Fanboy in the Basement: The Authority: Relentless
The Authority, this is not your Dad's superhero team (If your Dad actually read comics, and if you do, he probably didn't) The Authority is a black ops super team keeping the world safe. And how can they keep the world safe you ask? With the help of their ship the Carrier which sets outside of time and space and can be everywhere at the same time. Created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch from characters he used in Stormwatch, the team consists of Jenny Sparks, the Spirit of the Twentieth Century (They never really explained what that meant) Apollo, Midnighter, the Doctor, the Engineer, Jack Hawksmoor and Swift. Published by DC under the Wildstorm imprint, The Authority was unique because it was one of the first books to use decompression as away to tell the story. Decompression emphasizes visuals or splash pages (using the entire page or 2 pages) on visuals or character interaction, which usually slows down the story but is great to look at. And no one does splash pages like Bryan Hitch.
The Authority: Relentless includes two of Ellis' stories, Circle and Shiftships. Circle involves an old enemy of Stormwatch, Kaizen Gamorra. Knowing that Stormwatch no longer exist, Gamorra decides to take over the world, first by drawing his family crest into the earth. And he uses thousands of cloned soldiers with superhuman strength, speed, and flight and laser vision to destroy three cities, Moscow, London and Los Angeles. The Authority steps in after Moscow is destroyed and formulates a plan to stop Kaizen Gamorra.
I appreciated that when it came down to stopping the villains, it wasn't about arresting them, it was about killing them. Some evils can't be rehabilitated. The story was solid, but the Shiftships story was a little hard to follow. Since most of these characters were from a previous book, there was no introduction, not even in the forward. That would have helped understanding them a little better. From what I can tell, Jenny Sparks controlled electricity, Apollo was the Superman archetype, Midnightner was the Batman archetype, (except they were gay) the Doctor was the shaman/magician, the Engineer was the synthetic/smart person, whose hands could be guns, Jack Hawksmoor was in touch with the earth and that's where his powers came from and Swift had wings. But despite that, my favorite character was Jenny Sparks, the tough, sometimes unsure leader of the group. Her British accent flowed with Ellis' writing and she smoked. Smoking is frowned upon in comics, but people smoke, so why wouldn't heroes smoke. Whenever I see a hero smoke, I think of the time when a kid wrote to Marvel complaining that his favorite hero, Wolverine, smoked cigars and it was a bad image for kids. Kids, smoking is bad, but dressing up in yellow spandex and killing people with razor sharp claws that pop out of your hands is good.
I enjoyed the Authority. But I think I'm done with it. No more interest; unless they bring back Jenny Sparks, then maybe.
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