Monday, September 20, 2021

Review: Superman And The Authority #3

Superman and The Authority #3 came out last week and was another tremendous issue in what has been a very entertaining mini-series. Writer Grant Morrison is telling a story of an aging and weakening Superman forming a team to act on his behalf. But as I have said in the past, Morrison is also weaving in comic history, commentary on comic fandom, and a surprising amount of humor. I think Manchester Black is almost a stand-in for Morrison, calling it like he sees it at times.

This issue concentrates mostly on the recruitment of the Enchantress to the Authority. It involves a true laugh out loud moment. It ends with three different cliffhangers, one as the team is trying to recruit their next member, a new Lightray.

The art is by Mikel Janin and Travel Foreman and the book has a very pleasing polished look to it. I love the new look uniforms for the Enchantress and Nat Irons. And I the wild environment of Fort Superman is showcased nicely with great points of view in wide open page layouts.

If there is one complaint it is that we only have one issue left. The team hasn't even been fully formed yet. We have just learned about the threats the world faces. How is this going to wrap up in one issue? Or is the plan for it to end with the actual formation and take it from there. I wouldn't mind a lot more issues of this title.

On to the details.

The issue starts with June Moone waking up in an unusual room for her. But I love how she just rolls with it, even commenting that the Enchantress has dropped her off in many odd rooms.

But as she leaves the room, she realizes she is in a Superman fortress. She is greeted by Kelex and walked to the meeting room.

As always, I love how Morrison can just drop in craziness that I just roll with. June's trauma will fade with some exercise and fervent prayer. They are listening to the Infinite Dodecahedral Metasymphony  discovered in an archaeological dig in Kandor. It sounds like angels. 

After June sees Superman, we go back in time to her rescue.

June is trapped in the Purple Plateau, a collapsing gravitational plane which will swallow June whole. 

June and her Enchantress persona are split and June is being held by D'Z'Amor. She feels helpless against him. But Superman tells her that only she can overcome this regret and torment. Only she can unite her two selves. Even D'Z'Amor is a construction of her doing.

The D'Z'Amor demon and the split personalities of June Moone are key historical pieces to the character. I like that Superman is trying to help her, figuring out how to help her. 

The rest of the team is running interference killing hell hounds. Except Manchester Black who thinks the whole thing is foolish.

What the team needs is some opening so Manchester Black can help June take charge. 

So Superman gives us this laugh out loud moment, asking D'Z'Amor what the demon wants. D'Z'Amor says he will eradicate good and know satisfaction. Of course, as Superman points out, that means D'Z'Amor will feel good. 

This momentary logical conundrum allows Manchester Black to tell the Enchantress persona to embrace her dark side and unite herself. 

It works.

With a snap of her fingers, the Enchantress appears ... or rather the more stable unification of June and the Enchantress.

Much like Nat, Midnighter, and Apollo, once the Enchantress hears Superman wants to work with her, she is in. And that is great because they need to recruit the new Lightray. 

I love the mild sassiness in the Enchantress as she first talks about leaving all together, then agrees to stay for one mission (she knows about deals like this given her Suicide Squad time), and then signs up.

And love the angles and panels of the Fort. That includes this meeting room with the actual Round Table from King Arthur Legend. Janin and Foreman truly shine with the angles and panels in the book. 

Superman knows that the Lightray mission is happening. He senses some other threat will appear. 

But in this time before the battles, he stresses his 'no kill' policy.

I love this exchange, some great comic metacommentary, maybe aimed at old timers like me who keep complaining about the grimdark current superhero comics (I mean the issue's title is Grimdark). Superman points out, correctly, that he isn't looking back to the Silver Age as a better time. Heroes today (and therefore comics today) are much more serious and responsible about social issues.

Superman is just saying he hopes to teach people, have them learn to do good. And he can't do that if his team is killing people.

The Kandor Predict-O-Scope warns of an imminent attack in Dubai. So it is time for the team to split up, classic JLA style.

Enchantress and Apollo will go to Mars to recruit the new Lightray.

The rest of the team will head to Dubai. 

Again, so much great fun just in the dialogue. Enchantress is happy at not having to fight in her underwear. And she even makes a bit of a pass at Apollo. I love Midnighter's response.

Again, the clean style of Janin is wonderful here. I love his Enchantress.

We get a quick origin of the new Lightray, the first human born on Mars, and perhaps the daughter of Lightray himself. She is all optimism and hope, at least on social media.

But behind the scenes she is horribly depressed. And so she is the perfect target for Eclipso!

I like the look of the new Lightray, sort of a mix of Tron and Kill Bill. 

But Eclipso being introduced now! We have one more issue!

In Dubai, the Authority can't quite gel. Black says he is the leader. But he is taken out rather quickly by an even newer Authority, one that looks like it includes someone from the Elite.

I do like that Black is sort of given a comeuppance. He is all cocky cool all the time, the snarkiest guy in the room. He needs to be brought down a peg now and then. But the New Authority and the Newer Authority are both tough teams.

Meanwhile, a mystery villain we saw earlier in the issue finally reveals himself in the Fort, challenging Superman himself. The Ultra-Humanite whose brain has been put in the body of Solomon Grundy. Whoa! Now that is cool!

But that isn't his ultimate goal. He wants his brain in Superman's body. So after beating up our weakened hero, he says he is heading into Kandor.

Now it took me a long time to pick which panels to share because so much of this book is just brilliant. And I am already upset I only have one more issue to go. I know. I'm a Grant Morrison apologist. But this is just fun, the perfect mix of humor, action, and commentary on comics. I hope you all are reading.

Overall grade: A

1 comment:

Steve said...

It doesn't change the book at all but Morrison is the modern architect of Superman growing more powerful with age and ending up more or less an immortal god and here he is writing a story begun with Superman forming a team because he's weakening with age.