The Authority: The Magnificent Kevin

The Authority: The Magnificent Kevin
The Authority The Magnificent Kevin review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: WildStorm - 1-4012-0990-4
  • Volume No.: 2
  • Release date: 2006
  • UPC: 9781401209902
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Action Thriller, Humour

Hapless former SAS man Kevin Hawkins was first seen in The Authority: Kev, introduced on the toilet, trousers around his ankles when attacked by a pair of IRA killers. What could be more embarrassing than that? Well, fans of Garth Ennis’ view of the superhero world can be assured he’s come up with an opening reinforcing Kev’s status as the world’s biggest loser.

The cover art notwithstanding, publishing this as an Authority title in 2006 was at the very least sleight of hand, because, as before, Ennis has absolutely no interest at all in the superheroes, sidelining all but Midnighter in the most ridiculous way. For much of the time Midnighter’s presence is only required for a wafer thin plot as he listens to the story of Kev’s past, and how a sad specimen like him managed to qualify for the SAS in the first place. There’s then an abrupt switch into a plot about the British government’s failed attempts to generate superheroes.

Carlos Ezquerra draws the consequent calamities with an undisguised glee, relishing the comedy violence, but his approach is very different from Glenn Fabry largely playing things straight for Kev’s earlier outings. The result is like the laughter track on old TV comedies.

As before, Ennis mixes comedy, violence and pathos, and knows copious swearing is both big and clever. There are some laugh out loud moments and there are some that are genuinely touching, but it’s an awkward mixture. Accommodating a scene commenting on suicide rates of former soldiers among the mayhem just doesn’t provide the necessary context.

Anyone who enjoyed Kev’s earlier outing is likely to enjoy this as well, but it’s with The Boys that Ennis really refined his comedy action techniques concerning superheroes.