is a superhero comic book
published by DC Comics
under the Wildstorm
imprint. It was created by Warren Ellis
and Bryan Hitch
, and follows the adventures of the Authority, a superhero team mainly composed of Ellis-created characters taken from Stormwatch
- a title Ellis had previously written.
It is notable for its intense graphic violence, grand scale and visual flair, often described as "widescreen" comics, and the uncompromising attitudes of its characters.
The founding members of the Authority are
- Jenny Sparks, the Spirit of the Twentieth Century, the group's founder and original leader
- Apollo, "the Sun God"
- Midnighter, "Night's Bringer of War"
- Jeroen Thorndike, the Doctor (initially thought to be the second Doctor, he was subsequently shown to be the latest in a long line)
- Angela Spica, the second Engineer
- Jack Hawksmoor, "King of Cities", leader of the Authority 2000-2005, and
- Shen Li-Min, a.k.a. Swift.
Following the "Outer Dark" story arc (see below), Jenny Sparks is replaced with
- Jenny Quantum, the Spirit of the Twenty-First Century, Authority leader 2005 to present.
After "The Eternal Return" (again, see below), new members of the Authority are
The Authority's base of operations is the Carrier, a gigantic interdimensional "shiftship" existing everywhere on Earth at the same time and capable of moving through every imaginable plane of existence. Usually referred to as a female, the Carrier is in fact sentient and could be considered an additional member of the team.
The Circle (The Authority #1-4)
The Authority make their first public appearance to stop Kaizen Gamorra
, an old enemy of Stormwatch
, who wants to take advantage of Stormwatch's breakup to take revenge upon the world. To do this he uses engineered supersoldiers to destroy first Moscow
and then part of London
. The Authority manage to stop the attack on London, then predict the third and final attack in Los Angeles
in time to avert it. Midnighter uses the Carrier
to destroy the superhuman clone factory on Gamorra's island.
The Authority have to stop an invasion by a parallel Earth, specifically a parallel Britain called Sliding Albion
. As it turns out, Jenny Sparks has met them before when their shiftships first appeared in 1920. Sliding Albion is a world where open contact between aliens (the blues) and humans during the 16th century led to interbreeding and an imperialist culture similar to the Victorian British Empire
. After the Authority repel the initial wave of attacks, Jenny takes the Carrier to the Sliding Albion universe where she has the Doctor destroy Italy and what's left of the blues' regime along with it. In an all-frequencies message, she tells the people to take advantage of the second chance and "We are the Authority. Behave."
It is during this arc that Apollo and Midnighter's relationship is revealed, though it had been hinted at before.
The Outer Dark (#9-12)
During the closing days of 1999, strange alien creatures begin building unknown structures in Africa and on the Moon. This prompts the previous Doctors to reveal to the current Doctor a vital secret: the original creator of Earth, the closest thing to the concept of "God" that exists, has returned from a grand tour of the universe to find humanity as an unwanted infestation in its "retirement home". Thus "God" is terraforming Earth to be habitable for itself (and uninhabitable for humans) in time for the arrival of its person, which is an immense pyramid-shaped object the size of the Moon.
The Engineer convinces the Carrier to leave Earth orbit. The Authority pilot the Carrier into the approaching "God" through a pore and manage to navigate to its brain. On the route they encounter the being's immune system as well as a civilization that has evolved from parasites over billions of years. During the closing minutes of December 31st, 1999, Jenny Sparks carries out her final act as the Spirit of the Twentieth Century, electrocuting the ship's brain to death before dying in Jack Hawksmoor's arms.
The Nativity (#13-16)
Now under Jack Hawksmoor's leadership, the Authority try but fail to capture Jenny Quantum, the newborn Spirit of the Twenty-First Century, already proven to be more powerful than Sparks ever was. Instead, she is taken by a superhero-creating mastermind, Dr. Jacob Krigstein, who wants Jenny so he can shape the next century through her. Swift cuts a deal for custody of Jenny with Krigstein, who is granted lab space aboard the Carrier, and the chance to exercise his imagination reforming the dictatorships the Authority overthrows.
The character of Jacob Krigstein, an imaginative genius who "dreams up" superheroes by the dozen for the American government, is based on that of Jack Kirby, who created many Golden and Silver Age comic book characters. Krigstein's army of superheroes contains analogues of many key characters from the Marvel Universe, such as the Americans, who are an Avengers analogue, consisting of Commander (Captain America), Tank Man (Iron Man), Storm-God (Thor), Hornet (Wasp) and Titan (Giant Man).
Earth Inferno (#17-20)
The Authority face the Earth itself, which is about to catastrophically reverse its magnetic poles, spurred on to do so by a former Doctor who was stripped of his powers when he went renegade. In exchange for one hour's worth of full power from the current Doctor, the renegade agrees to save humanity. With no other options, the Authority evacuate the entire population of Earth to alternate Earths, then agree to the exchange. The renegade takes on and almost completely destroys the Authority with his new power before the full scope of his powers and experience catches up to him, and he is overwhelmed with empathy for all the living creatures left on Earth. Apollo and the Engineer kill him and the Earth's population returns home, some thrilled by their adventures.
