The Authority
Harsh Realities

Author: Robbie Morrison
Artists: Dwayne Turner and Tan Eng Huat
Titan Books
RRP: £11.99
ISBN 1 84023 853 4
Available 21 May 2004

The Authority's reputation has grown throughout the multiverse; their exploits are legendary in many circles - and loathed in most. Here, the Authority find themselves up to their necks in trouble - from a vast world where the biggest gamble of all is the survival of the planet Earth, to a multiversal corporation bent on exploiting the lower realities... like ours! Even when their adversary is a less-than-global threat, they're forced to confront their inner demons. And it's just the beginning for a team coping with notoriety while attempting to maintain a semblance of normality in their lives...

The Authority is a bit of an acquired taste. Harsh Realities is not really the collection to start with if you are unfamiliar with the characters. However, if you know this series then you'll find it to be a fantastic collection.

There are three stories collected here, High Stakes, Reality Incorporated and Behemoth. Reality Incorporated is the main story, and sees The Authority hot on the heels of an organisation that has acquired dozens of worlds throughout the multiverse, terraforming them for industrial exploitation as well as creating pleasure worlds

The final story, Behemoth - illustrated by Tan Eng Huat, pays homage to Akira. This is probably the easiest story to digest if you are unfamiliar with the series.

This is an interesting mix of stories, which helps to keep the book from being a little too stale. The problem with The Authority in general is that because we are dealing with a multiverse the rules that govern our universe don't always apply. This means that the writer doesn't really ever paint themselves into a corner, because they can open up a doorway to another universe and everything can be solved. This ultimately means that the readers will often feel cheated, or be scratching their head wondering which universe they are currently in.

If you are not already a fan, then you'd be better off picking up one of the earlier collections first. However, if you are a fan then you'll find that there is plenty to keep you occupied for a lazy afternoon.

Ray Thompson

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