After five issues of bleakness, things are starting to look up for Wildstorm’s apocalypse survivors, with combining the Authority and Stormwatch’s forces bearing fruit far sooner than expected. It’s an interesting and plausible tale, which might perhaps have benefited from a more leisurely pace. The story feels like an entire arc compressed into a single issue- the spectacle is impressive, but at times it feels like more narration than storytelling.
To the writers’ credit, the arrival of the Post Human World strikeforce’s arrival feels more like an inevitable consequence of the World’s End setting than an artificial money-spinning event, and Wildstorm should be commended for not taking over the cover to promote the teams’ meeting. The two causes for concern are the pace of the tale and the partial abandonment of the novel aspects of the book’s concept. It’s too early to make a call on the latter, but part of the appeal of the Authority compared to the other World’s End titles was the more limited resources that the team had at their disposal. The former, however, is more of a concern. It’s still unclear whether the partial resurrection of the Carrier at this stage was part of the long-term plan for the book or is an accelerating of the story, but the compression of events is detrimental to the title. There’s only room for one character moment, with King’s attempt at a rousing speech falling flat as he underestimates the changes that have occurred in his audience. The conclusion of the issue is slightly contrived, but provides a good microcosm for the events documented.
The most impressive aspect of the book remains its organic structure. Instead of being clearly split into arcs, the story follows the flow of everyday life. The Rendlesham/ Sliding Albion story which looked set to provide the next big plot element is instead kept simmering, until events next cause it to cross paths with the main characters. The writers’ superb work with the title to date should inspire confidence, but it’s hard not to be a little uneasy at the dismissal of some of the elements that made the book unique.