All Tomorrow's Parties (#21)
and Christine Trelane
attend a party on the Carrier. This issue acts as a prologue to the Monarchy
Brave New World (#22, 27-29)
Tired with the Authority's interference with the activities of their governments, the G7 nations decide to replace them with a group more subject to their interests. They send their secret weapon, an American hillbilly named Seth whom they turned into a monstrous superhuman stated to have over a thousand super powers, to attack the Authority. Seth neutralizes all of the Authority except for Midnighter, who manages to escape with baby Jenny.
Transfer Of Power (#23-26)
(Note: due to fill-in scheduling, this arc was published and takes place during "Brave New World".)
The ideals of the original Authority give way to the unprincipled new team, who work directly for the G7 nations, do not question orders, and have all they can wish for. The new team (see the characters section below) possess the same powers and/or distinctive appearances as the original team, and most take variations of their names. The electrically-powered, Union Flag-clad Colonel (Britain) is patterned after Jenny Sparks, Swift is replaced with Rush (Canada), the Doctor is replaced with the Surgeon (France), Engineer is replaced with the Machine (Japan), Apollo is replaced with Teuton (Germany), Midnighter is replaced with Last Call (Italy), and Hawksmoor is replaced with Street (USA). See "Other members of the Authority," below, for more detailed descriptions of the characters.
On their first ride in the Carrier, the new team discover thousands of refugees whom the previous Authority had been sheltering onboard the ship, some of them still alive. They dump them out into a realm called Re-Space, only to discover to their cost that Re-Space allows people to re-imagine their world - the refugees take the G7 leaders' wealth as their own, attack the Carrier and reimagine the Authority, transforming the newcomers into the original team. But Last Call's homophobia surges up when the re-imagined Apollo touches him; they break free and return the Earth to the way it was before.
"Brave New World" continues with the previous members of the Authority having been mind-wiped and forced into humiliating new lives. Midnighter, the only one to have escaped, infiltrates the Carrier. He frees his imprisoned lover Apollo and between them they kill the rest of the new Authority, leaving only Seth to deal with. At a G7 reunion, Swift finds herself freed from her mind control due to the death of Machine just in time to find out about Seth's "off-button" code phrase. The original Authority regroup but Seth again takes them all down, leaving only baby Jenny - who speaks aloud the code phrase and turns Seth back into an easily-defeated human.
The story, and the first volume of The Authority, close with Apollo and Midnighter marrying, and adopting baby Jenny.
High Stakes (The Authority v2 #0)
The Authority battle an invasion from Viceworld, a world-sized casino and pleasure complex catering to people across the multiverse, whose owner started the invasion so people could bet on whether or not the Authority would be able to stop it.
Reality Incorporated (#1-4)
The Authority battle an attack by inter-dimensional suicide bombers in Chicago. After all of but one of the bombers is destroyed, the last has a change of heart and surrenders. The US Army tries (and fails) to arrest the Authority afterwards, because the US government now considers it a hostile power.
On the Carrier the bomber reveals that the responsible party is Reality Incorporated, a multiversal corporation with what amount to multi-billion dollar interests in 36 parallel universes, which terraforms inhabited planets into vast resources of fossil fuel to sell across the multiverse. A meeting with Wade Walker, representative of Reality Inc., confirms that they wipe out or enslave civilisations during this process, and they intend to do the same to the Authority's Earth. After a hard battle, the Authority is able to destroy Reality Inc.'s all-out fleet attack just as it enters Earth space, thanks to the sacrifice of the surviving suicide bomber.
The Engineer tells young Jenny Quantum a sanitized version of how they confronted a giant monster who was attacking Kuala Lumpur
. The monster was a nine-year-old boy whose latent powers were activated by a confrontation with his abusive father. The Doctor, in an action he's not proud of, was forced to assume the form of the boy's father to threaten him into submission, leaving the boy in a vegetative state.
John Clay, a former actor and active metahuman, has begun infecting members of the public with a highly contagious psychic virus which causes utter devotion to himself, and channels a portion of the infected's energies into him, turning him into a physical metahuman of the highest order. Members of the Authority struggle in vain to avoid "the transcendence," with only Apollo, Swift and the Engineer left active. However, Midnighter actively fights the change, and the Doctor, although infected, uses his link to the former Doctors and the Garden of Ancestral Memory to free himself, allowing him to psychically hijack Clay's psionic control network and invert it. Enormous, the Doctor plucks the beaten Clay up, and swallows him.
At the end of this arc the Doctor creates the Church of the Shaman, seeking to provide a religious alternative for many of those who had felt disillusioned by conventional religions in the wake of Clay's cult.
Coup d'État (4-issue miniseries)
"Coup d'État" was the Wildstorm crossover event that placed the Authority as the sole governing body of the United States and explored the reactions of the protagonists of other Wildstorm comics: WildCats
, Stormwatch: Team Achilles
, and Sleeper
The United States government obtains an engine that can go through the Bleed, giving them the opportunity to explore, and exploit, other worlds. Although they have been warned by the Authority, the government launches the engine without knowing what will happen next. That ignorance results in the engine creating a rip in the Bleed and the partial destruction of a shiftship parked on the "other side" at the time, which then falls on and completely destroys the state of Florida, leading to millions of deaths and bringing Earth to the brink of inter-dimensional war with the rest of the ship's passengers' species. After discovering the responsible party, the Authority stages a bloodless coup and successfully takes control of the United States.
