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Preview: Superman and the Authority #3

Superman and the Authority #3

Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Travel Foreman, Mikel Janin

Superman put the Authority back together, but why? What threat is out there that only this group can contend with? The Ultra-Humanite, of course! This fearsome foe is forming a team of his own, one designed to go fist-to-fist with the Authority. It will be their baptism in battle to prove if Superman is right that regardless of who we are, there is a hero lurking inside even the worst of us. This penultimate issue is an important chapter in the new Superman mythos, helping to set up where Clark Kent goes next…and who he goes there with.

Superman and the Authority #3

Review: Superman and the Authority #3

Superman And The Authority #3

The shape of Grant Morrison’s storyline becomes clearer in the penultimate issue of Superman and the Authority #3 with the team going on their first mission and a larger (and very old school) foe rears its ugly head even as the recruitment drive continues. Yes, the final member of The Authority is Lightray aka Lia Nelson from Earth-9 aka the Tangent Comics universe giving the book a continued 1990s/early 2000s feel a la the original team. This extends to Travel Foreman and Alex Sinclair’s visuals in an early sequence where the team must rescue June Moone aka the Enchantress from her old nemesis Dzamor that features edgy, energy-filled art work and a delicate Sandman-esque script from Morrison, whose Superman uses cleverness not punching to win the day. However, this art goes bye bye and is replaced by the sleek, modern stylings of Mikel Janin and Alex Sinclair for the inter-team banter and battles to come.

Superman and the Authority #3 really builds off the previous issue’s character-driven focus to put team members which we already care about in intense situations with Grant Morrison splitting the team up in smaller groups except for their leader, Superman, who gets to go mano a mano in his situation. As mentioned in the last paragraph, Superman’s cleverness, not his waning super strength gets a workout in this issue until the final few pages, and the Authority lineup covers up his weaknesses while also acting like variables in equations. For example, Enchantress has no upper limit to her magical abilities when she merges June Moone and Enchantress as one, Manchester Black’s psychic skills and general bad attitude come in handy rescuing and merging said technologies, and Apollo’s solar powered strength slots in nicely for Superman’s old abilities. Plus he treats Superman with the most respect and deference with the exception of Steel, who has a personal relationship with him through her uncle.

Even if this Authority team doesn’t have a multi-adventure/arc future mapped out for them, the interpersonal dynamic that Morrison and Janin craft for the team through dialogue, facial expressions, and body language make for an entertaining time. Manchester Black plays the role of punching bag, (*groans*) devil’s advocate, and general wise-ass, and his continued being cut down to size is more memorable than the bigger plot. Six months from now, I won’t care what the Big Bad was up to (I do admire Grant Morrison’s nod to history and Mikel Janin’s body horror design choice.), but I will remember that Old Man Superman praised the activist-minded nature of late millennial/Generation Z and showed how shallow the “old is good, new is bad” paradigm of books like Kingdom Come were in a two panel exchange with Black. This Superman doesn’t have a no-killing policy because of the Comics Code Authority or Mark Waid, but because death ultimately prevents restorative justice, which is what he seems to be aiming for with this new team.

Yes, that’s the actual Round Table

Superman and the Authority #3 is titled “Grimdark”, and it fits the active violence of the story as well as the literal darkness enshrouding Lightray at her crash pad where Apollo and Enchantress try to snag her. Lightray gets an abbreviated version of the solo sub-stories that Steel, Midnighter and Apollo, and Enchantress got in the previous, and Jordie Bellaire’s palette does a lot of the heavy lifting as she goes from being the first child born on Mars to an influencer type figure and then hiding in the dark talking to a mysterious figure. Bellaire uses a dark red panel for her birth because she was the child of an affair then uses a bright palette for her superhero identity and then turning to utter darkness until Apollo pops in with his whole solar deal. The brightness doesn’t let up as Apollo ends up in physical combat with Lightray’s “body guard”. Introducing a new cast member this late in the game is a risky, but Morrison, Janin, and Bellaire roll the dice and resurrect a wild card character that brings an element of sadness, vulnerability, and pure potential. I’m excited to see the role Lightray plays in Superman and the Authority‘s endgame.

