The Authority 1: Relentless

the authority volume 1 relentless cover trade paperback tpb
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

A new idea for superhero teams

Feels a bit dated

Comic Info

Comic Name: The Authority

Publisher: DC Comics/Wildstorm

Writer: Warren Ellis

Artist: Bryan Hitch

# of Issues: 8

Release Date: 2000

the authority #1 cover

The Authority (1) #1

Reprints The Authority (1) #1-8 (May 1999-December 1999).  Stormwatch is gone, and the Earth has been left unprotected from superhuman global threats.  Fortunately, Stormwatch Black has survived, and Jenny Sparks has gathered Swift, the Engineer, Jack Hawksmoor, Apollo, Midnighter, and the Doctor to monitor Earth from a pocket-dimension.  Stormwatch Black no longer just wants to watch…Stormwatch intends to change the world and they will do it as the Authority.

Written by Warren Ellis, The Authority Volume 1:  Relentless is a DC Comics series released under the Wildstorm imprint.  Following Stormwatch Volume 5:  Final Orbit, the series features art by Bryan Hitch and was collected in The Authority—Book 1 and The Authority Omnibus.

The WildC.A.T.s/Aliens comic was a shocker.  Stormwatch had been gaining popularity and the one-shot appeared to end it all with most of Stormwatch being slaughtered by aliens from the Aliens franchise (which posed a bunch of other problems due to legal rights).  Ellis relaunched Stormwatch but decided to change up things, and the Authority was born.

the authority #8 cover midnighter apollo

The Authority (1) #8

The Authority was a bit of a game-changer.  Other comics like Watchmen and Squadron Supreme took the idea of superheroes proactively trying to clean up the world, but The Authority took it to the next level.  When the Authority enters a fights thousands die to save millions…on a regular basis.  The team isn’t necessarily about friendship or allies, but about effectiveness and purpose.  This idea kind of changed the superhero game and caused some reworking of how superheroes function (for better or worse).

The collection has the Authority wrapping up some old business with Kaizen Gamorra then moves on to an interdimensional battle with the Sliding Albion.  The trend of The Authority is to almost ape other comics and comic book developers and the attitude and nature of the team and the attacks are very “un-superhero”.  It is hit them hard and hit them fast.  It isn’t like the Justice League capturing the enemies in Wonder Woman’s lasso and chastising them.  It’s as the title indicates:  relentless.

The reach of The Authority indirectly leads to comics like Avengers World and other superhero “we know best” type monitoring of the Earth.  With others copying The Authority, it feels like some have done it better since…but it also doesn’t mean that it is necessarily fun.  Part of what I personally enjoy about contacts is the cheesy “do good” nature of comics and the fact that most teams are makeshift families…The Authority jettisons most of this for better or worse, but who watches the Authority?  The Authority 1:  Relentless is followed by The Authority 2:  Under New Management.

Related Links:

The Authority 2:  Under New Management

The Authority 3:  Earth Inferno and Other Stories

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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