Fractured World (The Authority 10-13)
Reality appears to be tearing apart at the seams as dozens of holes open up into the Bleed, bringing either natural disaster or villainous parallel-world metahumans through into the Wildstorm Universe
. The Authority are confounded and all but ineffective. At the same time, they face a legal claim to right of child custody from a woman claiming to be the mother of Jenny Quantum. Since the DNA test by the Engineer produces a confirmed match, the woman is allowed on board the Carrier to see her daughter. It is revealed that the woman is in fact Jenny Quantum's twin sister
, Jenny Fractal, raised by Chinese authorities into a killing machine, hating all life and Quantum in particular, and that she is the one responsible for the Bleed fractures.
In the ensuing fight, Quantum is killed. The only solution that can be found is for Midnighter to go back in time to the maternity ward where the Jenny twins were held - knowing instinctively which one is his daughter, he kills Fractal in her sleep. In the present, Fractal's body drops dead, allowing Quantum's spirit to inhabit it, taking her twin's body as her own.
Street Life (#14)
A short story that covers Jack Hawksmoor's past and his personal vendetta for the killing of an old love.
The Eternal Return (The Authority: Revolution #1-12)
The Authority are plagued by a group of old superhumans called the Sons of Liberty, consisting of old patriotic superheroes from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. They rally American citizens discontented with the Authority's take-over of the US government, and lead a series of riots across the nation, answering to a mysterious man in a hood who operates his own Carrier and has an entire alien race under his control.
While the team struggle to control this threat, the Midnighter receives an unsettling visit from an aged Apollo, who claims to have travelled from the future. He shows Midnighter a future in which Authority rule has reduced the world to a totalitarian dictatorship, and in which Midnighter himself has become a brain-damaged despot. Apollo tells Midnighter this future can be avoided only if he breaks up the Authority.
Soon the leader of the Sons of Liberty, a hero codenamed Paul Revere, challenges the Authority to face him and his comrades on the White House lawn. In the ensuing battle, during which one of the combatants, a nuclear-powered member of the Sons of Liberty, becomes unstable. The resultant explosion destroys the White House, and much of Washington, D.C. Ashamed by their failure, the Authority resign as rulers of the United States, and disband. The Doctor dismantles his Church of the Shaman. At the end of the fifth chapter, the mysterious man in the hood is revealed to be ex-Weatherman Henry Bendix himself, who then takes over the United States in the Authority's absence.
Three years pass and much has changed in the Wildstorm Universe. Jack Hawksmoor and the Engineer have taken the Carrier for themselves and travel through the multiverse for pleasure. The Midnighter battles crime all over the world, leaving Apollo to look after their adopted daughter, Jenny Quantum. Swift has retired to a Buddhist monastery in Tibet. Tragically, the Doctor has apparently died from a drug overdose.
While visiting the Doctor's grave, Jenny Quantum, now eight years old, decides to travel to the Garden of Ancestral Memory where all the previous Doctors went when they died. She learns that Jeroen is not there and never has been.
Back at her home, Jenny is visited by a future version of herself who brings her to the Infinite City - a dimension housing past Jennies, comparable to the Garden of Ancestral Memory. There Jenny Sparks, realising that Bendix has been manipulating the team, advises her to reunite the Authority to fight him. Jenny Quantum then returns home, causing herself to advance to age 14 - realising she needs to grow up to handle the looming threat. She sets about reuniting the Authority, who agree under her leadership to go after Bendix.
Meanwhile, Henry Bendix reveals how he overthrew the Authority to the newly reincarnated Rose Tattoo, the Spirit of Murder. Bendix used Rose to seduce and murder the Doctor and capture his soul, which Bendix used as a compass to locate the new Doctor: a teenaged Palestinian suicide bomber named Habib Ben Hassan. Bendix then captured Habib and imprisoned him in a cell on his Carrier where the boy was cut off from his powers. Soon after this revelation Jenny succeeds in freeing both Doctors, returning them to Earth.
Bendix then reveals himself to the Authority, appearing on their Carrier with Rose Tattoo and a legion of his alien followers. They fight and Bendix uses mind-control to turn the Midnighter against his allies. But Jenny Quantum and the Engineer are able to free the Midnighter from Bendix's control, and then bring the fight back to him. With the element of surprise on their side they are able to win and free the world from Bendix's fascist control.
Habib is able to turn Rose Tattoo to the side of the angels, making her the Spirit of Life instead of the Spirit of Murder, and Jenny Quantum decides to let her join the team. The volume ends at a party Jenny has arranged between the past Jennies and Doctors.
Worldstorm (Captain Atom: Armageddon #1-9)
DCU superhero Captain Atom finds himself stranded in the Wildstorm Universe. Majestic of the Wildcats discovers that the dimension-leap has fundamentally destabilised Atom, and concludes that his continued presence in the Wildstorm Universe will cause its imminent entropic destruction. The Authority offer to help Captain Atom find the way home, cruising the Bleed in search of the DC Universe, and at first he strikes up a romantic relationship with the Engineer. However, Atom becomes horrified by the Wildstorm superheroes' casual attitudes toward violence and the lives of ordinary people. At the same time, Jack Hawksmoor discovers that Captain Atom can neither be sent home nor defused - to save the Wildstorm Universe, he must be killed.
