Action Comics #775

Posted: Tuesday, January 30
By: Craig Lemon
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Writer: Joe Kelly
Artists: Mahnke/Bermejo (p), six other guys (i)

Publisher: DC

Plot: It's Superman vs the Authority, sorry, I mean the Elite.

Well, here's another issue number divisible by twenty-five, so must be time for another double-sized spectacular. This is a self-contained story, about what would happen if the Authority gate-crashed Superman's world, and started righting wrongs permanently in the way that only they can (i.e. by killing all the "baddies").

Of course, this really gets Supe's goat - you can't possibly kill people, you have to bring them in for trial - and it all leads up to one huge confrontation, where one side is defeated and one side emerges victorious. Who do you think wins?

Although on the face of it this is a reasonably entertaining story, how the Authority-clone Elite act and their powers are just an amalgam of the current ream, the fact of the matter is that Superman would really get wiped out by these people. Everyone recognises it throughout the issue, the sheer power levels of the Elite can tear moon's asunder, Supes can in no way stand up to this. But, of course, he does, and we're supposed to cheer the good guys and realise that cheering the Authority is a bad thing.

The problem is that this reads like a religious fanatic's diatribe against sin - ignoring all semblance of coherence or reality, the end point has been determined and if it requires an unreasonable stretch of logic, or twisting of the facts, or unrealistic set of situations to get there, then who cares? The irony is that Supes accuses the Elite of saying the ends justify the means, when you could accuse the creators of this issue of the same thing.

However, if you're a Supes fan, you'll probably be wearing a big grin on your face: "that's answers all those questions on whether Superman can take down the Authority", but, with all due respect, that's crap. Before you accuse me of bias towards the Authority, I'll just state for the record that's I've been dissatisfied with recent issues of that title, as my reviews have stated, once you've gone over the top, then to top that do you have to go over the over the top? And where does it stop? The Authority was a good idea for a limited series, maybe the first 12 (or 16 at a push) issues tell a good, albeit escalating story. But then they should've stopped.

Superman is starting to look like Judge Dredd in 2000AD - stories based on parodies of other stories, rather than stories driven by the main character. DC should've nipped this in the bud - christ, they own Wildstorm, so putting together a kosher cross-over with the Authority would hardly be difficult, rather than the cheap knock-offs and knock-abouts seen in this issue.

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