Rating - 3: worth reading once (borrow it from a library)
More awesome but less good than the previous book.
This volume collects The Authority, issues 9 through 16. The Ellis era concludes when the Earth's creator comes back to clean the place out. Mark Millar's run begins with the battle for Jenny Quantum and the political leadership of the world's nations, fighting against stand-ins for Marvel superheroes.
Structurally, the volumes would have been better split at issue 12. That would have brought all the Warren Ellis issues and Jenny Sparks arcs together. I presume there is some publishing reason to favor 6- or 8-issue collections rather than 12-, but as a reader, 4 or 12 issues would be better in this case. Even for those who do not care about when a writer leaves a comic, there is a clear break in the middle of this volume.
The pacing is right. I complained about that in the first volume, how events were insufficiently decompressed because massive battles were being resolved in single frames or mostly off-page and inferred. The assault on London was good pacing, but the rest of that volume was a bit rushed. This volume gives events time to unfold. Events remain a bit abrupt when the battle moves inside God (not spoiling that further, even if it is already well-known).
The last Ellis arc makes you love The Engineer. Her joie de vivre is uplifting. The first Millar arc starts giving Swift more of a role and personality, having her take over as the team's moral compass (such as it is) and making her more important as Shen (the person) than Swift (the hero). Which makes sense, given how very much she is not one of the team's big guns.
Both arcs in this volume share a problem with conveniently changing power levels. Maybe Jenny Sparks was building up that charge for a while, so we'll give her the epic conclusion. Apollo continues to be the major violator here, with him variably being knocked out in one-shot and then coming back to take out the guy that one-shot him, his entire team, and two other teams, all at once and without running low on power. There is the convenient mechanic of his being solar-powered, so you can always say he had a low charge, but given the difference it makes and how often this comes up, he should not be hanging out with a low charge. Midnighter ranges from "pretty badass" to "successfully fights all the X-Men at once." And The Doctor can somehow be turned off (?!).
On a plot hole/fridge logic note, that bit about The Doctor becomes relevant when he cannot get back to the ship. The ship lets them open doors anywhere on Earth. What, did he open his door a block away from where he wanted to be, walk the rest of the way, then walk back instead of opening a new door there? Bad call; even if he was high at the time, the rest of the team remains coherent.
The evil Avengers are well done. They are ridiculously over the top yet not entirely without subtlety or nuance. They are coarse, crude, cruel, and even more complete monsters than The Authority, which creates a necessary contrast. Their leader is amusingly cranky.
I note that we started each Ellis arc with the villain engaging in some violent atrocity. It sets the stage. The first Millar arc opened with The Authority slaughtering people. Granted, they were the bad guy's military, but it sets a different tone. Also, as with the end of the previous arc, they are clearly no threat to The Authority; if The Authority wants to take down the evil leader, they can teleport past the nation's military or just ignore incoming attacks that they can trivially deflect or dodge.
This volume takes seriously the notion of making the world a better place, not just defending against super-powered threats. "A better place" might vary by the author, but The Authority is getting involved in political affairs. This will bear greater fruit in future volumes.
Finally, we see a bit of their having personal lives. The Authority do not have secret identities, although Angie apparently has an apartment in New York still. Instead, they have their own flying, inter-dimensional city, and they have huge parties. That is one way of keeping things on a grand scale.
Concerning Frank Quitely's art, I rather like the design of the re-done Marvel heroes. That must have been fun to make them different but recognizable.