In the ensuing battle, the Engineer is depowered, and Apollo kills Grifter (of the Wildcats) who is fighting on Captain Atom's side. In retaliation Captain Atom kills Apollo, Midnighter, and Jenny Quantum, and the surviving members of the Authority discover too late that even Captain Atom's death would not save the Wildstorm Universe. It transpires that Wildcats superhero Void, now occupying the body of young EMT worker Nikola Hanssen, has located the missing half of her fractured essence in Captain Atom's body, and she reclaims it to fulfill her own power. It is she who ultimately destroys and reboots the universe, vowing "I remember what it feels like to be weak and afraid -- it's not going to be like that anymore."
Utopian (The Authority Vol. 3 #1-2)
In an alternate universe entirely without superheroes, a British family man named Ken is sent to locate a Norwegian submarine
which collided with something gigantic in the Norwegian Sea
. He finds it on the ocean floor, with many of its crew missing, alongside and dwarfed by the Authority's Carrier
, which has apparently crashed there. Notably, no members of the Authority appear in this first issue.
The second issue opens with the Authority in the Carrier musing over their predicament. They learn that the Earth they've landed on is of a low energy universe, with no superhumans. Compounding this is that the universe does not have any apparent means of support for the Carrier, which is dying due to the crash. Midnighter arrives as we learn that he was the one who appeared through the "door" in the first issue and killed the terrorists who hijacked the sub.
Outside the Carrier, Ken and his crew are shocked by the Carrier's appearance, and are more shocked as a "door" opens and transports them into the Carrier. Inside, Swift introduces herself to Ken, who is still confused by it all. Meanwhile, Jack Hawksmoor and The Doctor take a trip to Manhattan and browse through the Forbidden Planet, and discover that their adventures have been recorded in Wildstorm trade paperbacks. The Doctor discovers a new problem--if they were to stay on this Earth, things would start to go wrong with the universe's laws of nature. Midnighter is agitated over the fact that they're forced to remain on the Carrier when they could be doing good in the new-found world. Ken is introduced to the Authority as Midnighter prepares to go find Apollo (who is out flying in an attempt to recharge solar energy). Apollo sees injured people in Afghanistan and is shot down by U.S. military forces. While Ken begins to wonder if the Authority's methods and beliefs are sound, Hawksmoor learns Midnighter has arrived to Apollo's location first. As military forces arrive at Apollo's crash site, Midnighter prepares for battle...
This story arc was never completed.
World's End(The Authority Vol. 4 #1-Current)
Following Number of the Beast
, The Authority get involved in the World's End
trying to figure out if there is enough left of the world to try and make better. The Authority is now a shattered team, living in a badly damaged London, called now Unlondon. After the Number of the Beast
events left Earth a shadowy wasteland, the Authority vows to protect what's left of the city, facing their own shortcomings. Swift now uses her powers to be a messenger and a transmitter, due to EMP disabling every communication system, and additionally care for birds, unhinged and unable to function in the hostile ecosystem. Apollo and Midnighter are now separated, as Midnighter stays on earth, fighting mutates and helping people, and Apollo is forced to live high in the photosphere
, where enough sunlight radiations are able to pierce the smog covering the planet. A badly crippled Jack, and a completely powereless Angela Spica reside now in the dead husk that once was the Carrier, now a corpse dimensionally fused to London ruins, used as a safehouse for survivors.
Ellis/ Hitch Era
In 1999, Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch introduced readers to the Authority, a team of superheroes who promised to get the job done by whatever means necessary. They were: Jenny Sparks, the Spirit of the 20th Century; Jack Hawksmoor, the king of cities; Swift, a Tibetan woman with wings and sharp talons; Apollo, a bio-engineered gay Superman pastiche
; The Midnighter, a Batman
pastiche who was the lover of Apollo and possessed the ability to foresee his opponents' moves in combat; The Engineer, a scientist who replaced her blood with nine pints of nano-technology; and the Doctor, a Dutch junkie with the combined powers of hundreds of shamans who had come before him.
The Ellis/Hitch run of The Authority lasted 12 issues, divided in three story-arcs: The Circle, Shiftships, and The Outer Dark. They showed an increasingly dangerous enemy: an international terrorist (previously seen in Stormwatch), an invasion from an alternative Earth, and "God," the hostile alien creator of the Solar system, with corresponding high scale violence and property destruction. The usage of a narrative tool called decompression, taken mainly from manga and novel in American super-hero comic-books, was distinctive: big, panoramic panels were used to examine action in deep detail, with a slower rhythm and lighter plotting per issue.
The run was hugely successful with readers, providing a form of large scale superhero action which was (at the time) not common in comics. Ellis never obviously delved into the politics of his characters; he left that to the reader to decide. This was soon to change after Ellis and Hitch finished their run on the series.
Replacing Ellis and Hitch were Mark Millar
and the pseudonymous Frank Quitely
. The Millar/Quitely run kept the widescreen narrative and violence of its predecessor, and added an irreverent and somehow revolutionary attitude to the characters, who fought social injustice and, if needed, the status quo
, not minding crossing some lines to pursue their own agenda of making a finer world. This interesting and polemic
analysis of the role of the super-hero in society was extremely popular with fans and critics alike.
During Millar's run, the Authority, now under Jack Hawksmoor's leadership following Jenny Sparks' death at the end of the 20th Century, faced such foes as a thinly-veiled Marvel Universe, the Earth itself, and the US government, who had grown tired of the Authority's interference with the activities of the world's governments, and replaced them with a duplicate team of superheroes backed by the G7 group of nations. Also, Jenny Sparks' successor, Jenny Quantum, was adopted by a now-married Apollo and Midnighter, and the Doctor overcame his drug addiction after feeling guilty for not being around for one of the Authority's biggest challenges after suffering an overdose of heroin.
