Review by Frank Plowright
Grant Morrison has on many occasions taken the concept of the superhero, brushed off the dust, and transformed them into something fresh and exciting (see recommendations). One of his rare misfires, though, was with the Authority, where Warren Ellis had previously dusted off the template to produce something original. Strangely, the combination of Morrison and the Authority again falls short of expectation.
It’s a new Authority this time, gathered by Superman because he knows a threat is coming, and as his powers are waning, he may not be capable of fighting it off himself. Morrison doesn’t bother explaining why the Justice League couldn’t help out. Instead Superman turns to Manchester Black, not actually created by Morrison, but as written by him the type of nihilistic, sweary character that would seem cool to a disenchanted teenager. He’s actually an irredeemable wanker, to use a term apparently now permitted in a mainstream DC superhero title, whose cigarette seems to have been removed from the back cover illustration. Morrison keeps Apollo and Midnighter from the original team, drily noting through Black that they wave the all-important diversity flags, and adds Enchantress and Steel. In all cases he highlights a form of mental illness or condition, which would be worthwhile if most weren’t just casual personality tics.
As seen on the sample page, Mikel Janín includes some sly visual asides, and his polished storytelling carries an ordinary outing a long way. He’s great at making conversations look interesting, which is just as well since there are lot of them, as the provocative Black constantly rants while Superman maintains the calm associated with controlling a puppy. The other listed artists draw sequences featuring the characters when introduced, all good, if not matching Janín’s style.
This isn’t as uninspired as Morrison’s last take on the Authority, as there’s invention to the third chapter battle, some nice sardonic dialogue, and the art elevates the ordinary. However, it has the feeling of Morrison nostalgic for his enfant terrible days and button-pushing to relive them, so creating this private joke, mixing wildly incompatible people and then dumping them on Phillip Kennedy Johnson for use in the mainstream Superman titles.