I had heard a great deal about The Authority, in general comments about the series’ excellence and in specific about its groundbreaking characters (see my post on this distinction). As you may have noticed by now, I love superhero comics as much as the next guy, but I love them even more when the stories twist expectations. The Authority is a kind of descendant of Alan Moore’s Watchmen and the familiar Justice League set-up. A group of empowered beings decide that they have a duty to change the world for the better. The difference here is that since attempting to convince the world to change has failed, they will enforce change. The world will be better, or face The Authority’s judgement and sentence. The members of the Authority are familar and different at the same time. Key members Apollo and the Midnighter follow the Superman and Batman mold respectively. Other members exhibit inventive new powers, from Jack Hawksmoor’s ability to feel and integrate with the spirit of cities to the Engineer’s evolution into a human being with machines making up her very blood. Their unflappable and dangerous leader is Jenny Sparks, Spirit of the Twentieth Century, gifted with the power to focus and control electricity. Warren Ellis’ writing is witty and suitably dark, and the artwork shows once again the depth and beauty computer aided color can bring to comics. For superheroes with one-liners, intelligence, and brawn to spare, flip to The Authority.

The Authority, vol. 1: Relentless
ISBN: 1563896613
by Warren Ellis
Art by Paul Neary and Bryan Hitch
DC Comics/Wildstorm 2000

  • Robin B.

    | She/Her Teen Librarian, Public Library of Brookline

    Editor in Chief

    Robin E. Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. She has chaired the American Library Association Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection List Committee, the Margaret A. Edwards Award Committee, and served on the Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She is currently the President of the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for ALA. She was a judge for the 2007 Eisner awards, helped judge the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards in 2011, and contributes to the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. She regularly gives lectures and workshops on graphic novels, manga, and anime at comics conventions including New York and San Diego Comic-Con and at the American Library Association’s conferences. Her guide, Understanding Manga and Anime (Libraries Unlimited, 2007), was nominated for a 2008 Eisner Award.

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