This run proved to be highly controversial and led into the title suffering from censorship by DC. The first instance of this censorship was a removal of a kiss between Apollo and Midnighter due to DC's concern that it would lead to negative media reports. The matter would come to a head after the events of the September 11 attacks during Millar's final story arc, "Brave New World". This happened in issue #22, which proved to be Quitely's last issue as artist. Issue #23 was delayed after the 9/11 attacks, and a one-shot special (written and drawn by Bryan Hitch) entitled The Authority: Widescreen was cancelled outright due to concerns about the violence in that issue.
To allow Quitely's replacement to catch up, a four issue fill-in storyline called "Transfer Of Power" written by Tom Peyer, was published featuring the G7 Authority team. The final Millar arc began with issue #27, and it was in this issue where the most serious censorship of story and art would occur in the series. Scenes of necrophilia, violence set in New York, and scenes of the Authority's members being humiliated and degraded were changed from what was originally drawn by Quitely's replacement, Art Adams..
Also altered were panels clearly showing George W. Bush being portrayed as a cowardly figure. This was felt to be unpatriotic after 9/11 hence the editing of the panels, replacing Bush with a fictional president (seemingly President Merkin Muffley from Stanley Kubrick's film Dr. Strangelove). Further editing occurred in issue 28 which caused this issue to be delayed. These delays in shipping were now affecting the titles sales, causing them to drop.Millar's final issue was drawn by Gary Erskine after Adams had left the title, unhappy with how his art had been censored.
This entire run is collected in four trade paperbacks
- Relentless (collects # 1-8)
- Under New Management (collects # 9-16)
- Earth Inferno and Other Stories (collects # 17-20, the Annual 2000 and the Summer Special)
- Transfer of Power (collects # 22-29)
The Authority #21 is collected in The Monarchy: Bullets Over Babylon trade, since it was the starting point for The Monarchy series.
The series was also collected in oversized slipcased hardcovers with extras:
- The Absolute Authority Vol. 1 (collects # 1-12)
- The Absolute Authority Vol. 2 (collects # 13-20, 22, & 27-29)
The series was subsequently restarted, and was written by Robbie Morrison
with art by Dwayne Turner
(except for the single issue "Behemoth", which featured art by Tan Eng Huat
, and "Street Life", which was pencilled by Whilce Portacio
). This incarnation of the series lasted for 15 issues (numbered 0 to 14), and prior to issue 10, the series was part of the Coup d'état
crossover that included The Authority
, Stormwatch: Team Achilles
, and Wildcats v3.0
. This crossover revolved around the Authority taking over the United States of America
Three trade paperbacks
cover this part:
- Harsh Realities (collects Vol 2 # 0-5)
- Fractured Worlds (collects Vol 2 # 6-14)
- Coup d'état (collects the Coup d'état crossover)
The series was again restarted in October 2004 under the title The Authority: Revolution
. This series was written by Ed Brubaker
with art by Dustin Nguyen
and Richard Friend
. It focuses on the troubles the Authority faces as the rulers of America.
This run has been collected in two trade paperbacks
- The Authority: Revolution Book 1 (collects # 1-6)
- The Authority: Revolution Book 2 (collects # 7-12)
Morrison/ Ha Era
In February 2006, it was announced that Grant Morrison
would write The Authority Volume 3
, with art by Gene Ha
. The series was to be published bimonthly, beginning in October 2006. Morrison has "cited Warren Ellis’s original run as an approach he wants to return to, saying his new approach will allow the team to be effectual again".
Morrison and Ha's first issue was released in December 2006. It followed a family man named Ken in his search for a downed submarine. The sub apparently encountered something massive and unexpected in the depths of the ocean that caused it to be destroyed. Careful readers will notice one of the Authority's "doors" appeared just before the interior of the sub ignited. Indeed, when Ken finds the ship, many of the crew are missing. The issue ends as Ken and his search party encounter the Authority's carrier, 50 miles long, lying on the ocean floor. Notably, no members of the Authority appear in this first issue.
The second issue eventually was out five months afterwards, and dealt with the Authority's reaction to crash-landing on an Earth far less developed than their own. Ken meets The Authority but begins to question their methodology.
In September 2007, Gene Ha was quoted at Newsarama.com as saying that he did not believe his run with Morrison would continue. "...I don't think The Authority #3 by Grant Morrison and Gene Ha is ever coming out. Grant is busy redesigning the DC Universe and I've moved onto new projects. Most importantly, it seems that editor Scott Dunbier has been forced out of Wildstorm. There is no #3 script, there may never be a #3 script.
Scott Peterson announced at Wondercon 2008 that he had talked to Morrison two weeks ago about The Authority, and there is "very serious progress" and it should start shipping again toward the end of this year.
On the 19th April 2008, Wildstorm has released further information on the upcoming completion of Morrison's run, announcing the Keith Giffen will complete Grant Morrison's scripts. When asked to comment upon his inability to complete further issues of the Authority, Morrison has said that '"Authority was just a disaster." He said that they were doing it and running late when 52 started, but when he saw the reviews to first issue, "I said fuck it." '
It has been announced that in the new World's End
status quo, Dan Abnett
and Andy Lanning
will be take over the writing duties, accompanied by artist Simon Coleby
. Senior Wildstorm editor Ben Abernathy has also stated that four issues have already been completed by the new team - "I can say honestly, based on the four issues of script and art that are already in-the-can, people will NOT be disappointed!"
