By Ellis, Hitch, and Neary.

The first in the Authority trades. It contains two story archs: the Circle and the Swiftships.

I’ll confess upfront that I’m an Authority fan. I love Jenny Sparks, Apollo, and the Midnighter. I also love the idea of superheroes not giving a crap about politics and instead deposing tyrants when needed. When I read this the first time, I was starting to feel quite frustrated with the way that the usual superheroes didn’t really change anything in their worlds. So, the Authority grabbed me just at the right time.

The first story starts with a bang: a large group of male super humans clad in black destroy Moscow. UN’s previous super group, StormWatch, has been disbanded and so, StormWatch’s former bosses are afraid that no-one can oppose the terrorists. But Jenny Sparks, a former StormWatch undercover agent, has formed a new team and they’ll do their best to stop the attackers. The new team battles the attackers in London and manages to trace the attackers to Gamorra Island which is protected by a huge force field.

The Authority starts with seven members. Jenny Sparks is the leader. She can control electricity and is also the Spirit of 20th Century which means that she’s almost a hundred years old but looks like she’s in her twenties. Jack Hawksmoor is another former StormWatch member. He’s in tune with cities and can do pretty much anything when he’s inside one. Swift or Shen Li-Min has wings, talons, and the hearing of a hawk. These three have worked together for a while but the rest of the team is new to each other. Apollo and the Midnighter have been working together for five years but barely know the others. Apollo is super strong, flies, and can shoot bursts of laser while Midnighter has hand-to-hand combat enhancements. The Engineer can create anything mechanical and the Doctor is a global shaman who uses magic. Their headquarters is the Carrier, a semi-sentient, huge ship that travels in different dimensions while staying in orbit around the Earth.

They banded together in order to make the world a better place and they are doing their best to live up to that. They aren’t intimidated by any government and the governments aren’t happy about that. Yet, the characters’ specific political views aren’t mentioned. Li-Min says briefly that she used to be a pacifist but their ultimate goal is a very nebulous and undefined “justice”.

In the second story an alternate Earth invades the Authority’s Earth intending to conquer it and turn it into a rape camp. Jenny knows about the other Earth, called the Sliding Albion, and is determined to stop them. In the other Earth’s history, blue-skinned aliens came to Earth in the 1500s and have stayed.

The art is, of course, gorgeous and it serves the stories well. There are a lot of fight scenes and splash pages about the alternate dimensions where the Carrier is going through.

We get to know the characters a little bit. Jenny takes often the center stage. As the leader, she has to coax co-operation from distrustful officials and even former team mates. She seems to be uncomfortable with command and tends to channel it into aggressiveness. However, the rest of the characters aren’t as well developed. For example, we get to know, in short glimpses, a little bit of how the Doctor communicates directly with the previous (dead) shamans and how the current Doctor feels like he’s very inexperienced and in way over his head. Yet, we know next to nothing about the Engineer or Hawksmoor.

Apollo and the Midnighter where introduced in the trade StormWatch: A Finer World and Swift was in StormWatch comics for quite a while, so they might be familiar to the reader already.

The emphasis in the stories is fighting a lot of villains who are evil to the core. The pictures are large and give a feeling like watching the comic in a movie theater. Yet, there are small character moments here and there among our heroes.

I’d love to see the Authority on the big screen if it’s done well.

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