Note: Depending on the format of the source media and what makes organizing my thoughts easier, the overall format of this blog series will be flexible to accommodate that! So this first, comics-focused installment of In Retrospect won’t be repeated for (as an example), me talking about an episode of “Smallville” that stuck with me.
I do not claim to hold the copyright to The Authority or the images in this post. I may own copies of the books, but that’s it entirely.
Content Notes: references to racism, misogyny, colonialism, fascism, and homophobia
I got into The Authority right around the time that DC shut the doors on the Wildstorm universe for what I thought might be the last time.
A dear friend in the DC fandom, Sasha, had gotten me into the series after seeing me comment on fanart of Apollo and Midnighter with the kind of excitement that really only comes from getting to call a character “gay murder Batman” and pointed me in the direction of the series and some of its best arcs.
I started with Warren Ellis’s second volume of Stormwatch (which introduced the characters that’d go on to be part of The Authority and went on from there. It remains one of the series I reread as often as possible because the storylines and characters are just flat out fun to fuss over.
With DC’s The Wild Storm reinventing all of the characters from this run, I thought it’d be a perfect opportunity to look back at the first twelve issues of The Authority. What was so awesome about Ellis’s first run and why is it that Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s following turn on the series so dang distressing?
And above all: does this series still deserve the hype in my head?
This is the first post of what’s going to be a regular feature on the blog. “Problematic Fave” is going to look at what else – my problematic faves from all over the place. From comics to the romance novels I have loved to things I’ve watched that were just plain weird, I’m giving a critical look at stuff that I genuinely love, even when I probably could dial things back a notch.
To be absolutely honest, the Authority, Stormwatch, and their characters make up approximately 60% of my ultimate problematic favorites.
Sometimes, some issues or characters stand out more to me because they’re messed up or because they messed me up and then despite that, I continued to overflow with love for them. So it makes sense to start with one of the books from Wildstorm’s best series for this new article series I’m doing.
The Authority: Human on the Inside is one of those books. Written in September of 2004 by novelist John Ridley (Spoils of War) and artist Ben Oliver (that first amazing run on Batwing), the standalone comic centers on our favorite aggressive superpowered misanthropes going up against a villain that comes at them from an angle that they least expect, trying to take them out from the inside.Read More »