Back in 2000, for those that don't know, Mark Millar made his mainstream splash with a run on THE AUTHORITY. He and Quitely took over from Ellis and Hitch with issue 13 and went ape shit crazy with the book...and that's saying something when the original 12 issues came from the mind of Ellis. Millar soon found his work being heavily edited, delayed due to feared sensitivies revolving around 9/11, and eventually shit just got confusing when, smack dab in the middle of his last arc, DC pressed the pause button and started running another arc by Tom Peyer.
I remember being confused and eventually stopped buying the title when it seemed that Millar's final arc wouldn't be finished. I mean, what the hell, right? Like two years later I found out that Millar's last arc picked back up and eventually finished, but it was now so far behind me that I didn't make an effort to hunt down the back issues.
DC collected Millar's 12-issue run in an Absolute volume recently and I immediately sacrificed a ridiculous amount of money for it so that I could finally finish the story, now presented in beautiful over-sized pages that REALLY make Quitely's art sing. God, am I glad I did. I started from the beginning as opposed to just picking up where I left off, of course, and I have to say--these comics are even better than I remembered them being.
Millar started a movement with his AUTHORITY run. The wide-screen, big action, cinematic feel that the majority of Marvel comics attempt to carry these days. While on the AUTHORITY, Millar was the comic book industry's "shock jock"...each issue topped the last in regards to all-out craziness and imagination. And characterization? Mmph, man...every member of the Authority seems so real you feel like a dipshit for believing ever so briefly in something so outlandish. It's a great feeling. Fun.
I love it, plain and simple.
Consider for a moment the third and final arc of Millar's run: "BRAVE NEW WORLD". This arc should be required reading for any comics writer as an example of how to prime your imagination to it's limits and push the envelope off the fucking table. A genetically-engineered nightmare of a hillbilly named Seth raids the Carrier and single handedly defeats every member of the Authority while recounting the fact that he has seven names, each of which are in honor of his seven hick-ass uncles that had their way with his mother on the night of his conception.
"Whaaaaaaaaaat?! Daaaaamn!" That's the kinda reaction you have throughout reading this book. To recount one more awesome scene, then I'll leave you alone, let's turn to how the Midnighter desperately tried to defeat Seth. In the Authority, "doors" are inter-dimensional pathways that can carry you any where on Earth as well as parallel universes. After Seth chases Midnighter through the carrier, Midnighter dissapears (with baby Jenny in tow, so you're rooting for him all the more) and starts jumping through "doors" one right after the other to make sure Seth can't track him. Seth communicates with his base as they try to get a bead on him when Midnighter finally goes idle at an air force base. Right when Seth ponders what he's up to...
Midnighter flies an enormous jet bomber through through a tiny "door" into the carrier and rams Seth out into deep space. Midnighter has two words: "Die, Motherfucker."
For God's sake, go buy this book and enjoy the hell out of it. Writers have a lesson to learn from this book. Artists, too--Quitely's work on this run is nothing short of spectacular.
In my opinion, it's probably Mark's finest work....and with ULTIMATES 2 so ridiculously good right now, you know that's gotta mean something.