The Authority: Kev

The Authority: Kev 

By Garth Ennis & Glenn Fabry (WildStorm/DC Comics)
ISBN 1-84576-040-9

Garth Ennis is not particularly fond of superhero comics. That’s a shame since whenever he does write men in tights he tends to bring a wicked eye and vicious sense of the absurd to the party. The Authority as a rule tends to be a little po-faced and ultra serious in its Sturm und Drang, dystopic, angst-ridden, post apocalyptic way and Ennis would seem to be first choice not to write one of their adventures. However, Kev, collecting together both a special and a miniseries (Kev one-shot and More Kev #1-4) is one of the best volumes in this franchise so far.

The Authority are a small band of superbeings who live in a colossal, trans-dimensional spaceship, who use their god-like abilities to, in essence, rule the world. This, obviously, does not sit well with Earth’s politicians and militarists, but The Authority does not much care, choosing to right wrongs rather than follow any nation’s policy agenda.

Great Britain takes it upon itself to rectify this situation by sending an ex-S.A.S. assassin to murder them in their own space ship. There are only two problems. One is that Kev Hawkins, although a highly proficient death-dealer, is also an incredibly jammy, total screw-up, so even when he does accomplish his mission he then discovers that the entire plot is an insidious alien invasion scheme, and has to resurrect all the super-tossers to defeat the would-be conquerors. The second problem is that the resurrected heroes are quite unhappy about being murdered in the first place, and truly enjoy bearing grudges.

When the special first appeared, it was a welcome, if coarse, vulgar, crude, excessively violent and hilariously funny alternative to the cosmic histrionics of the parent series. Something that successful couldn’t help but spawn a sequel, and More Kev debuted a year later. When an alien embassy holds most of the super-team hostage against the return of an interplanetary criminal who has concealed himself amongst Earth’s population, only drastic action can save humanity.

A major complication is that only The Midnighter and Apollo – a gay couple – are free to hunt him/it, and they need the unwilling help of the last man to see him/it alive. That, of course, would be a certain homophobic gunman who they still haven’t forgiven for killing them earlier in this book. What follows is vintage Ennis, brimming with soldier-boy camaraderie, ugly shagging, brilliantly foul and funny dialogue and the now mandatory pop at any and all governments, whilst Glenn Fabry’s art weaves a fine, unobtrusive line between realism and caricature without ever stealing the focus from the narrative.

There are plenty of hilarious set-pieces, vast amounts of gratuitous gore and a shed load of harsh language in this wonderful antidote to the heavy- handed hyperbole that is bogging down so much of modern comics’ output. An absolute hoot!

© 2005 WildStorm Productions, an imprint of DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.