ehlupton's review

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There's a lot going on here which is worthy of comment.

First of all, it's worth noting that this isn't just an Authority comic. It's sort of pan-universe (Wildstorm universe, if you care), so there's an Authority one, a "Sleeper" one, a "WildC.A.T.s Version 3.0", and one "Stormwatch: Team Achilles". I'm unfamiliar with Sleeper and Wildcats and I have only passing familiarity with Stormwatch (I read it up to the point where it spun off the Authority). So my opinion is coloured by that. You probably need some familiarity with the Authority to understand what's going on here.

I cannot for the life of me summarize this. A bloke named Tao manipulates the US Government into blowing up an alien ship, the fallout from which destroys Florida. In return, the Authority takes over the US Government, killing the President as a "peace offering" to members of the alien race (called "The Vigil"). And then, instead of holding elections, they decide to build a better world.

In some ways, this seems clear-cut enough: the government gets a lot of people killed needlessly, so get a better government. Patrick Kent (the US President, a poorly veiled Bush[1]) is a jerk, so why not get rid of him? I'm sure no liberal could claim they'd never had this fantasy. And yet the Authority's manipulation of the general public and the Vigil (to whom they show a doctored up tape) makes them no better than those they've deposed, especially when they seem to easily defeat the Vigil when they begin their (inevitable retaliatory) attack. Instead of either drawing a clear line between good and evil, or showing both sides as equally noble and the issue as gray, Morrison, Brubaker, et al, paint everyone as corrupt, which makes the whole thing less amusing.

Additionally, I can't help but feel that taking over the US is almost too small of a task for the Authority, who at one point killed god and who have previously taken on the governments of Russia, China, and Indonesia without instituting themselves as a junta. What makes the US more important than everyone else? There's lingering tensions from the old Stormwatch days, sure (the US doesn't like superheros much), but that hardly seems to make it more important than anyone else.

Partially because of how the comic industry works, there seems to be a lot of time spent doing BIG story arcs which bring various characters together and examine their interactions. Unfortunately, these rarely develop any of the ideas to the point which the reader would like, focusing on quantity over quality. Coup D'Etat is ultimately the same: an intriguing premise, a lot of waffling in the middle, and ultimately a let-down. When Midnighter says, "Well, now what?" at the end, I'm not really temped to rush out and get the next one in the series to keep reading.

Positives: a little Midnigher/Apollo snarkage (a very little), plus Apollo gets a few lines to prove he's more than a handsome, brainless blond. A fair amount of Jack (being kind of broody, another throwback to Stormwatch). The art in 3 of the 4 books is good (Portacio, I'm looking at you. What the hell happened?)

Negatives: Plot too small for the characters. Art in the last one is terrible. A lot of the panels and dialog boxes are laid out in a way suggesting the person who laid them out had never read a comic before. Definitely in need of a tighter editorial process.

[1] Poorly veiled enough that using the word "veiled" seems rather ironic, honestly.