Grant Morrison’s Superman and the Authority #4 Face Off Against Ultra-Humanite


DC’s Superman and the Authority #4 brings Morrison and Janin’s enthralling Superman tale to a close with a ragtag group of anti-heroes.

Superman, aka the Man of Tomorrow, is known for being a shining beacon of hope for humanity. But what happens when the man himself may never live to see tomorrow? Superman and the Authority explores this very idea, showcasing a Superman with waning power who decides to form a new team that will get things done without tedious morality debates. After recruiting a slew of heroes, anti-heroes, and villains, Superman and his team take on the thorn in the Man of Steel’s side. Created by multiple Eisner award-winning DC Comics veteran Grant Morrison and the talented Mikel Janin, Superman and the Authority #4 draws the Man of Steel’s thrilling venture to a close.

Superman and the Authority #4 starts with the Ultra-Humanite ambushing Superman in the Fortress of Solitude and taking him to a Kryptonite lab in the bottle city of Kandor. By deleting Superman’s memories and replacing them with his, Ultra-Humanite hopes to take over his body. Meanwhile, Manchester Black, Midnighter, and Steel have their troubles to deal with at the Dubai – G7 Climate Change summit, where supervillains are wreaking havoc. In West Hollywood, Apollo gets into a fight with Lightray’s friend O.M.A.C. as the latter thinks Apollo is behind Lightray’s abduction — until the silhouette of the sinister Eclipso appears.

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Superman and Ultra-Humanite in Superman and the Authority #4

Morrison’s task in this final issue is twofold: to tell the story the way he wanted and to end on a high note. He accomplishes both goals with ease. Even though there are multiple parallel narratives running, Morrison concludes each storyline well before moving on to the next. The issue shows how even with his constant depowering, Superman is always one step ahead of his enemies and puts a stop to their schemes with meticulous planning and execution. The various comedic exchanges and witty quips between characters make this finale an overall enjoyable read.

Janin’s art was one of the high points of Tom King’s run of Batman, and his artwork has only gotten better since then. Every pose, every expressive close-up, and every punch in Superman and the Authority #4 has an appropriate weight to it. The hand-to-hand fights are drawn exceptionally well and feel dynamic in expansive layouts. Another Eisner awardee on the team, colorist Jordie Bellaire uses an array of vibrant colors to give depth to Janin’s art against a muted background. Bellaire’s colors give a splash of gloss over the artwork, reminding readers of the hyperreal world of the superheroes. One of the issue’s best pieces of artwork comes near its end, showcasing the West Hollywood skyline at night lit with a thousand lights.

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Midnighter and Fleur in Superman and the Authority #4

As the team spreads out and fights their battles in different locales and within multiple narratives, it takes time for the issue to build up to its big finale. The events of Superman and the Authority‘s final issue is the ultimate test for the team — a baptism by fire — and the story delivers on this promise. The creative team of this series not only delivers a self-contained, action-packed story but also hooks the reader in with more mysteries for Superman to explore.

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