The Authority: Revolution

It’s been a while since I read a proper Authority story. Last time it was the one issue found in the Coup D’etat mini-series which effectively sets the scene up for this story. Just finished reading Volume 1 of The Authority: Revolution (the mini-site also provides a little video interview with Dustin the artist of the book, more on him later) The Authority now control America and are making a better world, or so they would like to believe.

The Story - Ed Brubaker
The book is written by the supremely talented Ed Brubaker. Part of me is very disappointed that Wildstorm lost this guy to Marvel, as he’s proven that he’s a person who truly understands and appreciates the history of the Wildstorm Universe, with his brilliant Point Blank and Sleeper series

Unlike many people out there reading comics, I’m much more an Image boy, rather than a Marvel or DC boy. That’s not to say I will buy everything by Image, but explains my reading habits. I hunt down stuff by creators, and not a company, with the sole exception of the Wildstorm Universe. It’s the one set of books that has always been one step ahead of the rest. I doubt I’ll ever do work for hire (although never say never) but if I did it would have to be in the Wildstorm Universe and with a writer that actually was a fan of the Universe, as Ed Brubaker so clearly is.

In the latest trade paperback in the Authority series (Volume 7 apparently, I’m thinking 2 for the Warren Ellis run, 2 for the Mark Millar run, and 2 for the Robbie Morrison run), is easily back to the exceptional form established by the first 2 creative teams. This is some of the best Authority fare, where each issue has got memorable moments, dialogue and artwork. The structure is very different to previous incarnations. Previously Ellis and Millar structured their stories into groups of 4 issue arcs. Brubaker is doing a 12 issue mini series.

What I love about this story is that it allows the characters to grow. The status quo is not stagnant; the structure and details are constantly being questioned. For anyone thinking that everything remains the same throughout the life of the story to preserve the status quo is dead wrong. It’s playing out in a very unorthodox fashion, one I’m very keen on following through to with the next book.

One thing I’ve noticed however is that the first half of this story is a Midnighter story, while the second half will be a Jenny Quantum story. You can tell this is who Ed’s favourite is, and to be honest he is the coolest member of the team. In previous incarnations of the book it was more of team book, and all the characters got equal airtime, however Ed doesn’t seem to balance that. This isn’t so much a criticism as I like the fact that he’s concentrating on a few characters and giving them time to grow and develop. He does provide key moments for the other characters, however he is playing to his strengths as a writer.

The Wildstorm Universe has always had a single writer who defines the direction for many of the books for a given period of time. We’ve had the Brandon Choi era, followed by the Alan Moore era, Warren Ellis took over not long after that and set the tone for things to come for a while, then Joe Casey tried his hand, but he didn’t really get the Universe in my humble opinion, and now we’re slowly drawing the curtain on the Ed Brubaker era. I’ve enjoyed the Ed era the most (after the Alan Moore era). Ed has a complete understanding of the history of the WS universe and gives all faithful readers lots of gratification as he links in characters and situations perfectly. He provides continuity, while masterfully making it completely accessible for people that haven’t read the stories before. He has a respect for what’s come before which is very rare in the current comic book market. The twist he’s provided in the 5th issue however will have to be properly explained, but it’s an explanation I’m really looking forward to.

Like I said it’s a shame that it will also mark the last work that Ed will have done for Wildstorm (as he’s completed Sleeper which is the other must read book of the Wildstorm Universe).

The Art - Dustin and Rich
The art is provided by the dynamic team of Dustin Nguyen and Richard Friend. I remember when Dustin first broke onto the scene. He got lambasted on the WS message boards, which I thought was supremely unfair and defended him, we had a few email conversations after that, and to say I’m not slightly biased towards the guy would be a lie. The fact that he’s got talent however is no lie. Since his early days he’s handled Batman, Wildcats and The Authority several times. The design of the book and the covers has dropped in quality significantly since the Wildcats 3.0 series. The difference with that series was the fact that we had the amazing Rian Hughes on the book design. Each cover was a lesson in how to be innovative in design and art. This series lacks that design edge. Dustin however makes his mark by giving Jenny Quantum her own special look.

Side note, I love Jenny Quantum. She’s easily turning into my favourite character right now, and I can see her becoming more and more prominent in future Authority stories.

His carrier interiors are very consistent and his designs for the Sons of Liberty were exceptionally well done.

So to recap if you stopped reading The Authority after the Millar run, do yourself a favour and pick up Revolution, you’ll remember why you liked these characters in the first place.