For the most part, Superman and the Authority #3 avoids the “middle chapter” issue in serialized comics as Grant Morrison, Mikel Janin, and Jordie Bellaire bring out the team’s opponent, show an aging Superman using his mind instead of his powers and playing the role of strategist instead of tank, and give a glimpse of the actual Authority team in action. It hits that sweet spot between light and darkness kind of like June Moone/Enchantress and her fun new look. (Her attempts at flirting with Apollo are pretty pathetic though.)

Story: Grant Morrison  Art: Mikel JaninTravel Foreman
Colors: Jordie Bellaire, Alex Sinclair Letters: Steve Wands
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.7 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Preview: Superman and the Authority #3

Superman and the Authority #3

Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Travel Foreman, Mikel Janin

Superman put the Authority back together, but why? What threat is out there that only this group can contend with? The Ultra-Humanite, of course! This fearsome foe is forming a team of his own, one designed to go fist-to-fist with the Authority. It will be their baptism in battle to prove if Superman is right that regardless of who we are, there is a hero lurking inside even the worst of us. This penultimate issue is an important chapter in the new Superman mythos, helping to set up where Clark Kent goes next…and who he goes there with.

Superman and the Authority #3

Preview: Superman and the Authority #2

Superman and the Authority #2

Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Evan Cagle, Fico Ossio, Mikel Janin

Clark Kent and Manchester Black continue to put Superman’s new team together, even though keeping Black in check seems like just as difficult a job as convincing the new recruits to come along. The pair hits different parts of the world looking for different types of heroes. While Midnighter, Apollo, and Natasha Irons only need to tie up some loose ends before getting on board, the Enchantress is going to be a little harder. Superman is going to have to set her free from a deadly illusion hell-bent on destroying her before she can help him save the universe.

Superman and the Authority #2

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Kang the Conqueror #1
Mike Del Mundo

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

1984 the Graphic Novel (Houghton Mifflin Company) – George Orwell’s classic book gets a graphic novel adaptation.

The Box #1 (Red 5 Comics) – A private detective is framed for kidnapping as a plot to take his magical box away begins.

Eat the Rich #1 (BOOM! Studios) – A new psychological horror series. Under the affluent perfection lies a dark, deadly rot…

Kang the Conqueror #1 (Marvel) – Discover the history of the man who will become Kang the Conqueror in this miniseries.

Killer Queens #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – Meet Max and Alex. Reformed intergalactic assassins for hire. On the run. Also super gay.

Moon Knight #2 (Marvel) – The first issue was an interesting new take on the character that has him focused on a small area and taking on things that go bump in the night. With new opposition, it’ll be interesting to see where the series goes.

Nocterra #6 (Image Comics) – The first story arc for the series wraps up in an oversized issue! It’s been a solid series so far and we’re excited to see how the arc ends.

Sam & His Talking Gun #4 (Scout Comics) – The title really says it all in this tale of revenge.

Second Chances #1 (Image Comics) – The Second Chance Hotline allows you to get a new identity, as long as you have some cash, referral, and good reason to start over.

Serial #6 (Abstract Studio) – The series keeps getting better with each issue in this horror/crime series.

Superman and the Authority #2 (DC Comics) – We loved the first issue that had Superman stepping out of his comfort zone and putting together a new team.

Warhammer 40,000: Sisters of Battle #1 (Marvel) – The second entry in Marvel’s take on Games Workshop’s popular setting is here. The series shifts the focus to a group of Sisters of Battle dealing with an uprising on a planet.

X-Men: Trial of Magneto #1 (Marvel) – The Scarlet Witch is dead… who did it?

X-O Manowar #5 (Valiant Entertainment) – A jumping-on point. X-O Manowar must battle a nanite monstrosity devouring the earth.

Preview: Superman and the Authority #2

Superman and the Authority #2

Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Evan Cagle, Fico Ossio, Mikel Janin

Clark Kent and Manchester Black continue to put Superman’s new team together, even though keeping Black in check seems like just as difficult a job as convincing the new recruits to come along. The pair hits different parts of the world looking for different types of heroes. While Midnighter, Apollo, and Natasha Irons only need to tie up some loose ends before getting on board, the Enchantress is going to be a little harder. Superman is going to have to set her free from a deadly illusion hell-bent on destroying her before she can help him save the universe.