Although Abnett and Lanning have signed an exclusive contract with Marvel, it allows them to finish existing projects, which includes their fifteen issue run on The Authority.
Miniseries, specials, and crossovers
Authority Annual 2000
This annual written by Joe Casey
and penciled by Cully Hammer
depicts the Authority dealing with a number of the undead as part of the Devil's Night crossover running throughout several Wildstorm titles at the time. Collected in The Authority: Earth Inferno and Other Stories
Jenny Sparks: The Secret History of the Authority (2000-2001)
This five-issue miniseries
written by Mark Millar and penciled
by John McCrea
recalls Jenny Sparks
's first meetings with her future teammates. She also encounters notable historical and fictional characters such as Hitler
Ruling the World (2000)
This was a crossover
with Ellis’ other creation, Planetary
, written by Ellis, and illustrated by Phil Jimenez
and Andy Lanning
It was particularly notable in that despite being a crossover title the two teams (Planetary and the Authority) never actually meet during the course of the story, thus avoiding the usual crossover schtick of "characters fight each other over some misunderstanding, only to later team up against the real enemy", a well worn format that most crossovers seem to follow. However, it did not completely avoid this schtick as Planetary fought a version of the Authority from an alternate universe.
It was published first in prestige format and later collected in the Planetary: Crossing Worlds graphic novel.
Wildstorm Summer Special (2001)
A short anthology containing three stories of characters from the Wildstorm universe and includes the following: a Jack Hawksmoor story by Warren Ellis and Cully Hammer; a story about the Engineer's sex life by Paul Jenkins
and Georges Jeanty
; a short story regarding the Wildcats member Zealot and; a series of artists' pin ups depicting various characters from the Authority and Wildcats. Collected in The Authority: Earth Inferno and Other Stories
The Authority: Kev (2002)
This single issue story written by Garth Ennis
by Glenn Fabry
introduced Kev Hawkins
, a Special Air Services corporal
turned unwilling assassin (due to a pesky affair when a tiger
ate a cabinet minister
under his protection). In the story, he is called in by the British government
to remove the Authority. Supplied with an alien-created gun and ammunition, Kev manages to do this rather easily. He soon discovers to his horror that the British government wasn't behind his orders, but rather an alien with designs on Earth who masqueraded as his superior. Kev must convince the Carrier to rewind time and return the Authority to life so they can save Earth. The Authority decide to let Kev off, but Kev still gets beat up by Apollo and Midnighter for making a homophobic remark.
Continuity Note: This story is clearly placed before Volume 1's Earth Inferno and Transfer of Power storylines (where the American government has the post-Jenny Sparks Authority neutralized by Seth and replaced with the G7-appointed Authority), as Kev's "boss" comments on her order to eliminate the Authority: "We assumed the Americans would do something about them, but Washington seems to be dragging its heels." Additionally, as evidenced by Jenny Sparks' absence (as well as no mention or appearance of Baby Jenny Quantum) we can presume this story takes place early in the period between Volume 1's Outer Dark [Issue # 12 being the last live appearance of Jenny Sparks] and the early period of The Nativity [Issue # 13 being the introduction of Jenny Quantum] storylines.
The Authority: More Kev (2004)
Ennis and Fabry re-teamed for this four-issue miniseries in which transdimensional
aliens called the Rakulai threaten Earth in their search for their #1 archcriminal, Slippery B'eeef the Galactic Thief. Years ago he flew to Earth and masqueraded as a British cabinet minister, the same one that was eaten by a tiger. This, while under Kev's protection. Apollo
must team up with their favorite homophobic SAS agent to find B'eeef's remains, since the Rakulai can regrow themselves from a single cell.
Continuity Note: Again, Jenny Quantum makes no appearance in this story, even in team scenes aboard the Carrier, so it may be presumed that More Kev takes place, like Kev before it, in the same period of media exposure and activity the Authority experienced after Jenny Sparks' death and Jenny Quantum is introduced. The Midnighter's quote of it being "a couple of years" since his first encounter with Kev indicates that the Authority had been active for at least that long between Outer Dark and The Nativity. Additionally, Kev's boss comments "... while the Americans have adopted a typically confrontational attitude in their handling of the Authority, we at M.I.5 prefer a more circumspect approach..." which wouldn't have been the case post-Brave New World, as the UK took part in the replacement G7 Authority. On the other hand, a caption in issue #2 places the story in 2004, which would make Jenny Quantum (born on the cusp of the popular millennium) four years old at the telling. In addition, the boss' comment could have been in reference to Seth's actions in Brave New World, downplaying the UK's involvement.
The Authority: The Magnificent Kevin (2005-2006)
In this five-issue miniseries, written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra
, (with covers by Glenn Fabry), Kev is again allied with the Authority. After all of the Authority except for Midnighter are neutralized by a bizarre intruder, Kev is sent to pick him up. Kev tells about how he entered the British S.A.S., and he and Midnighter uncover underground dealings by the British military to create their own superhumans. At long last, Kev gets his chance to redeem himself and escape the pall hanging over his career -- but at a cost.
