The Authority

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For other uses, see Authority (disambiguation).
The Authority
The Authority, as featured on the cover for the Under New Management trade paperback (Nov. 2000). From left to right, the Doctor, Swift, Apollo, Jenny Sparks, Midnighter, the Engineer, and Jack Hawksmoor, with the infant Jenny Quantum at the back. Art by Frank Quitely.
Group publication information
Publisher Wildstorm
First appearance The Authority (vol. 1) #1 (May 1999)
Created by Warren Ellis
Bryan Hitch
In-story information
Type of organization Team
Base(s) The Carrier
Agent(s) Christine Trelane
Deathblow
Engineer
Flint
Freefall
Grifter
The High
Jack Hawksmoor
Rainmaker
Swift

Former members:
Apollo
Doctor (Jeroen Thornedike)
Doctor (Habib ben Hassan)
Jenny Quantum
Jenny Sparks
Midnighter
Rose Tattoo
The Authority
Series publication information
Format Ongoing series
Genre
Publication date (Vol. 1)
May 1999 – July 2002
(Vol. 2)
July 2003 – November 2004
(Revolution)
December 2004 – December 2005
(Vol. 3: The Lost Year)
December 2006 – October 2010
(Vol. 4)
October 2008 – December 2010
Number of issues (Vol. 1): 29
(Vol. 2): 15
(Revolution): 12
(Vol. 3)/The Lost Year: 12
(Vol. 4): 30
Creative team
Creator(s) Warren Ellis
Bryan Hitch

The Authority is a superhero comic book series 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 from Stormwatch.

Members[edit]

The founding members of the Authority were:

  • Jenny Sparks, "The Spirit of the Twentieth Century"; the group's founder and original leader.
  • Apollo, "The Sun God".
  • Midnighter a.k.a. Lucas Trent, "Night's Bringer of War".
  • The Doctor a.k.a. Jeroen Thornedike, "The Shaman".
  • The second Engineer a.k.a. Angela Spica, "The Maker".
  • Jack Hawksmoor, "The King of Cities"; leader of the Authority from 2000 to 2005, and again from 2008 to 2010.
  • Swift a.k.a. Shen Li-Min, "The World's Greatest Huntress".

Following the "Outer Dark" storyarc, Jenny Sparks was replaced with:

  • Jenny Quantum, "The Spirit of the 21st Century"; leader of the Authority from 2005 to 2008.

After the "Revolution" maxi-series, new members of the Authority included:

  • The Doctor a.k.a Habib ben Hassan, "The Shaman"; Thornedike's successor and
  • Rose Tattoo, "The Spirit of Life"; former member of Stormwatch.

Beginning with #18 of volume four the team roster underwent a major change. Jack Hawksmoor, Swift and Engineer remained on the team, where they were joined by new members:

  • Synergy a.k.a. Christine Trelane; former co-leader of Stormwatch.
  • Deathblow a.k.a. Michael Cray.
  • Flint a.k.a Victoria Ngengi; former member of Stormwatch.
  • Freefall a.k.a. Roxanne Spaulding; former member of Gen 13.
  • Grifter a.k.a. Cole Cash; former member of the Wildcats.
  • The High a.k.a. John Cumberland; former Stormwatch foe and
  • Rainmaker a.k.a. Sarah Rainmaker; former member of Gen 13.

The Authority's base of operations is the Carrier, a sentient, gigantic, interdimensional "shiftship" existing everywhere on Earth at the same time and capable of moving through every imaginable plane of existence.

Storylines[edit]

Publication history[edit]

Volume 1[edit]

Ellis/Hitch era[edit]

The cover of the cancelled Authority: Widescreen by Bryan Hitch.

In 1999, Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch created the Authority, a team of superheroes who got the job done by any means necessary. The original line-up consisted of Jenny Sparks, a British woman who could generate and turn into electricity; Jack Hawksmoor, who was psychically bonded to cities in order to communcate with them and receive powers from them; Swift, a Tibetan woman who possessed wings and sharp talons; Apollo, a bio-engineered Superman pastiche; Midnighter, a bio-engineered Batman pastiche who possessed the ability to foresee his opponents' moves in combat; The Engineer, a scientist who had replaced her blood with nine pints of nanotechnology and could create solid objects with it; and The Doctor, a Dutch drug addict and shaman who possessed the combined powers of the hundreds of shamans who came before him. On the creation of the series, Ellis noted

"One of the reasons I turned their STORMWATCH into THE AUTHORITY is that I found out that, despite the fact that no-one was buying STORMWATCH, they kept it going because they liked reading it in the [Wildstorm] office and wanted to keep me employed. And I felt so bloody awful about that, and at the same time had been so struck by Bryan Hitch’s STORMWATCH issues, that the train of thought that led to THE AUTHORITY began."[1]

The Ellis/Hitch run of The Authority lasted 12 issues, divided into three four-issue storyarcs: The Circle, Shiftships, and Outer Dark. They showed increasingly dangerous enemies such as an international terrorist previously seen in Stormwatch; an invasion from an alternative Earth; and "God", the hostile alien creator of the Solar System.