Superman and the Authority #2

Around the Tubes

Superman and the Authority #1

It’s almost the weekend! What geeky things are you all doing? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that and what for the weekend to begin, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: Fasten your restraints for RIDE OR DIE – Free comics!

Comicbook – Sony’s The Kaiju Score Movie Lands Brightburn Screenwriters – Can’t wait for this film. Here’s hoping they do it justice.

Reviews

Atomic Junk Shop – Knights of Heliopolis
That Hashtag Show – Nightwing #82
The Beat – Orwell
Laughing Place – Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters – Jabba the Hutt
Comics Bulletin – Superman and the Authority #1

Review: Superman and the Authority #1

Superman and the Authority #1

Imagine a world where the Justice League failed in their mission to bring about modern Camelot on Earth, either the King Arthur one or the John F. Kennedy New Frontier one. Both fell any way. Writer Grant Morrison, artist Mikel Janin, and colorist Jordie Bellaire explore this avenue plus an ailing Superman in the first issue of their new miniseries Superman and the Authority. This comic is the perfect distillation of Otto Binder and that other British comic book writer with a beard who was a sex pest. Opening with an earnest chat between Superman and JFK and concluding with a gin-swilling British anti-hero vomiting on (a representation of) the world, Superman and the Authority brings together Silver Age and the Dark Age, but the decent Vertigo/Wildstorm stuff, not Lobdell and Nicieza on the X-Books.

Grant Morrison hits this sweet spot by focusing Superman and the Authority #1 by focusing on two characters, Superman and Manchester Black setting up the thesis for the series before the inevitable recruiting drive in next month issue’s. They bring in plenty of bells of whistles with their script, including edgy dialogue and vomit noises for Black and Silver Age deep cuts for Superman. (Kryptonian Thought-Beasts are so cool, which might be the only thing that Geoff Johns and I ever agree on.) However, what truly brings these two disparate worlds and characters together is the visuals of Janin and Bellaire. Mikel Janin’s clean line style with slight Ben-Day dot expertly conveys the nostalgia of the 1960s (Which happens to be the decade Morrison grew up in.), and his film strip layout of astronauts and Superman leaping on the moon along with JFK and Jacqueline Kennedy waving to passerbys captures an era of youth and optimism.

But this all broken up by distorted line-work from Janin and reds and blacks from Bellaire than come in any time characters are stressed and in trouble throughout Superman and the Authority from Manchester Black taking gunfire in a flurry of grid panels to Superman basically taking a life and death gambit with Phantom Zone prisoners to persuade Black to join his team. For this extended sequence, Janin works from odd angles and emphasizes the agony of a slowly depowering Superman, who can’t fly any more aka the opposite of the smiling Silver Age hero, who could breathe in space and turn a lump of coal into diamond with his bare hands. Again, there are lots of reds and repetition of the word “Die” like it’s a Misfits song or something until Manchester Black reluctantly decides to be a hero, and Jordie Bellaire pours on a bit of telekinetic blue because telepathy doesn’t work on drones. In the spirit of Hitman #34, Superman’s true power isn’t heat vision, X-Ray vision, or flight, but the ability to provide hope and inspire even the most gin-sodden anti-hero.

Speaking of hope, some fans and critics were definitely a little bit taken aback by Superman leading The Authority, a team that in past incarnations had no problem killing and doing other various terrible things in the spirit of proactive superheroing. However, Grant Morrison does a good job of making a case for a collaboration between Superman and them without shying away from action, a bit of mystery (Aka shadowy figures talking about kryptonite), and some big ideas. Even though Superman and the Authority opens with JFK and Superman smiling and laying the foundation for both the Justice League and the moon landing, the rest of the book focuses on the Man of Steel’s vulnerability. For example, instead of flying to Manchester Black’s rescue from helicopter sniper gunfire tearing across the pages, he leaps over a building in a single bound (A la New 52/Golden Age Superman), and Mikel Janin abandons his usual clean style for hazy, black lines. Morrison’s dialogue also alludes to this weakness like lines about Superman hovering over the ground for short periods as a kind of “exercise”.

