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Review – The Authority: The Lost Year Book One

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I only know about The Authority through the praise it’s gotten over the years.  I was surprised to find a copy of the latest trade paperback The Authority: The Lost Year Book One which covers The Authority #1-2 and The Authority: The Lost Year #3-7.  Boy was I happy to have it land at my door step, because it’s a great read and intriguing concept.

The seven issues can be broken up into three chapters each having a distinct theme.  Grant Morrison and Keith Giffen take over the story and writing duties and Brian Stelfreeze handles the storytelling for chapters six and seven.  Artists include Gene Ha (chapter one and two), Darick Robertson and Trevor Scott (chapter three and four), Jonathan Wayshak (chapter five) and Joel Gomez (chapter six and seven).

The first chapter follows the Authority who have landed in a world without super powers and on the brink of World War III, but why aren’t their any special people?  The story explores the familiar themes of people with god like powers lording over regular people.  Debate over how to handle the situation focuses on the Authority’s responsibility to do right.  But what is exactly right?  And who determines that?

The second story sees the group back in the Bleed and challenges you to think about order in the animal kingdom and survival of the fittest.  A team that seems to throw Darwin’s teachings out of the way by intervening on worlds must choose if they’ll do the same to save their sentient ship.

The third story lands them on a world torn apart by an Authority team who’s fallen apart and divided the nation between two factions.  This arc plays heavily back into the second one.

All together the series was easy to understand and get into and it’s a fantastic mix of philosophy and action with some interesting and unique characters.  This is definitely a series I can get into and think I might just have to.  I highly recommend it.

Plot: Grant Morrison’s writing for me is hit or miss.  He’s either completely on with a great mix of action and cerebral discussions or utterly off with a story that’s garbled and makes no sense without a directors commentary and decoder ring.  Here, Morrison and Keith Giffen are completely on with the former.  The action is entertaining and there’s implications for actions and debate about those implications.  This is an action comic for adults with pretty well rounded characters that are familiar but totally fresh.  Rating: 9.5

Art: Even with a mix of artists the look of the book works across the entire book and is fantastic to look at.  All of it together with the coloring and lettering works perfectly and enhances the story.  It’s top notch.  Rating: 9

Overall: This is a great read and definitely worth the purchase.  Though it ends on a bit of a cliff hanger that leaves you hanging with what comes next, the three distinct stories all have strength in their writing and art.  This is a cerebral action series for adults.  It wants you to question the action of super heroes and their right to intervene and it achieves this and then some.  How it compares to previous Authority stories I’ll soon find out as it’s gotten me to want to seek them out and find out for myself.  Make sure to grab this one when it hits the shelves on June 23.  Overall rating: 9.25

Recommendation: Buy

Page count: 168 pages    Price: $17.99     Release: Wednesday 6/23/2010

DC and Wildstorm provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of this issue for FREE for review.

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