Millar/Quitely era[edit]

Cover to The Authority #19 (Nov. 2000), featuring Swift, by Frank Quitely.

Replacing Ellis and Hitch after issue #12 were writer Mark Millar and artist Frank Quitely.

During the Millar/Quietly run, the Authority was now under Jack Hawksmoor's leadership following Jenny Sparks' death at the end of the 20th Century. They faced multiple foes such as a mad scientist and his army of superhumans who wanted to influence the 21st Century through Jenny Spark's successor Jenny Quantum, a previous Doctor who manipulated the Earth itself, and a duplicate team of superheroes modeled on the Authority that was created and backed by the G7 group of nations. Also during the run, Jenny Quantum was adopted by Apollo and Midnighter after they were married and the Doctor worked through his heroin addiction after faltering in battle.

A number of panels and covers during the Millar/Quitely run, which was published in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, were censored by DC Comics.[2] The team's unilateral military interventionism was compared to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.[3]

Cover to The Authority #29 (July 2002) by Art Adams.

Volume 2[edit]

The series was subsequently restarted,[4] (with a planned "Mature Readers" relaunch by Brian Azzarello and Glenn Fabry being scrapped in the wake of 9/11),[5] and was written by Robbie Morrison[6] with art by Dwayne Turner (except for the single issue "Behemoth", which featured art by Tan Eng Huat, and "Street Life", which was penciled by Whilce Portacio). This incarnation of the series lasted for 15 issues (numbered 0 to 14). Prior to issue 10, the series was part of the "Coup d'état" crossover that included The Authority, Stormwatch: Team Achilles, Sleeper, and Wildcats v3.0. The crossover revolved around the Authority taking over the United States of America.

Revolution[edit]

The series was again restarted in October 2004 as The Authority: Revolution twelve issue mini-series, written by Ed Brubaker with art by Dustin Nguyen and Richard Friend. It focused on the troubles the Authority faced as the rulers of America.

Volume 3[edit]

Morrison/Ha era[edit]

Promotional image of The Authority volume 3 by Gene Ha.

In February 2006, it was announced that Grant Morrison would write The Authority Volume 3, with art by Gene Ha. The series was intended to be published bimonthly, beginning in October 2006. Morrison "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".[7]

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 is missing. The issue ends as Ken and his search party encounters 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 came out five months after the first and dealt with the Authority's reaction to crash-landing on a less developed Earth than theirs. Ken meets The Authority but begins to question their methodology.

In September 2007, Gene Ha was quoted at Newsarama 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."[8]

Scott Peterson announced at Wondercon 2008 that he had talked to Morrison two weeks earlier about The Authority, and there was "very serious progress" and it would start shipping again toward the end of the year.[9] 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."'[10]

The Lost Year[edit]

On 19 April 2008, Wildstorm announced Keith Giffen would complete Grant Morrison's scripts.[11] Giffen unfortunately ran into an immediate problem: "I stepped into a book that was in the midst of a type of storyline that is probably my least favorite in comics. And that is, heroes come to our earth".[12] However, according to Giffen, this was only the first short arc of the longer story:

The story that Grant started wraps up in two more issues, then it moves into another adventure. This book is about the Authority having trouble with the Carrier and they're trying to find their way home. It's almost like the Odyssey, in a way, as trying to find your way home and going through various adventures. And this is what Grant had planned. This is in keeping with the basic structure that he told me over the phone. But then, I'll put in my point of view.[12]

The remaining issues of volume 3 were published by Wildstorm under the title The Authority: The Lost Year. Giffen was credited alongside Morrison as the writer, with several artists contributing. The series ran a total of twelve issues, including the original two by Morrison.

Prime[edit]

In July 2007, it was announced that Christos Gage and Darick Robertson would do an intended storyarc as a miniseries due to the scheduling problems with the Morrison/Ha run on the title.[13][14] The resulting six-issue miniseries entitled The Authority: Prime was planned to have spanned issues #6 to #11 of The Authority (vol. 3).[15] It featured the renewed Stormwatch Prime who, along with the Authority, investigate a recently discovered secret bunker that once belonged to Henry Bendix.