It’s a far cry from a smiling figure flying into the sun, and it’s why Superman has recruited anti-heroes like Manchester to replace his lost powers and strike from the shadows and the margins because trying to change the world from out in the open leads to the assassination of JFK or MLK or RFK, who are all alluded to in Superman and the Authority #1 along with traditional Superman comic book opponents Intergang, Darkseid, and Doomsday. These baddies’ names evoke corruption, pure evil, and the ultimate defeat as Doomsday was solely created to kill Superman. (And boost sales!) They could definitely kick the current Superman’s ass as evidenced by his struggles with some drones from the Phantom Zone, which is where the new incarnation of the Authority comes in. Superman shows Black a literal Round Table when making his sales pitch, but Manchester Black’s vomiting and the overt mention of anti-heroes in Grant Morrison’s dialogue show that this team is going to be the polar opposite of their JLA.

Superman and the Authority #1 finds a balance of hope and cynicism through the characters of real time aged Superman and Manchester Black. Grant Morrison, Mikel Janin, and Jordie Bellaire give Black a true arc in this issue as evidenced by inset panels showing him walk away from the Fortress of Solitude and eventually slowly turning back to help him. Although Morrison makes cracks at traditional superheroes like the X-Men and JLA, their writing comes across as healthy skepticism more so than grimdark for the sake of grimdark. This is what Superman and the Authority the natural next step in their take on superhero team books as it captures the spirit of an age where racism, inequality, and senseless suffering continue with an added bonus of a climate crisis despite the social reforms of the 1960s.

To sum it all up, Superman and the Authority #1 is about the failure of the supposed Age of Aquarius as Morrison, Janin, and Bellaire turn from smiling, well-hewn Superman to a half-naked Manchester Black surrounded by detritus and targeted by the mooks of American imperialism. But there’s always hope even the more commercially successful superhero team failed in their mission to make the world a better place.

Story: Grant Morrison Art: Mikel Janin
Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Steve Wands
Story: 8.8 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyAmazonKindleZeus ComicsTFAW

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Superman and the Authority #1

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

Blue & Gold #1 (DC Comics) – Booster Gold and Blue Beetle in their own miniseries. That’s all we need to be excited for this one.

Dark Blood #1 (BOOM! Studios) – What if you were given the power to change the course of history? In the 1950s a Black man is given strange new abilities in a society that never wanted him to have any power.

Lunar Ladies #1 (Scout Comics) – A highly advanced society lives on the moon and their peaceful way to live is fractured by a geneticist hell-bent on usurping the queen’s power.

MOM: Mother of Madness #1 (Image Comics) – Actress Emilia Clarke’s new series.

Moon Knight #1 (Marvel) – When it comes to Marvel’s version of Batman, the first issue is solid.

Skybound X #3 (Image Comics) – The series has shown off the variety that Skybound publishes and debuts in each issue. A nice anthology we hope to see more of.

Solo Leveling Vol. 2 (Yen Press) – The first volume was fantastic where dungeon crawling is a profession and one of the worst in the business might actually not be that bad.

Superman and the Authority #1 (DC Comics) – We’ve read it. It’s really good.

Syphon #1 (Image Comics/Top Cow) – An EMT is given the power to siphon pain from others but the more he uses the gift, the more it curses him with the pain of others.

Tales From Harrow County: Fair Folk #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – Cullen Bunn returns to Harrow County with Emily Schnall for a new miniseries. The first series was fantastic so we’re expecting more.

Preview: Superman and the Authority #1

Superman and the Authority #1

Written by: Grant Morrison
Art by: Mikel Janin

Sometimes even Superman finds a task almost impossible. Sometimes even the Last Son of Krypton needs to enlist help. Some tasks require methods and heroes that don’t scream “Justice League.” So Clark Kent, the Metropolis Marvel, seeks out Manchester Black, the most dastardly of rogues, to form an all-new Authority tasked with taking care of some business on the sly. Not only will Black know the right candidates for the team, but if Superman can make him behave himself and act in service of the greater good, then he’ll prove literally anyone can be a hero! They’ll have to move quickly, however, as the Ultra-Humanite forms his own team to take out the Man of Steel.

This new limited series helps launch an all-new Superman status quo, setting up story elements that reverberate across both Action Comics and Superman: Son of Kal-El in the months to come. And not only is Superman putting together a superstar team, but it takes superstars to tell the tale: Grant Morrison (The Green Lantern, All-Star Superman) and Mikel Janín (Batman, Future State: Superman: Worlds of War)!

Superman and the Authority #1
Almost American
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