Continuity Note: As with the previous Kev stories, Jenny Sparks and Jenny Quantum are notably absent, placing it the same post-Sparks/ pre-Quantum period shown in the early pages of The Nativity. There is a mention of a German-speaking Pope in the second part of the story, a possible reference to Benedict, who was ordained in 2005, but whether this should be viewed as a topical reference from the publishing year of the issue or a key continuity event in the story is subjective. Though in Authority continuity, Pope John Paul had been slain in a hurricane, to be replaced by a black man.
A Man Called Kev (2006-2007)
Garth Ennis and Carlos Ezquerra return for the fourth installment of Kev's adventures. No member of the Authority actually appears in this miniseries, in which Kev encounters his old tiger-sheltering friend Danny Redburn and deals with trouble from his own past.
So far the stories have been collected into three trade paperbacks:
- The Authority: Kev (collects Kev # 1 and More Kev # 1-4)
- The Authority: The Magnificent Kevin (collects The Magnificent Kevin # 1-5)
- The Authority: A Man Called Kev: Volume 3 (Collecting the hit 5-issue miniseries! After murdering his boss in a nasty government scheme, Kev Hawkins has been banished from the United Kingdom under pain of death. What does the world hold for a man with little life experience or job training beyond wetworks and assassination? 112 pages)
The Authority: Scorched Earth (2003)
This single issue story was written by Robbie Morrison
and illustrated by Frazer Irving
, and published (and presumed to take place directly) between Volumes 2 and 3. The Earth's Sun is suffering a major, potentially cataclysmic, upheaval. Its temperature is rising at an impossible rate and enormous solar flares are erupting from the photosphere
, sending fireballs directly to Earth. The Authority finds out that Winter
, the former field commander of Stormwatch
Prime and an old friend of Hawksmoor's, is behind it. After he piloted SkyWatch
into the sun, his energy absorbing powers made him become one with it. Trapped in eternal agony and enraged by the cruelty on Earth, Winter wanted to destroy it. The Authority are forced to cage him inside the sun.
The Authority: Human on the Inside (2004)
This single issue story was written by John Ridley
and illustrated by Ben Oliver
, and set between Volume 1's Brave New World
and Volume 2's Reality Incorporated
, published in hardcover and softcover. A story of vengeance and despair, showing the Authority manipulated by various enemies, such as the father of Rush (one of the G7
superhumans who replaced the Authority) and "The One Who Has Lost All Hope". Jackson King
, formerly Battalion of StormWatch
, leads the Authority briefly after Jack Hawksmoor is wounded in battle. They are able to overcome their human faults (Apollo and Midnighter's insecurity about their relationship, the Doctor's drug addiction, the Engineer's fears of whether or not she is human, etc.) and stop the future itself from being destroyed.
The Authority/ Lobo: Jingle Hell (2004)
This single issue book was written by Keith Giffen
(story), and Alan Grant
(dialogue), and illustrated by Simon Bisley
. Set during Christmas
early in the Volume 2 era, as Baby Jenny Quantum
is of toddler age, walking and talking. Baby Jenny Quantum, left to her own devices on Christmas Eve, comes across a Lobo
comic book in an unexplored area of the Carrier. In the book. Lobo is shown killing Santa Claus
. Upset, her imagination runs loose and she accidentally brings Lobo to the Wildstorm universe, where he proceeds to hunt down the Authority at the behest of the parasites living in "God's" corpse (from Volume 1's Outer Dark
storyline, now floating in orbit around Jupiter). The parasites offer God's fresh organs (valuable at the Intergalactic Organ Gambling tables) as payment to Lobo.
The Authority/ Lobo: Spring Break Massacre (2005)
Giffen, Grant, and Bisley re-team for this single-issue story, presumably set during the Volume 2 era, for the same reasons mentioned above.
Both Lobo stories were collected in:
- Lobo/Authority: Holiday Hell (Wildstorm, 160 pages, August 2006, ISBN 1-4012-0992-0):
Wildstorm Winter Special (2005)
A short anthology containing four stories about characters from the Wildstorm universe and includes the following: a story about the Wildcats member Zealot; an adventure of Midnighter and Apollo's written by Tom Peyer and Cary Nord; a story about Wildstorm hero Deathblow and; a story depicting Jack Hawksmoor by Will Pfeifer and Scott Iwahashi.
The Authority: Prime (2007 - 2008)
In July 2007
, it was announced that Christos Gage
and Darick Robertson
would do an intended story arc as a miniseries instead. This is because of scheduling problems with the current Morrison/Ha run on the title.
The Authority: Prime is a six-issue miniseries, as the intended arc would have spanned issues #6 to #11 of The Authority. It will feature the renewed Stormwatch Prime, who along with the Authority investigate a recently-discovered secret bunker that once belonged to Henry Bendix.
The Secret History of The Authority: Jack Hawksmoor (2008)
A six-issue miniseries shedding light on the life of Jack Hawksmoor before he joined Stormwatch and The Authority, featuring art by Fiona Staples, covers by Cully Hamner, and written by Mike Costa.
Other members of the Authority
- Dr. Krigstein briefly joined the Authority at the end of The Nativity but was thrown out when the Authority was displaced during Brave New World and Transfer of Power. The Carrier still holds some of Krigstein's odd "experiments" and tech in his former quarters.
Transfer of Power
During the Peyer-written story arc Transfer of Power
, the members of the Authority were temporarily replaced with analogues who had roughly the same powers. Their names were references to and/or parodies
of the original characters' names. Unlike the original Authority, this group was intentionally selected by a council which sought to have heroes representing the G7
nations. During this story arc, the original members were believed dead or incapacitated in some fashion.