Volume 4[edit]

Abnett/Lanning/Coleby era[edit]

Main article: World's End (comics)

Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning relaunched the book in May 2008 in the wake of the "World's End" event and took over the writing duties, accompanied by artist Simon Coleby,[16][17] writing the first seventeen issues of the series. Senior Wildstorm editor Ben Abernathy also said of four issues that had 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!"[18]

Abnett and Lanning's contract with Marvel Comics included a clause which allowed them to finish their existing projects, including their run on The Authority.[19]

Bernardin/Freeman/Barrionuevo era[edit]

Writers Marc Bernardin & Adam Freeman and artist Al Barrionuevo worked on the book for a four-issue run from #18 to #21, including the epilogue in issue 17.[20][21][22]

Taylor/Barrionuevo era[edit]

Writer Tom Taylor (writer of several Star Wars titles including the Star Wars: Invasion series) took over The Authority with issue #22,[23] (with artist Mike S. Miller filling in for two issues for Al Barrinuevo), until the series concluded with #29.

Collected editions[edit]

The entire run of The Authority (vol. 1) was collected in four trade paperbacks:

The Authority #21 was collected in The Monarchy: Bullets Over Babylon trade (ISBN 1-56389-859-4) since it was the starting point for The Monarchy series.

The first series was also collected in Absolute Editions, oversized slipcased hardcovers with extras:

The entire run of The Authority (vol. 2) was collected in:

The Revolution series was collected in:

The entire run of The Authority (vol. 3)/The Lost Year was collected in:

The Authority (vol. 4) was collected in:

Awards[edit]

The series won the Squiddy Award for Best Character Team in 1999 and 2000. It was also nominated for "Outstanding Comic Book" in the 14th and 15th GLAAD Media Awards

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The WildStorm Legacy". The Beat. Retrieved 22 September 2010. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Censorship of The Authority | Sequart Research & Literacy Organization". Sequart.org. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  3. ^ Julian Darius (2003-07-19). "Mark Millar’s The Authority and the Polemic over Iraq | Sequart Research & Literacy Organization". Sequart.org. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  4. ^ "THE RETURN OF THE AUTHORITY: SPEAKING WITH EDITOR BEN ABERNATHY - COMICON.com Panels | Comic Book, Graphic Novel and Cartooning Discussions". Comicon.com. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  5. ^ "SAN DIEGO, DAY 1: WildStorm previews mature line". Comic Book Resources. 2001-07-19. Retrieved 2010-12-31. 
  6. ^ "TALKING WITH AUTHORITY: ROBBIE MORRISON - COMICON.com Panels | Comic Book, Graphic Novel and Cartooning Discussions". Comicon.com. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  7. ^ WONDERCON '06: WILDSTORM: UNIVERSE BUILDING PANEL[dead link], Newsarama
  8. ^ Ha: Authority #3 Not Coming?, Newsarama, September 24, 2007[dead link]
  9. ^ Comics Continuum, February 24, 2008
  10. ^ NYCC '08: The Grant Morrison Panel, Newsarama, April 19, 2008[dead link]
  11. ^ Wild at Heart: Ben Abernathy, Newsarama, May 19, 2008[dead link]
  12. ^ a b Keith Giffen on Finishing Morrison's Authority, Newsarama, March 24, 2009[dead link]
  13. ^ Getting Some Authority: Christos Gage On His Upcoming Authority Arc. Newsarama, April 5, 2007[dead link]
  14. ^ "AUTHORITY COMPLEX: Gage & Robertson Talk "Prime"". Comic Book Resources. 2007-07-12. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  15. ^ Gage Takes Wildstorm: Talking Midnighter: Armageddon & Authority: Prime, July 16, 2007, at Newsarama[dead link]
  16. ^ Wild at Heart: Andy Lanning, Newsarama, May 14, 2008[dead link]
  17. ^ Wild at Heart: Simon Coleby, Newsarama, May 15, 2008[dead link]
  18. ^ NYCC '08: LIVING IN THE RUINS: WS Editor Ben Abernathy on 'Worlds End', Newsarama, April 19, 2008[dead link]
  19. ^ "WW Chicago: DnA Sign Exclusive Deal with Marvel". Comic Book Resources. 2008-06-29. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  20. ^ Striker, Chris (January 4, 2010). "Bernardin & Freeman Take Over the Reins of Authority". The Higher Authority. Retrieved January 11, 2010. 
  21. ^ Arrant, Chris (November 24, 2008). "WildStorm's New AUTHORITY Figures". Newsarama. Retrieved November 25, 2008. [dead link]
  22. ^ 1/05/10 1:05pm 1/05/10 1:05pm. "Writing 'The Authority,' or Getting the Comic-Book $#!t$". Io9.com. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 
  23. ^ "DC Comics Solicitations for May, 2010". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2013-11-01. 

External links[edit]