is a collection of issues from a comic book miniseries that details some
of the background of Jenny Sparks, founder of the superhero group The Authority,
and how she recruited its original members. It is not necessary to have
read any of the issues from the core series itself (or from its predecessor,
Stormwatch), but it is certainly helpful. The first few issues of The Authority
are collected in the volumes "Under New Management" and "Relentless".
In any case, the individual
tales show Jenny Sparks, who wields the power of electricity, encountering
certain critical superheroes (Apollo, the Midnighter, the Engineer, and
so forth) and convincing them in her unique way to join her group. Because
the ageless Ms. Sparks is the literal Spirit of the 20th Century, she was
born on January 1 of 1900 and knows she will die at the approach of the
new millenium. Her long lifespan and her key role in world history means
that she has been present at practically every critical event over the
past few decades and that she wields enormous power in the secret government
of the world (She arranges the election defeat of Gerald Ford because she's
angered at the Nixon pardon and makes sure that Reagan "will be taken care
There's a whole hidden history
of which we, the plebeian masses, remain unaware, complete with thwarted
alien invasions, secret bases, and contacts with parallel worlds, such
as Sliding Albion. Thankfully, swashbuckling heroes such as Hemingway
and Einstein are around to pitch in to help the lusty Ms. Sparks.
This is a glorious full-color
world that's chock full of gadgets, byzantine plots, improbable encounters,
thoroughly evil villains, buckets of blood, cigarettes, whisky, and sex.
The tales span several decades, and include an encounter with the occult-obsessed
Nazis (and a shoutout to a certain Indiana Jones) and a time-travelling
sentient city from the future that's come back to our era to destroy humanity
for religious reasons.
The irreverent and sloppily-dressed
Ms. Sparks hates practically all governments, and since the secret cabals
that rule the world are in some cases shown to engage in human sacrifice,
it's easy to see why. Primarily, she's out to have a good time, and to
kick a lot of butt.
Good stories and great fun,
and excellent artwork. A must-have for those who enjoy The Authority or