Last week I began reading the series, The Authority. I had hadn’t read them before–in fact, outside of Sleeper, I have not really been familiar with the WildStorm Universe–but last fall as I was reading Grant Morrison’s Supergods, I saw that he raved about the title and how much he loved what Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch had created, how the comic-book series challenged what he understood as comics at that time. So I put it on my reading list, and I haven’t been disappointed. Although I didn’t read the Stormwatch comics leading up to The Authority, I started with the first book of the first volume, Relentless. And from there I’ve been going through the remainder of the series, including all of Volume 1 (Under New Management, Earth Inferno and Other Stories, and Transfer of Power), all of the Volume 2 (Harsh Realities, Fractured Worlds, and Coup d’état), and now I’m on the first book in the third volume, Revolution. I really do like this comic, and I’m sorry I didn’t encounter it sooner. Once I got into the storyline and the various characters–and it didn’t take that long to do so in the first volume–I became addicted to The Authority. I liked Ellis’s original run in the series, and I also enjoyed the work by Mark Millar, especially Transfer of Power. I particularly appreciated Millar’s work with Frank Quitely, since I love the latter’s art, but it was unfortunate that Quitely didn’t stay on for that many issues of the comic. Robbie Morrison and Dwayne Turner’s work on the second volume was good as well, although I could have done without Coup d’état. Not really being that familiar with some of the other WildStorm teams, this book left me flat. I’m a big Ed Brubaker fan, and so far the Revolution run has my rapt attention.
Much has been made of this series’ “widescreen” style: large scale action, intense graphic violence, grand visual flair. I can see that in my readings, certainly, and one of the things that first struck me was the violence in the comic. These are superheroes who aren’t afraid not only to crack a couple of heads, but to split them open completely. This is definitely not Batman, who refuses to kill anyone. The Authority aren’t averse to killing when necessary, and when they do it, many times it’s represented quite graphically. Another thing about this series is the relationship between Apollo and Midnighter, two gay crime fighters who are totally involved in each other. It took some cojones to take Superman- and Batman-type figures and make them lovers. And it comes off well, adding to the narrative and the unusual characters that make up the team. The relationship between Jack Hawksmoor and The Engineer (Angela Spica) also adds spice to the series. It’s not often that you see one superhero giving a blow job to another under a desk (or at least the suggestion that one is begin given), which is what was going on between these two in one of the early Revolution comics. Gotta love that.