Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jenny Sparks: The Secret History of the Authority Review

Jenny Sparks: The Secret History of the Authority
DC Comics - Wildstorm
Softcover Trade Paperback
128 pages
ISBN 9781563897696

Contributors: Mark Millar, John McCrea, James Hodgkins, Ian Hannin, and introduction by Warren Ellis

Reprints: Jenny Sparks: The Secret History of the Authority #1-5 (of 5)

Synopsis: Jenny Sparks, spirit of the 20th century, is dead after sacrificing her life to save earth and mankind from utter destruction.  Now take a ride through her 100-year life as written in her private journal.  Get a glimpse into the secret origins of the original members of the Authority as Jenny's path crosses theirs throughout history. 
  • Between the demise of Stormwatch and the formation of the Authority, Jenny convinces the Doctor to stop shooting heroin, playing video games, to get off his couch, and become a super-bloke! 
  • While they were still underground, Apollo and the Midnighter get their bacon saved by Jenny when she comes out of retirement
  • We get to see the origin of Jack Hawksmoor as he is continually abducted and operated on by aliens to prepare for an invasion from the future.  Jenny leads a superhero army into battle with absurdly high casualties
  • Back in the 1940s Jenny battles Nazi's to secure a mystical egg thought to contain an amazing creature (Shen)
  • We get to see the origin of the Engineer as she helps Jenny in the past to stop an invasion from Sliding Albion
Pros: Millar adds in some funny historical references like Jenny being friends with Adolf Hitler when he was a starving artist, Einstein and Hemingway regularly going on science adventures with her, it's nice to get glimpses into the origins of various Authority members, Shen and Jenny have a lesbian tryst (word!), includes variant cover by Hitch

Cons: McCrea's art isn't particularly dramatic or as widescreen as Bryan Hitch from the regular series

Mike Tells It Straight: Millar was the worthy successor of original creator Ellis and pens a nice final tale for Jenny encompassing her storied past.  This one-off mini-series is enjoyable for Authority fans and I consider it an extended #0 issue.  You must have a rudimentary knowledge of the team to fully understand the book and I recommend reading it after Jenny's death in issue #12.  In true Jenny fashion you better be knackered and smoking a ciggie the whole time.

TO BUY and Recommendations: