The Authority: Coup D’état – Ed Brubaker, Joe Casey, Micah Wright, Robbie Morrison

Authority Coup DetatThe Authority has always been about pushing boundaries. About thinking bigger. But not even Millar and Ellis thought about deposing the United States government. An idea both genius and frightening.

This book is a series of one-shots from The Authority, Sleeper, Wildcats, and Stormwatch: Team Achilles that covers this event. If you are only into one series then your particular issue will do you just fine. If you want to know about the wider picture then they all add more detail to the plot. The big disappointment is Sleeper which only exists to kick things off. You don’t get any clues on who these characters are or any reason to want to know more about them. Such a waste of Brubaker’s talent.

The star of the show is actually the Wildcats issue. Even knowing nothing about this title the questions it raises and their response to the Authority’s action is the most intriguing. No one is backing down here. You have always followed the Authority as “the good guys,” or at least anti-heroes. Now this book cleverly makes you question that. How far is too far?

There are four different artists here and it is right they should stay true to their books. The differing styles, whilst interesting, do break up the flow. Rather than a unified whole this does serve to keep things separate with each title and its characters having a cameo of the week feel.

Thumbs Up!

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Stormwatch Team Achilles: Book Two – Micah Ian Wright

This is a very different animal from the previous volume. It is six stand alone stories that focus on a single or limited number of characters. These are good stories with one or two of them making for great Twilight Zone episodes. We get to learn more about our members and about the world around this new Stormwatch team.

But it doesn’t feel like the charged political arse-kicking of the first volume. Wright is a very good satirist and very politically aware. The screw-you is much more subtle. Throwaway dialogue, clothing choices, historical references are all clues to the bigger picture of our own world. It might be too clever or obscure for some readers but they are definitely there.

Each story has a different artist and you get to see a lot of impressive styles. The most outstanding is Tomm Coker on Winter War and 40 Winks. His panels are almost mono colour with depths of tone and saturation providing the details. All of the artists bring it and there is great work from everyone.

It does suffer a bit from this bold change of direction and fragmented storytelling. Flint from the previous Stormwatch run pops up and The Midnighter, out of costume, and looking and behaving nothing like his usual character which was weird. There is a shocking cliff-hanger and it is criminal that the scheduled third book was never released. Thumbs Up!

116/249.

Tomorrow: BONUS REVIEW Stormwatch Team Achilles: Book Three – Micah Ian Wright & Stormwatch Post Human Division: Volume One – Christos Gage

Stormwatch Team Achilles: Book One – Micah Ian Wright

There two schools of thought with fighting games. Firstly that you dutifully learn the combos, practice the moves and judiciously use your techniques. The other is that you mash all the buttons at once as fast as you can. That’s what happens here. And it appear to work.

A new Stormwatch is being put together with none of the original team (they are all off in the Authority and the Monarchy) and not using any super powered members either. It’s the A-Team or the Dirty Dozen taking down super-powered terrorists across the globe. There is no Skywatch HQ anymore and no Secret Security Council. This is down and dirty ass-kicking.

Stormwatch were due to move into the New York UN HQ but the building has been taken over by terrorists before becoming operational. The new team have to take back their building Die Hard style, literally bare handed. This is a great introduction scenario as all the new members are called in early to lend a hand and we get a chance to meet them as they arrive to the chaos. At the end of each issue there is an in-character dossier on each of the new members written by a vile US government spook so we get to know that person and are reassured that the familiar bad guys are still as rotten as ever.

The new Weatherman is completely badass and Ellis would be proud his legacy is in safe hands. There is a lot of political back-story and contemporary explanation about what is happening in the world today. There is an Authority crossover and whilst it doesn’t feel gratuitous you do get the feeling that if Stormwatch were crossing into an Authority book the results would be different.

There are some very likable characters. You wouldn’t want to meet any of them but you certainly can’t help smiling at their actions. There is a lot of dialogue but where possible it is used for character building rather than exposition. There is also some quirky narration that pops up to explain various items of military hardware and techniques that this non-super team uses.

The art just goes berserk. Every technique from unusual angles, striking colour palettes, unconventional panels, computer screens, mocked up dossiers, actual satellite photos, white backgrounds, crazy layouts, is here. There is a low light scene that instead of the usual murkiness changes the colour scheme to purple and green like some weird video effect. Once you get used to it, it’s very effective.

This is a long read both in the amount of pages and the amount of dialogue but it just feels like you are getting a lot of value for your money. This is good stuff. It is the Boys before the Boys was ever thought of. The new Weatherman is very Butcher. It is friendly to the new reader but you will definitely get more out of it if you have been following Stormwatch or the Authority. For throwing everything but the kitchen sink this gets a Double Thumbs Up!

115/250.

Tomorrow: Stormwatch Team Achilles: Book Two – Micah Ian Wright