Once, the traditional heroes and systems of law and order failed one of the DC Universe’s greatest heroes. He formed a team to operate out of those systems and proactively save the world. It’s actually happened several times before, but Superman & The Authority #1 shows us how that concept can be so much more.
This is more than Superman’s version of the Outsiders, but it’s also much more than the Authority. It’s a trippy first issue, and a brilliant new addition to the DCU. It comes from Grant Morrison, Mikel Janin, Jordie Bellaire, and Steve Wands.
Superman is losing his power, perhaps even dying. That means that to continue his work, he may need more than himself. He may need a team. Thankfully, he can start with Manchester Black … that is, if he survives recruiting him.
Morrison takes a relatively simple pair of concepts — “what if Superman formed the Outsiders?” and “who would be the members of a Earth-1 Authority?” — and mashes them together into a wholly new take on this idea. In the past, the Authority was a group of violent authoritarians, but they move past that quickly here. This is a team that will operate outside the law, but for the greater benefit of all mankind; a team whose alignment is neutral good when brought all together.
Even better, Morrison does it as both a great action story and a fascinating sci-fi tale, which Janin brings to life. The story evokes the feel of their JLA and All-Star Superman without directly referencing either. The Superman here is tired and struggling, but he still needs to change the world for the better. It’s a great story for the Man of Steel.
Janin and Bellaire’s work just looks great. Janin designs are gorgeous, showing a new side to Superman. His layouts create a feeling of awe and push the action along at an exciting pace. Bellaire’s colors are great, creating specific moods with each scene and using cold palettes to make the clinical sci-fi stand out.
Best of all, this is a vehicle for this creative team to do some interesting things. It is a new sort of Superman story — gathering a team around him that isn’t the JLA. It allows Morrison to question social and societal norms, and create a Superman who is not just above that, but seeks to push society itself into a state of “better.” It’s also a hell of a fun playground for some trippy, sci-fi fun and superhero action.
From this beginning there are some exciting things set up here, and I’m very excited to see where it goes.
Superman & The Authority #1 is available now from DC Comics.
Superman faces his mortality as the world needs more heroes. It’s full of great ideas, cool designs and a lot of promise that’s well worth picking up.