Who are The Authority (The Authority), the wild DC group that will have its own movie

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James Gunn and Peter Safran are ready to shake up the world of DC movies and TV. The new heads of DC Entertainment have announced a slate of 10 projects that promise to adapt some of DC Comics’ weirdest, wildest and most beloved characters. One of the most surprising innovations and the one that has caused the most talk has been the inclusion of The Authoritythe superhero team of the WildStorm Universe.

Gunn described the project as a “big movie” in the pair’s epic plans for the new DC movie and TV universe. Here’s everything you need to know about the superhero team from the late ’90s and early 2000s, whose legacy has outlasted any of his comics.

DC Comics Authority: Origins

Understanding The Authority is Go back to one of the most interesting and revolutionary eras in comic book history. The grim and gritty superhero team emerged from Stormwatch, a book published by WildStorm Comics. The studio was founded by Jim Lee in 1992 as one of the six original imprints of the successful publisher of Image Comics. Stormwatch began in 1993 with Lee, Brandon Choi, and Scott Clark at the helm. But the origins of the Authority were sown in volume 2 of that book, when Warren Ellis took over writing. During his 12-issue arc, Ellis introduced several new characters and ultimately wiped out most of Stormwatch via the Xenomorphs in a WildC.ATS/Aliens crossover in 1998. Just a year later, WildStorm Comics experienced two monumental events: they were acquired by DC, becoming an imprint of the successful publisher, and issue #1 of The Authority was published.

The first issue of The AuthorityWritten by Ellis, Penciller Bryan Hitch, Inker Paul Neary, Colorist Laura Martin, and Penciller Bill O’Neill, introduced readers to the surviving members of Stormwatch, who were now working undercover as the starting team. Describing themselves as “A Higher Authority”, the group had to face Kaizen (a villain they had angered after killing 200 of their own in an attack) and his army of super-powered terrorists. Kaizen’s plan was to destroy cities all over Earth, starting with Moscow. But it was in London that the Authority finally caught up with him thanks to his unusual headquarters. The Carrier is a 30-mile high by 50-mile-wide structure powered by a small universe, so it’s nothing more than your typical superhero hangout.

Members and powers of The Authority

Gunn has stated that he “loves” WildStorm and that he and Safran are “bringing a lot of these characters into the DCU”, which means we could see heroes from multiple versions of the team come to life. But for the sake of simplicity (and because they’re the most iconic) we’ll stick to featuring the original lineup of The Authority and their wild powers here.

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Jenny Sparks, “The Spirit of the Twentieth Century”, is the founder of the Authority and its leader in the first volume. Almost a century old when we meet her, Jenny was born in England at the turn of the 20th century and is predestined to die at the end of it. Her powers manifest in the ability to control electricity, though she is also ageless. Throughout her long life, she has crossed paths with and influenced many of the most famous figures in history. She’s a sort of superheroic Forrest Gump, though he never encouraged Hitler to go into politics the way Sparks did.

Jack Hawksmoor, “The God of Cities”, has one of the most interesting superpowers in DC history. Jack is able to read the energy of entire cities, which allows him to communicate with them to find out what they and the people who inhabit them feel. These powers come from strange experiments he underwent as a child at the hands of futuristic beings. Like Jenny, he wears civilian clothes instead of the colorful costumes expected of superheroes.

Midnighter from the Cover of Midnighter #1
Midnighter from the cover of Midnighter #1

Apollo, “The Sun King”, is one of the most well-known characters of The Authority thanks to its cult success in DC Comics with her husband, Midnighter. Apollo is basically Superman’s analogue on the team, with powers including flight, superhuman strength, and being basically immortal. He can even shoot sunbeams out of his eyes. Does it sound familiar to you? Along with Midnighter, he is one of the only surviving original members of Stormwatch, all of whom received their powers from nefarious scientist Henry Bendix via strange bioengineered implants.

Midnighter, “Warbringer of the Night”, was a normal human before joining Stormwatch Black (the secret version of the team that became the Authority). Like her husband, Midnighter acquired her powers through medical enhancements. Her abilities include super strength, super speed, and a fast healing ability that makes her nearly invulnerable. Over the years she has had some enhancements withdrawn due to how powerful they made her.

