Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Authority volume four: Transfer of Power

Mark Millar, Tom Peyer, Arthur Adams & others
The Authority volume four: Transfer of Power (2002)

Somebody or other - possibly Alan Moore but I wouldn't swear to it - once made some comment about the art of storytelling being in screwing up the lives of your characters as much as possible and then spending the rest of the narrative getting them back into shape. Actually, it probably wasn't Alan Moore, or if it was, he might have been offering that as an observation on a trend rather than advice; anyway, the important point is that it's become something of a cliché. In fact I'm not actually sure that much of that caped stuff really does anything else at the moment; not that I would know admittedly, this being my impression based solely on giving up on X-Men comics all those years ago after roughly the fifth time they killed off the entire cast. Nothing ever being the same ever again becomes surprisingly repetitive after a while.

Nevertheless this is roughly what Mark Millar and Tom Peyer - whoever he may be - have done here. The Authority, in case it needs stating, is a revisionist superhero title that attempts to answer those questions like how come Superman never puts his talents to ending world hunger? by having a team of relatively believable super-types who actually do take it upon themselves to cure all the ills and evils of society. This of course places them in the somewhat Olympian position of an authority higher than that of all Earth's governments combined, hence the title; and inevitably said governments are none too happy about the arrangement, and so in this volume they have the Authority smushed once and for all then replaced with their own more obedient team of superpowered Uncle Toms.

In some ways it's become a bit of a cock-obvious story these days, a basic update of when Captain America lost his job to the Super Patriot back in 1986, and one to file away alongside tales of secret government organisations who gather up all the stuff that UFOs leave behind; but Mark Millar is such a dab hand at this that Transfer of Power may as well be the first time this particular story has been told. On paper, the basic plot sounds like pure caped cheese, but the end result is just plain chuffin' wonderful and an absolute joy to read. Mark Millar once again reheats a McDonalds' cheeseburger and serves it as haute cuisine, and I don't really know if there's anything more to be said aside from yowza!

No comments:

Post a Comment