‘blockbuster movie’ of comics reaches a denouement.
Artists: Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary
Colorist: Laura Depuy
Letterer: Ryan Cline
Four issue story arc
Published by DC Wildstorm 1999-2000
by Brandon Blatcher
is not pleased. But can you blame him/her/it/whatever? It creates
the solar system, takes the third planet as its home, then goes
off on a scenic tour of the rest of the universe, and returns to
find its home overrun with six billion humans. Naturally, the first
thing it wants to do is wipe out that pesky infection before settling
said infection is protected, by a small group of super infections
that don't take any crap from anyone. Not even god.
to 'Outer Dark', a four issue story arc of THE AUTHORITY
marking the final run of Warren Ellis, Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary and
Laura Depuy on the book. THE AUTHORITY is a loose continuation
of the defunct series STORMWATCH, an eponymous team of multinational
superheros. You need not have read the former to appreciate the
latter, though it wouldn't hurt.
various reasons, Stormwatch was shut down by the United Nations.
Jenny Sparks, a member, felt a global super team was still needed
- so she gathered several superheroes (some previously in Stormwatch)
into a new team called The Authority. The team is composed of seven
members, with Jenny as their leader, and their mandate is to deal
with global problems.
series has been called the comics equivalent of a big budget
people looking after all of Earth? No big deal. They have plenty
of superpower, a thirty-five by fifty mile spaceship fueled by a
baby universe as their base of operations, and plenty of attitude.
And if this is all starting to sound far fetched, then good. Ellis
deliberately sets up a larger than life premise, then proceeds to
have a hell of a good time with it.
Dark' isn't anything new. It's the same old earth-threatened-by-overwhelming-force-and-only-a-small-band-of-superheros-can
-save-it scenario. So why read it? Because of the way it's done.
The series has been called the comics equivalent of a big budget
motion picture, and with good reason. Everything is on a huge scale.
Hitch and Neary create large, wide panels that capture the enormity
of the battles, and Depuy's colors lend emotional impact.
of the great things about the story is the way the entire creative
team complement each other. It's hard to imagine Ellis's stripped
down, fun script without the art of Hitch, Neary and Depuy. Each
part shines, but doesn't overpower the other pieces, resulting in
one of the better superhero stories I've ever read. The Outer Dark
isn't perfect, but it is great simply because it doesn't
try to be anything other than the fantastic adventure it is.
characters are aware of the fantastic nature of their adventure,
and revel in it."
great touch is that the characters are aware of the fantastic nature
of their adventure, and revel in it. As one female member blasts
off from Earth to join another member on the moon, she laughs and
mentions how much she loves that she can do things like this. Later,
she takes a moment to walk on the moon and marvel at the fact that
she can do so under her own power. It's great stuff and ads a sense
of wonder to the story, while breaking up a tense moment and adding
a touch of humanity to the characters.
this is a four issue arc of a larger, ongoing series, I was left
with some questions about exactly who the characters were and what
powers did they have. Most of it was self evident, and regular readers
won't be in the dark, but new readers may be slightly confused.
It's not a major roadblock, but it should be noted.
actual ending however, which is never really in doubt, feels rushed
and is a let down. The final page is a cliche, and brings home just
how much of the story is as well. The lack of much characterization
and the action-oriented nature of the story makes for quick reading,
so if you're expecting a long, thoughtful work, look elsewhere.
problems don't really matter though. 'The Outer Dark' is still a
good story and well worth the money.
Blatcher is a regular contributor to PopImage.
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