Kev & The Authority

Today’s second post is about Garth Ennis and Glenn Fabry’s The Authority: More Kev and Garth Ennis and Carlos Ezquerra’s The Authority: The Magnificent Kev. If you like any of Ennis’ work or Britishism, you’ll be a sucker for Kev because it has a checklist of Ennis’ most common themes: nudity, gore, language, explicit sex, homophobic jokes, a plethora of slang (not sure why that’s a warning but it is), violence-a-palooza, and a mundane, every day kind of guy at the center of it all. Read at your own discretion.

Plot: Two different plots here, so I’ll split them in two, like I did for Henry & Glenn.

The Authority: Kev is about Kev’s first encounter with the Authority, where he kills them but then has to revive them and work with them in order to save the world from an alien invasion, and how the Midnighter, Apollo, Kev, and Kev’s merry band of blokes deal with the aftermath of said alien invasion.

The Magnificent Kev is about the Midnighter teaming up with Kev to fight a pie-dealing demon who has incapacitated the rest of the Authority.

Initial thoughts: You will have one of three reactions reading these books: 1) you will wish there was more Kev and less of the Authority because you’re a Garth Ennis fan, 2) you will wish there was less Kev and more of the Authority because you’re an Authority fan, or 3) you will enjoy it because you’re a fan of Garth Ennis and the Authority. I fall into that second category, but I read Garth Ennis not because I like him but because I know he’s a staple. These comics are unabashedly crude and vulgar compared to other Authority titles, but they’re still a good bit of fun if you’re a stereotypical, socially uncritical, cishet fan boy.

Okay, I’m a bit hard on the stereotypical, socially uncritical, cishet fan boys, but there is some cool stuff if you manage not bleach your brain before the end of the illustrious Kev run. While I enjoyed The Authority’s other titles, Scorched Earth, Human on the Inside, and of course the main StormWatch and The Authority titles, I decided to review this one because I think it’s pretty interesting how the stories are balanced between focusing on Kev’s backstory and focusing on the immediate plot at hand.

Itty Bitty Research: I’m not even where to start with this, to be frank. I’m definitely going to do a different post on everything The Authority related including a reading list for the Midnighter, so that leaves this post at an odd crossing. I mean, I really hate to say this, but it’s probably easier to write up a post about the New 52 Stormwatch than Kev.

Well, Kev deals with the British Army, which has had recent popularity through the likes of Kingsman: The Secret Service (which I just might read, come to think of it). Ennis’ character is hated and hunted by both the Irish Republican Army (IRA) the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) thanks to a mission he did up in Northern Ireland. As you ought to know, these paramilitary organizations have extremely strong opinions about the British – particularly English – presence in Northern Ireland. These organizations became famous in the 1970s due to extreme acts, but this is not particularly new in Irish-British history. While Ireland and Great Britain have generally had a stressful relationship, Ireland was a sovereign nation until 1800, when the country was brought into union with (or under, depending on what history you read) British rule until 1920. In 1920, an act was, well, enacted in order to separate the North and the South, with the South seceding from the United Kingdom and the North remaining as part of the United Kingdom, which remains the case to this day. You can read more about how the IRA figures into the contemporary day situation here.

The IRA and UDA are both considered Irish terrorist organizations, but they do not have the same agenda, as it is humorously pointed out in The Authority: The Magnificent Kev #1. The IRA is famously known as an anti-British and Irish nationalist organization, but the UDA is a Loyalist organization. In the issue, terms like “Prods/Fenians” and “Hun/Taig” are used. In context, Prods and Hun are derogatory words against Northern Irish people while Fenian and Taig are derogatory words against Southern Irish people. I’ve broken it down as such:

  • Prods is merely a shortening of the word “Protestant.” When the Protestant British occupied the Catholic Irish, they brought religion with them. To this day, Northern Ireland is Protestant and Southern Ireland is Catholic. It is used in this context as a slur.
  • Hun is another slur word that refers to Protestants. I’ve tried to find the origin of this word or why it came to be but have had little success. I’ve read that it might come from Hanover, Germany in the sense of that being the birthplace of Protestantism and also that Germans were likened to Huns in their barbarism and incivility, though both of these explanations are met with suspicion and doubt.
  • Fenians take the name from the Fionn Mac Cumhaill, a warrior in Irish mythology. This figure was chosen by the organizers of the Fenian Brotherhood, which were a separatist Irish group. (Fun fact: they have history with Canada.)
  • Taig is a common derogatory word used today to refer to a Catholic Irish person. There’s an interesting article about how this word operates in the USA here, which I think is relevant since I had never heard of this word. The word is apparently a corruption of a characteristically Irish name, similar to the shortening of Patrick as Paddy. However, this word is strictly used in a violent way and is perhaps the most derogatory of the bunch. By having UDA gunmen use this word, it separates their loyalist sense of being Irish people from nationalist Irish people.

Rating: 2.5/5 for Authority: More Kev and 1.6/5 for The Magnificent Kev

Works cited: Ennis, Garth, writer. The Authority: Kev. Art by Glenn Fabry. La Jolla, CA: WildStorm, 2005. Print.

—. The Authority: The Magnificent Kev. Art by Carlos Ezquerra. La Jolla, CA: WildStorm, 2006. Print.

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