Monday, October 18, 2021

Review: Superman And The Authority #4

Superman and the Authority #4 came out last week, the last issue of this quirky mini-series that I have unabashedly loved.

I shouldn't be surprised that Grant Morrison could pull off such a series. Somehow this series is both in continuity and seems out of continuity. It started with Superman meeting Kennedy. It ends with Superman heading off to Warworld, sliding into the current Action Comics arc. It is seems to include metacommentary on social media, comic fandom, and comic property creators. It throws in some intriguing lines that probably will impact the entire super family. All this while being massively entertaining. Morrison grasps who Superman is. 

Mikel Janin is also amazing on this book, bringing us such polished art that I want to inject it into my eyeballs. His older, graying Superman is just dazzling. His Lois Lane is feisty and sort of scary. The  
action sequences include very palpable hits. 

But it is the droll ending of the big villain arc that is the can't miss moment here. It has to be seen to be believed.

On to the book.

We start with the Ultra-Humanite in Kandor planning to debrain Superman and take over the Man of Steel's body. Too bad that Superman hasn't turned on the Kryptonian environment in Kandor. He is still powered.

After a few haymakers, Superman reveals his secret weapon ... Lois armed with a multiple-Kryptonite rifle. One of those settings, White Kryptonite, deadly to plant matter like the quasi-plant elemental Solomon Grundy (Humanite's host body). 

A couple of things here. I mean, how awesome is this lip-biting, bad ass Lois. She is like Emma Peel meets Black Widow. Incredible.

But more importantly (and more on this later), what does the Humanite mean when he says 'Kryptonite, the greatest lie of all'?? I know Morrison has a lot of 'throwaway ideas' dropped in his scripts. But this seems like a seed to be explored.

Once Superman beheads Grundy/Humanite, he looks deeper into things.

The real threat behind the Humanite is Brainiac. As usual, Brainiac thinks Superman is a threat to Earth's environment. If he can't defeat Superman, he'll do his usual shrinking gig.

We barely have barely met the actual villains in this book! A secret villain! But Superman isn't buying any of it.

How great that Morrison gives a chittering Koko!

Meanwhile, in Qurac, we meet the new Elite.

That includes The Iron Cross, a Nazi who complains about how is free speech has been impeded by the world. Why can't he express his views?

Here is one of those great action shots with Natasha Irons just slamming this guy with her hammer.

We also meet, a sort electrical ninja? But her backstory is wild. A refugee who fled to Earth, destroyed Lamont California, and now preaches for those in her culture who are marginalized. I love how these beings wiping out a whole town seems to be an afterthought.

We also meet Fleur De Lis, a French assassin who does a good job squaring off against Midnighter. It is funny how they both talk about being gay while they spar. She is being paid for in NFTs of UltraHumanite’s art! That is also worthy of some Midnighter scorn. Hilarious!

And even old Elite member Coldcast is there to fight Manchester Black. Black chides his old teammate for being on a squad with a Nazi racist like Iron Cross. But Coldcast he didn't know about that. He was doing it for the money.

All of these sequences are action packed but have such classic Morrison dialogue. Delightful.

Don't forget that Superman is also trying to recruit the new Lightray. 

Despite being beloved, she is despondent. Eclipso talks about blotting out any light he finds, almost convincing her to blow her own head off.

But I love that he is still proud enough or conceited enough to keep asking her if she knows who he is.

That sort of villainous vanity is giggle-worthy coming from a demon like Eclipso.

But here are the other members of the Authority.

A sun-powered, light emitter like Apollo just blasts Eclipso away. 

But it is Enchantress' line that I love. No need to live in just shadow and light. She knows all about the shades in the middle. If anyone knows about gray, it's the Enchantress.

Just like that Eclipso is vanquished I guess.

But here is my best most favorite moment of the whole series.

As Brainiac and Ultrahumanite bloviate about their plans, Superman simply teleports away. He is bored of all this rhetoric and he'll let someone else stop their plans.

I guess Superman got bored with everything. 

He really was doing all this to field test his team.

He left Brainiac confused about the sudden departure. 

That is spectacular.

Remember that 'greatest lie' line about Kryptonite?

How about this line? If what Supergirl and Superman have found out about Kryptonite is true, they have to leave Earth.

Now that is intriguing. 

Perhaps there isn't Kryptonite but some natural radation/degradation of Earth elements? I mean that would explain why so much K is on Earth.

We also know that Future's End Supergirl ends up on a Saturn moon. So is this why she leaves Earth? Is that why she took off in Tom King's book?

Nice juicy hook there.

With a dry run done, Superman says it is time for the Authority to join him in heading to Warworld. So here we are, dovetailing nicely into current continuity.

And look who is joining, the new OMAC, pronouns, he, him, they? Can you be he and they? I am still learning. 

 But this is quite the team. I wonder what Superman is planning to do with them.

But we get one more nice sight to mull over, complete with a 'to be continued'!

Superman brought in Lightray because the Source Hand keeps writing one thing over and over these days. 'Lightray Is.'

Hmmm, she does have a dark streak. That line is a riff on Darkseid's motto. 

What does it all mean?? And what does 'to be continued' mean? That we'll see this in Phillip Kennedy Johnson's run? That Morrison has another mini in him?

I'd be happy with either of those.

Seriously, this has been a wild ride. I have no complaints. None. How can we somehow slip a graying, older, depowered Superman story right into the current continuity and not have bat an eye. Because it was a good story.

Overall grade: A


Martin Gray said...

Great review. That electric ninja’s reference to Haven nagged at me and yes indeed, turns out she’s from the short Haven series from about 20 years ago.

Fleur de Lis was a shortlived Global Guardian who wound up in the Ultramarines created in Morrison’s JLA - the man wastes nothing!

I loved this series too, I want more, and it seems Grant has plans.

Anonymous said...

This was fun. Morrison's spins great tales. They usually take a few readings to grasp, but it's worth it.

I wonder why Lois is green while in Kandor.

And I wondered about what Superman says to Lois after they exit Kandor - "I have no choice to leave earth... that's before the *other* business and Lightray." Is that a reference to a story that will be told after, or be set after, the Warworld story? Is the coda introduced by "Later..." a preview of that post-Warworld story? I guess so.

Meanwhile, the one-shot Batman story with the Authority will apparently be wedged in before they leave for Warworld, even though they appear to have already left.


Martin Gray said...

In my digital copy, TN, almost everything in Kandor is shaded green, it’s lighting, presumably.

Anonymous said...

Oh you're right, Martin - I see Superman is green too. Somehow it struck me more on Lois, maybe because her pants. sock and shoes aren't tinted, nor the K-Rifle she's wielding.


Martin Gray said...

Aha, a new Word Balloon has dropped today and Phillip Kennedy Johnson addresses the dissonance between this comic and Action Comics - basically, he says that everything will be clear come #1036. Apparently some theories online have been pretty close.

Anj said...

I have had no theories!

Martin Gray said...

Then pop to my blog and check out mine. I need comments or I will wilt away…

Anonymous said...

I still have more than 2 hours left of the recent 2-part Word Balloon Bendis tapes. He says more here than he has elsewhere about his situation at DC. (Did he ever say anything anywhere about it before now?) And while there have been lots of complaints about the way the Checkmate story has been popping up in Justice League, it seems he was able to convince DC to go ahead with finally publishing Checkmate specifically by tying in to it from JL. He says he'll be writing JL for the foreseeable future.

Two hours to go then on to Phillip Kennedy Johnson!