By Ed Brubaker, Dustin Nguyen & Richard Friend (WildStorm)
This reductionist saga of real-world super-heroics reaches a worrying point in a slow but marked decline with a year long mini-series collected as two volumes here. The Authority are a team of super-beings who eschewed the traditional societal role of heroes in favour of a pre-emptive strike policy, and a no-nonsense One-World paternalism, that allowed them to tackle real problems such as hunger, pollution, genocides and corporate piracy as well as demented super-villains and alien invasions. They set themselves above the Machiavellian dances of world politics in a mission to save the entire planet, which naturally, did not endear them to the entrenched Interests of Government and Business.
Eventually, weary of the continual hindrances put in their way by the US Government, they forcibly supplanted it and as Book 1 opens are in charge of the country and thus, arguably, the world. As their reform and salvation programs begin to take effect however, a mysterious enemy is manipulating various other US superheroes to begin a popular revolt.
Stuffed with the signature intense language and violence that characterises both this series and author Brubaker’s other work, things begin to go terribly wrong, terribly quickly, and the situation worsens when Midnighter is catapulted into the future, where he sees what the eventual result of their efforts will lead to. On his return, he quits the team to save the planet, but still the situation seems to worsen. As the first volume ends, the demoralized team have all retired or disappeared and America and the world are free, although now in the hands of a corporate dictatorship.
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