- The Colonel, a British ex-footballer who was the de facto leader of the Authority. He had abilities similar to Jenny Sparks', although apparently limited to producing electric shocks. He behaved like the classic football hooligan, and incorporated many of the more negative aspects of British working class stereotypes. He was also quite demoralizing (and incompetent) as the group leader as he would insult every member of the team on a regular basis.
- Street, Jack Hawksmoor's black gangster analogue. His powers were somewhat different, in that he could cause the city to manifest stone-based avatars to fight. He was American and willfully ignorant.
- Rush, like Swift, had wings, the origin of which was later explained, in the graphic novel "Human on the Inside", to be the result of posthuman surgery at the behest of her father, Dr. Ledbedder. She was selected to represent Canada, and her name is possibly a reference to the popular rock band of the same name (see Rush). The character herself claimed she was a lesbian.
- Teuton, Apollo's analogue. He was German, more than a touch insane, prone to weeping, and more than a little bi-curious. He made continual strides to explore this with Last Call. It was hinted that he may have been a clone.
- Last Call, The Midnighter's analogue, was a reactionary homophobe as a result of everyone just assuming that he must be gay as well, but his homophobia saves the team on one occasion to disprove that. He was from Italy and was an F-1 driver before receiving his upgrades.
- The Surgeon, given control over the Doctor's powers, was never fully accepted by the collective consciousness of the previous Doctors, nor did he want to be. He was French.
- Machine, was given the nanotechnology extracted from the Engineer's body (while Angela Spica's blood was temporarily replaced with that of a heroin addict), which was billed as "the finest of Japanese picotechnology". She was Japanese.
- Chaplain Action, self-proclaimed "He-Man of the Cloth," a superpowered religious figure affiliated with the team at The Colonel's behest in order to give the Authority a more pious, morally-grounded image as a PR stunt. The ruse backfires, however, as Chaplain Action takes his job much more seriously than anticipated. He demonstrates superhuman strength, as well as an invulnerability to The Colonel's electrical powers (to which he responds, "Nothing shocks me, Colonel.").
Human on the Inside
- Jackson King, previously known as Battalion and the third Weatherman. A powerful telekinetic, he led the team for a short time at the behest of the American government during the graphic novel Human on the Inside while Jack Hawksmoor was crippled. When Hawksmoor was healed, King left the team.
- Danny Chan, a seemingly Asian martial artist. In reality, he was a cybernetic spy sent by the U.S. Government to infiltrate the Authority and destroy them from within during Human on the Inside. He kissed the Engineer and then Midnighter, trying to create trouble inside the team. When he was discovered by the Engineer, she immediately destroyed him in a rage.
Appearing in Gen¹³, the "Authoriteens" are a teenaged version of the Authority's 2007 roster, from an alternate universe without grown-ups and where many of the Wildstorm characters are children or teenagers.
- Kid Apollo. A teenage Apollo, every bit as powerful as his namesake although quicker to use violent force, he defeated Caitlin Fairchild, who is believed the strongest teenager in the Wildstorm Universe. He's "somewhat overprotective of Daybreaker", but his teammates cannot figure out why. He's killed by Grunge, forced to use his powers to mimic the suicide booth the Authoriteens were about to use on his teammates. His death causes the return of the whole team into their dimension, a source of grieving for Daybreaker and a mental breakdown in Grunge.
- Daybreaker. A teenage Midnighter. He is slang spewing, mischievous, brash and slightly immature. Despite having the same enhancement of his grown-up counterpart, Daybreaker (apparently called "Denny") is very easily distracted, which means his ability to calculate thousands of outcomes for a fight is somewhat lacking.
- The Contractor. A teenaged Engineer, she appears very proud of her cybernetic enhancement. Due to her younger age, she doesn't share the "nude" look with the Engineer, appearing instead as wearing a darker metal swimsuit on her metal-looking body.
- The Intern. A teenage Doctor, as a trainee he doesn't have full Doctor powers but is aware of the Multiverse, and able to traverse safely through "The Gutters", his version of "The Bleed". He was able to take Rainmaker and Freefall into Gutters and trap them there.
- Nestling. A teenage Swift, she's feisty and cheery. Daybreaker refers to her as "inda-kay ampy-tray", as Nestling claims to be unable to let a boy go away without at least a kiss.
- Jack Hatfield. As Jack Hawksmoor is the King of Cities, Jack Hatfield is the spirit of the small town. Dressed as a farm-boy, and speaking with stereotypical southern inflections, Jack draws his powers from the country towns.
The series won the Squiddy Award
for Best Character Team in 1999 and 2000.
- Steven Grant created an analogue of the Authority in Marvel's X-Man series made up of Nicola Zeitgeist (Jenny Sparks), City Dweller (Jack Hawksmoor), Nightfighter (Midnighter), Technocrat (Engineer II), Thor (Apollo), Whitebird (Swift), and Professor X (The Doctor). This team operated out of the Foldcastle capable of teleporting them anywhere. (X-Man #71-72)
- Action Comics #775, written by Joe Kelly with art by Doug Mahnke, featured an analogue of the Authority called the Elite. The Elite come into conflict with Superman over their use of extreme and often fatal methods against supervillains and are ultimately taken down by Superman. Part of this involved Superman faking fatal methods against the team, stunning and confusing them.