Sep 22, 2009

[Comics] The Authority Vol. 4 - Transfer of Power

The Authority: Transfer of PowerThe end of a story arc is one thing; the end of the run of a particular writer is another The abrupt departure of an artist can be madness.

The end of the first volume of The Authority had all these problems and more. Sadly, things just didn't seem to be going in the right direction for the comic given all these complications. Ultimately this became a story that could have been resolved in a few issues but instead lasted for 8 issues over the course of nearly two years. Seriously.

That's a lousy way to go for such a great comic, but what can you do, eh?

The Authority: Transfer of Power collects the last 8 issues of the first volume of the comic book series, namely issues 22-29. Given how proactive the Authority has become in interfering in what would typically known as internal matters for various countries, they've certainly started to make enemies amongst the governments of the world. They continue to operate as an independent group with no direct authority of their own to report to. Naturally this has made people nervous.

Cover of "Transfer of Power (Authority)"Cover of Transfer of Power (Authority)

Thus the G7, which you should know to be the most economically powerful nations of the world, hired or created this creature known only as Seth, who is essentially a stereotypical red neck given super powers on a very significant scale. He manages to single-handedly defeat all members of the Authority in order to allow their replacements to come in - a hand-picked group of 7 super humans representing each of the G7 nations.

Originally, Transfer of Power was meant to be a 4-issue story arc. However when Frank Quitely left the team to work with Marvel for New X-Men, this left Wildstorm with a story that still needed to be drawn. So what happened instead was that a 4-issue filler was created to fill in the gap while other artists took over Quitely's work in order to try and finish the original story. The 4-issue filler just covered the new G7 Authority and all the mischief they get into across the multiverse. As a fan, you know that the real Authority isn't dead and it's just a question of how they're possibly going to come back.

The awkwardness of the politics behind the scenes, I felt this book had some very strong potential. The concept was right for a comic like Authority but the overall execution ended up feeling sloppy and misguided. Too many elements got away from them, thus leaving us with a story that will never feel perfectly correct.

This has nothing to do with how annoying the "new" Authority ended up being. That was the point of that particular team, right? They had to be the kinds of characters we wouldn't fall in love with given how thin the line is being being the "good" Authority versus the "bad" one. The joys of morally ambiguous super teams.

At last now we can read it in a single sitting and not have to feel the agonizing wait of months turning into years like those who originally followed the comic prior to 2001. Still, there were certainly much better ways for the comic book to end and it remains highly unfortunate that an alternative path was not found in time.

The Authority: Transfer of Power gets 3.5 refugees out of 5.


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