Overview

The Authority: World's End #1

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The Authority: World's End #1

Credits

  • Words: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
  • Art: Simon Coleby
  • Inks: Simon Coleby
  • Colors: Carrie Strachan
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: WildStorm/DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Aug 6, 2008

The Authority: World's End #1 presents a world that is little more than a wasteland and the greatest heroes pick up the pieces of their ultimate failure.

Being my first foray into the WildStorm Universe, and specifically The Authority, I wasn't sure what to expect, but never would have guessed I'd be reading about a post-apocalyptic world. I'm familiar with Warren Ellis' work, but only knew about the Authority anecdotally from some friends who'd been fans of the early series. A little digging on Wikipedia, and I was brought up to speed on the Number of the Beast mini-series which set the stage for this new ongoing Authority title.

Narrated by Swift, or just Li as she is referred to in the story, the shattered remnants of the Authority operate in Unlondon, the burnt out shell of a city that remains after The Carrier merges disastrously with London. Apollo has been exiled to the photosphere, only capable of brief periods of activity in the smog-covered city. An electromagnetic pulse has wiped out all electronics and technology, so society is being reduced to a primitive state, where people are fighting each other over a jar of pickled onions. The EMP has become one of the most overused tropes in fiction, but I suppose it is as good a way as any to put society back into the Stone Age!

The issue contains little other than exposition of this new reality, and therefore it is difficult to assess the direction of the book. It is an attractive idea to portray the massive failure of superheroes and see whether they are able to recreate a better world, and what it means to be heroic in the face of a disaster you were unable to prevent. Swift it seems has already abandoned her Buddhist beliefs and has taken up a role of leadership even to the birds, who have also been left an environment they don't understand. A multitude of musings and ideas are available to be explored in this vision, and the series has promise. Unfortunately, the book is so bleak, so depressing, and lacking in plot structure, that I see no reason to come back for a second issue. Perhaps it will be different for those with a history and stake in the characters, but for a novice to The Authority, it is not interesting enough.

Simon Coleby's art is adequate to the task. His backgrounds, creating the dark future are exceptional, and there is a magnificent two-page spread of The Carrier merging with Unlondon. The artwork is powerful and evocative of the hopelessness of Abnett and Lanning's setting. As with all WildStorm products, the coloring and production quality is very high. The black panel bordering is appropriate to the feel of the art and subject matter of the story.

WildStorm has embarked in a bold direction with The Authority: World's End. Pop culture has a long history with bleak visions, from Terminator to Dark Tower to several X-Men futures, so there is a market for this sort of thing. Perhaps future issues will unfold a more compelling plot, but so far it is little more than a "what if" scenario.

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