Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Review: Superman And The Authority #2

 When the Superman and The Authority miniseries was announced, I knew I was going to buy it. I mean I will always buy Grant Morrison books. And Morrison Superman books never fail to entertain. And Mikel Janin on art? Brilliant. 

 It was 'the Authority' part that worried me. I have never had too much interest in the group and never read the book. But the concept of a future Superman putting together a group of misfits to be his away team sounded too good. Manchester Black corralled into being a good guy? This I needed to read.

Superman and the Authority #2 came out last week and was simply one of the best books I have read in a while. What is Morrison's game here? Is Morrison poking fun at the comic book industry? Himself? Is he laughing at us fans? Or with us? 

I don't care.

This book is just seeped in metatextual comic and fandom stuff that I had a silly grin the whole way through.

The team is barely formed and we are halfway through this brief 4 issue series. I hope we get to see them in action. But if all I get are 2 more issues similar to this, I'll be just fine.

The art here is predominantly done by Janin who draws an older Superman looking like sturdy Tom Strong. The internal chapters are done by Travel Foreman, Fico Ossio, and Evan Cagle. The book flows well under these artists, each chapter improved by the style of the artist. 

Let's dive into the fun.

In the Fortress, Manchester Black is witnessing Superman work out. While his strength and speed is still prodigious, he is weaker.

And so it is up to Manchester to put together the team Superman wants 'weirdo by weirdo'.

I love Janin's Superman in this book. Just a burly hunk of hero. 

The first recruit we check in on is Natasha Irons. Raised in a house were Superman is revered, she is eager to join.

But not before defeating an AI which has brought the internet to life. From living dating app ads to actual trolls who are insulting Nat to actual Edgelords, Morrison gives us a physical look at the toxic elements of the net. And these 'Lords' sound a lot like some of the more odious and extreme fans on the net. They say she can't be a hero for any other reason and threaten her.

They are dispatched by Natasha relatively easily.

But this whole scene sort of felt like an afternoon on Twitter.

And then this funny scene.

Manchester Black says that his next recruits are Midnighter and Apollo.

When Black and his Elite were introduced in Action Comics #775, they were based on the Authority. They were writer Joe Kelly's way of showing what was so wrong with the Authority's take on heroics.

Here Black calls that out, calling The Elite cheap knockoffs of the real Authority. Morrison just calls it out. That's fantastic. 

And the trophies in the Fortress? The Titanic ... okay. But a Batmobile? And time machines from The Time Machine, Doctor Who, and Back to the Future? I suppose this whole story is a but timey-wimey.

Then we check in on Midnighter and Apollo who are dealing out death and justice while in the midst of a lovers' spat.

Midnighter has always been a Batman analogue. But I love how Morrison puts all the uber-bat nonsense into this dialogue. He has already anticipated every response and every reaction despite the infinite combinations to know the outcome.

And then the grim and gritty statement that he is the death that has always awaited his enemies. 

But 'That's how they made made me' is an interesting line. Is the 'they' us comic fans? Did we make Batman this sort of caricature of himself?

Later Midnighter even says that he has anticipated every response to this mission that Apollo could have and they all are buzz kills. This 'I can prepare for anyone and know the ultimate outcome' is the sort of invulnerable take on Batman that has kept me away from a Dark Knight comic for some time.

It's funny. Morrison might have been the first 'uber bat' perpetrator way back in his JLA revamp. So maybe he's laughing at himself.

But Apollo and Midnighter are on board.

And then another acknowledgment that Apollo is a Superman stand-in.

It all started with Superman and in a comic sense, it truly did.

The last member of the team we meet is the Enchantress.

Is she June Moone, inmate at an asylum? June Moone entering a mansion and detained by a satanic cult? Is she sane, the Enchantress a magical identity? Or is she shattered and schizophrenic.2

But there is much to unpack here. I love how Morrison leans into June's comic origins. But this section just reeks of Zach Snyder's Sucker Punch. A story within a story within a story? A tortured young woman about to be lobotomized in a sleazy mental institution? Is Morrison acknowledging Snyder? Or lamenting him?

Either way the 'Evil is so much more fun' sounds like it could be a DC tag line. Evil shouldn't be portrayed as fun or sexy.

But before the lobotomy can happen, the Super-team arrives and saves the day.

Now we are looking at Superman from the eyes of the Enchantress. And we see his outstretched hands reaching for us to help us. That's fantastic. Save us Superman from the madness of a Snyder vision.

Anyways, between the commenting on comic and fandom, and a Superman starting a new battle of truth and justice, this was just a hoot. And the art is truly spectacular.

Where ever this comic is going, I am along for the ride.

Overall grade: A

1 comment:

Martin Gray said...

I don’t know why I never got to this comic last week. It’s just wonderful, so smart and self aware and playful and funny… and I knew you’d also get a kick out of seeing June’s boyfriend, Alan, from that origin. I expect we both met Enchantress in those Adventure Comics reprints. Still, she’s such a loose cannon that she shouldn’t be on a team, she should be getting proper help. Bring in Extrano instead.

Enchantress’s new look is interesting, kinda like Klarion’s people. I do love her Sixties outfit, though!

That stuff about Midnighter anticipating opponents’ moves wasn’t Morrison’s doing, that’s a big part of his schtick. The Writer was having fun, though.

Great review!