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on 19 June 2010
This is the book that redefined superheroes for the 21st century and it is still an unsurpassed masterpiece! The story: Jenny Sparks, 99 years old post-human (as some like to call superheroes this days, after writer Warren Ellis' very own definition), mistress of electricity, has called upon the most powerful post-humans in the world to put together a higher Authority, there to save the world, from itself and from outside threats... Or was it parallel worlds and fighting misbehaving, tyrannical leaders? In the first story collected here, The Authority fights a global-scale super-human terrorist attack launched by crazed pirat-dictato Kaizen Gamorra(this fictional universe'sBin Laden, in a way). In the second one, they fight off an invasion from a doomed, almost terminally exploited parallel Earth, ruled by a dying but still strng and desperate elite of blue aliens and their half-human offspring. Without spoiling too much, one can only say that the scale of the powers involved, of the quick thinking called into question and the daring of the solutions are absolutely staggering, to the point that one begins to question if this Authority isn't becoming a fascist terrorist power in its own right, barely in check yet bcause of moral standards and hearts in he right place. Still, these heroes kill and stop at nothing to obtain peace and a better world, but who#s to decide what is better, after all? The book's characters are all tough as nails, all-powerful individual brought o extreme situations, who still love the world and people they have decided to take care of. The book's grandiose scale is helped by penciller Bryan Hitch finally showing what he's capable of, after years of growth, and finally, deservingly becoming a superstar artist. Aided by Laura Depuy's astonishingly rich palette of colours and by veteran paul Neary's inks, he started the wave of "widescreen" comic book narration and artistry. This book reads and looks like an Hollywood blockbuster, but with the added bonus of having the luxury to stop at nothing, because you can really do everything in comics and get away with the most outrageous stuff. So Warren and Bryan do just that, opening a new era of greatness in their own careers and in comic storytelling in general. of course, star writer Grant Morrison's introduction says this all better than I possibly could! Despite the bad, baaad imiators that grew out of this, The Authority: Relentless still stands tall and awaits you, dear reader, to show you a new world: One in which superheroes do change things and one in which the authors do change the rules of the superhero game.
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on 3 April 2001
Stormwatch was Warren Ellis doing political superhero thrillers extremely well. His follow-up, The Authority goes more for the no-brainer action movie approach, but it does do it extremely well. The concepts are good, and the script is sparce in the extreme - here Warren prefers to sit back and let the art do the job of getting across the scale of the threat. Bryan Hitch and Paul Neary's art is perfect as always - They truly are just about the slickest art team in comics at the moment.
If you've read the first Authority TPB, you'll know exactly what to expect from the first half of this book - which reprints issues 9-12 of the comic.
In the second half of the book, Mark Millar and Frank Quitely take over. I've thought for a long time that Mark Millar hadn't had the success he deserved. This book fixed all of that and he is now one of the hottest writers around. Instead of trying to top the scale of Warren Ellis's work (which would probably require at least a galaxy to be destroyed) Millar goes back to the more political side of things that Ellis did so well in Stormwatch, and I think improves the book with this move.
Frank Quitely is one of the best artist around in comics - and if you want to see proof of this, try to track down the Flex Mentallo miniseries he did with Grant Morrison - or pick up the Earth 2 book which comes a close second. Here his art is not up to his best standard - whether that is his fault or the inkers, I don't know, but it is still a lot better than most of the art you will find in comics.
As an aside - When Mark Millar's first issue came out, there were articles in newspapers saying he had created the first gay superheroes in comics. This is largely hype - they are not the first gay superheroes - though they may well be the first gay superhero couple. Also it's apparrant if you paid attention through Warren Ellis's run that they were an item from the beginning. Millar and Ellis both deserve credit though for doing it without ever drawing attention to it. It's never raised as an issue - just like it wouldn't be if it was a hetrosexual couple.
I've given this book 4 stars - and I feel a bit mean only giving it that, but it jsut doesn't quite match up to the Ellis's later Stormwatch work. Still darn good though
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on 1 April 2015
This book, released in 1999, marked one of the turning points in Comic’s history. The advent of “Widescreen” comics with bigger panels and a more cinematic vocabulary influenced everything from Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men to Mark Millar’s The Ultimates.

Ellis resurrects some of his ideas and characters from the Stormwatch Universe and gives them a shove into the world of politics. Unlike the traditional superhero role of restoring the status quo these unusual people decide to use their powers to affect change.
There are two stories here. The first four issue block has to introduce us to our extensive cast, the world today and the current villain; as well as hosting a globe spanning explosive action sequence. It actually does this very well although mostly through dialogue rather than more elegant methods.

The second arc appears to be another world-shattering invasion but this time from an unusual parallel world. A lot of creativity is at play here and there is a very Alan Moore feel to the magical-realism of the setting. The ending of this part shows you just how vast the scope of The Authority’s power and dominion is.

The art is a real treat. Most panels are page wide and there are more splash pages than you have ever seen before. This bigger canvas really injects a movielike experience and makes the danger and scale seem more tangible. Something reinforced by the global nature of the storyline. Brian Hitch does a great job of selecting viewpoints that draw you into the action or making the characters look right at you to unnerving effect. The colours are also superb alternating between subdued, limited tones and bombastic riots of colour at exactly the right moment. The digital trickery is covert with just the right amount of influence. Even the lettering stands out – in a good way.

Reading this now, more than a decade after publication, it seems a little restrained as it has influenced so much of Comics culture today. But it still gets a mighty Thumbs Up!
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on 16 March 2006
As noted above, this comprises two four issue arcs by two different creative teams.
Warren Ellis's Authority swansong was, I felt, always his weakest work on the book - a little too far over the top, and so sparse in terms of dialogue that it's hard to believe he was actually writing it, as opposed to sending Hitch and Neary memos with comments like 'Authority kick God in head!' Still, it's good work by normal standards, the art is as stunning as ever, and it ties up the year's run pretty well, especially for those who have been following the character of Jenny Sparks and the whole century children concept (developed further in Ellis's much superior 'Planetary'.)
But things really pick up with the fourth arc (the second here), and Millar and Quitely's arrival. Millar obviously had a hell of a lot of fun writing this, and Quitely turns the book's visual style inside out, making the Authority's world an ugly, brutal (if beautifully drawn) place. Basically the plot revolves around a struggle for the Jenny Sparks of the 21st century - a mere baby, albeit with nifty powers - between the Authority and a villian who is, to all intents and purposes, Stan Lee.
It's hilarious fun watching Apollo, Midnighter et al kick the crap out of, amongst others, the Avengers, the X-men and countless X-spin off teams. Just for the joy of character-spotting twisted versions of Stan's offspring, this is worth every penny. And the unpredictable and inspired ending does as much to question the traditional values and asumptions of the superhero genre as anything in this very revolutionary series.
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on 14 October 2012
This is where the once great comic as written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Hitch took a great tumble in terms of plotting an quality. The plotting and scripting by Millar is as ugly as the artwork produced by Quitely. The first story is sublime and a great example of comic writing the second is abysmal and an example of by the numbers scripting and art (Quitely was busy with other projects at the same time and is can be seen from the art evident here which is some of the worst he has produced). Overall it is worth the purchase for the Ellis story but stop once you have read that one as it is best to consider that the end of the story.
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on 9 October 2009
Great graphic novel by great authors and artists. Have since bought 2 and 3! Would recommend it.
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