Swift, “The Winged Huntress”, was born with a strange genetic marker that was activated when a meteorite passed by the Earth. At first, her powers of flight were limited, until Christine Trelane, a member of the Stormwatch, fully unleashed her power gene. Having released all of her power, she also gained bird-like senses, superhuman speed, and the ability to understand the feelings of birds.

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Engineer, “The Maker”, took the place of the original Engineer after his nanotechnology was fused with his body via his home computer. Nanotechnology replaced his blood, allowing her to transform his body and create objects out of thin air. Engineer is arguably the most powerful member of the group, as he can self-duplicate, is a technopath, and has many more abilities, such as a genius intellect and radiation-induced telepathy.

The Authority’s connection to the DCU

The blue eyed boy scout recently teamed up with the brutal team in Superman and the Authority #1
The blue-eyed boy scout recently joined the brutal team in Superman and the Authority #1.

The Authority’s connection to the DCU has evolved over the years. At first it had no connection other than its creators, who had often also worked on famous DC superhero titles. But after DC shut down the WildStorm imprint in 2010 and the New 52 event reimagined the DC Universe in 2011, some of the WildStorm characters made the jump to the main line. Midnighter and Apollo are the most well-known members of the Authority among DC readers thanks to the former’s self-titled book and their Rebirth-era team-up miniseries. Midnighter is now a regular member of Nightwing and Batfamily adventures, which makes for a very interesting potential connection to the Authority’s future on screen (especially with a Batfamily movie also in the works, The Brave and the Bold). ). Speaking of potential crossovers, in Grant Morrison and Mikel Janin’s latest book on The Authority, Superman teamed up with Manchester Black to create a new Authority team to help him save the day. And of course, the first two members they recruit are none other than Apollo and Midnighter.

To understand the Authority is to look back at one of the most exciting and revolutionary times in comic book history.

The big names of The Authority

While its heroes may be some of the lesser-known names in DC Comics, the creators who worked on the series are far from it. Along with the big names that created the series, the book featured the work of immensely popular writers like Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, JM DeMatteis, Ed Brubaker, Tom Taylor, and Keith Giffen. It wasn’t the only place where The Authority displayed their star power, however, as it featured illustrations by Frank Quitely, Dustin Nguyen and Gene Ha. It’s an impressive list of talent, especially considering that The Authority’s editorial history has been sporadic. Most of the team’s titles after the first two volumes are miniseries or suffered long delays. For example, Morrison and Ha’s third volume ended after only two issues, with other creators arriving after extreme delays to try to continue the story. However, as already noted, Morrison would return years later for the Superman and the Authority miniseries.

Legacy and impact of The Authority

It is not an exaggeration to say that The Authority reshaped the industry and Hollywood. Although the characters may not have become household names, the influence and impact of the gritty superhero narrative can still be felt today. The tense and heavily militarized narrative that was introduced in the first volume changed what the direct comic book market expected of superhero books. And the author of the second volume, Mark Millar, and Authority co-creator, Bryan Hitch, would create a very similar series in DC’s biggest competition: Marvel Comics. Millar and Hitch’s Ultimates were undoubtedly influenced by The Authority and its critical success. This grounded and gritty version of the Avengers would later become the basis for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which of course changed superhero cinema forever.

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Another legacy of The Authority is that cemented Warren Ellis as a staple of the Big Two for years to come. For fans of the writer’s style, he was a welcome addition to the superhero pantheon. However, Ellis’ rise would end up having a damaging side to many women and non-binary people involved in comics, from aspiring storytellers to convention goers to members of Ellis’ own forums. In 2020, more than 60 people who claimed to have been manipulated and mistreated by Ellis went public with their stories. The writer acknowledged the group and their experiences, but has since refused to work with them on a transformative justice program that the group proposed as a way to make amends.

The (absence) of The Authority on television and video games

the team is one of the few DC properties that hasn’t been adapted to any of DC’s many television series, animated films, or cartoon series. They haven’t appeared in a single DC video game either, which is a truly rare feat in 2023. But this fact also gives James Gunn and Peter Safran the chance to create the definitive (and debuting) on-screen version of the team in their first film. .