant Morrison as he's more commonly called), came together for a huge f*&% you to everything. Instead of playing it subtle or quiet, Millar and Quitely threw everything at The Authority, including an Avengers parallel. But The Authority took them down a peg. Check out this poor Giant-Man analogue:

Yeahhhh.... they took him down a peg - heh heh. That's why The Authority are awesome.

Millar took the team in more political directions, taking potshots at the current American government and their president. Millar also made it much more violent and profane than before, and outed both Apollo and Midnighter, which had only been danced around before.

After Millar and Quitely's censored and delayed run, there was a couple of filler arcs, scattered between issues. They're satisfactory. The major filler arc details the dissolution of the goverment-sponsored replacement Authority. They don't last long. Also, Midnighter kicks their asses. A lot.

Then, volume 2 of the Authority started with Robbie Morrison and Dwayne Turner helming it. They had an enjoyable run. They take on a multi-dimensional corporation and they take on a superhuman with the ability to create utter devotion from all humans, who had installed himself as messiah.

But then the Authority has had enough with madmen and mad governments. And they decide to take power - with explosive and bloody results, and the beginning of Ed Brubaker's great run. I will continue with the sheer awesomeness of Authority tomorrow.

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