illustration (c) Josť Villarrubia 2000 digital
illustration (c) Josť Villarrubia 2000
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Art by Chip Zdarsky. Copyright 2002.

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"Everybody wants to rule the world..."

Writer: Warren Ellis
Penciler: Phil Jimenez
Inker: Andy Lanning with Phil Jimenez
Colorist: Laura DePuy
Letterer: Ryan Cline
45page Prestige Format
Original Graphic Novel
Published by DC/Wildstorm 2000

Reviewed by Scott J Grunewald

THE AUTHORITY was Warren Ellisí answer to JLA or the X-Men. A super team made up of heroes unwilling to only go half way, but rather ready to take off the spandex and capes and do some real good. THE AUTHORITY are not your fathers superheroes, they are pissed off and eager to change things for the better. Essentially, Ellis created a new breed of superheroes, one unwilling to simply fight crime, but ready to kill it (and I donít use the term Ďkillí lightly) at itís roots.

In the regular bi-monthly PLANETARY series, creator Warren Ellis dissects and examines the pop culture genreís that permeate the literary world. Ellisí skilled hand has already tackled super spies, pulp icons and b-movie starlets. He freely takes other authors work and boils it down to itís core, leaving the best facets in place to tell his greater story.

But in the prestige format RULING THE WORLD, Ellis turns his literary microscope on himself. A monster from Snowís past wakes up in a small Rhode Island town and promptly starts eating people. THE AUTHORITY, Jenny Sparks, Jack Hawksmoore, The Engineer, The Doctor, Swift, Apollo and the Midnighter are, of course, there to smoosh the monster.

But thatís only half the job, the hidden threesome, Jakita Wagner, Elijah Snow and the Drummer, known as PLANETARY find out that the monster didnít just land in Rhode Island, it was send there by some very familiar super powered individuals.

Ellisí archeologists of secrets decide that the AUTHORITY has a past that PLANETARY should know about. What they find is quite frankly the obvious; The AUTHORITY are really quite scary.

Think about it, a 100 year old drunk, a man who eats the pollution created by cities, a drug addicted, marginally sane ex-video game mogul, a techno fetishist, a bird woman, and Jesse Helms worst nightmare, two big, bad ass-kicking gay men are running around the world telling us what is and is not okay. Sure, they protect earth and all the people who live here. Yes, they are doing what they can to help us any way they can. But the fact remains that even if we disagreed with them, we couldnít stop them.

Yes, I'm aware that itís just a comic, and that in the real world, real men are incapable of punching through heads. But the message is a solid one. He who rules the world really is the strongest. It has nothing to do with brains or skills; itís who hits the hardest.

THE AUTHORITY hit the hardest, and the world should be lucky that they are on the good side. But what happens when they fall out of favor? What happens when they go to far, whoís there to tell them to cool it?

Of course these questions never get answered or directly raised in RULING THE WORLD, only implied. But I think thatís what makes this graphic novel so good. Ellis gives us a solid, interesting and typical AUTHORITY kill the big bad monster things story within PLANETARYíS quiet examination of the world around it. He mixes the best of both books together seamlessly, and, if you can believe it, there was no good guy versus the other good guy mistaken identity fight. Will superhero comics ever be the same? God I hope not.


Scott J Grunewald is publisher of PopImage

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