Shiny Shelf

The Authority #1

By Jim Smith on 21 October 2006

WARNING! Contains spoilers!

A Grant Morrison take on ‘The Authority’ carries with it certain expectations. A little bit of politics. Some magic. Some sexuality. Big colours. Wild action sequences. A liberal agenda. All these would probably have been my ticklist, had anyone been bored enough to ask me to supply one. I’d have banked on a smarter version, essentially, of how Morrison’s former protégé Mark Millar wrote the Authority during the first eight issues he was on the books antepenultimate incarnation (the only period, under any creative team, when it actually worked).

Boy. Was I wrong. But that’s the nature of great artists (and Morrison is one) they confound you. ‘The Authority’ 1 contains 22 pages in which none of the series presumed lead characters (the members of the aforementioned super-team, natch) actually appear.

Instead we get something radically different; something so contemporarily relevant that the characters speculate on games from last week’s premiership fixture list while the radio quotes things recently said by the real life Pope. In it a man with a crumbling marriage gets called in to his sinister government security service job and is asked take a submarine down to the ocean floor while his wife walks out on him. There, he finds something… and that’s it.

It’s an occasionally funny and strangely compulsive slog. It’s a taster of something big on the horizon; a slow burning, thoughtful drawing back of the fist. It couldn’t be much more different from Morrison’s other issue 1 of the day if it tried – and I suspect it is. Marvellous.

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