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Are we ready for yet another take on superhero morality? Let's hope so, because "The Authority" retools old ideas for a new century. Warren Ellis has his heroes think globally as they kick butt locally, stopping or slowing down to consider how they can use their powers to "make the world a better place." How he can pull this off in our oh-so-ironic age is an artistic mystery, but the results are clear: superheroes with believable personalities and community spirit. Two story arcs, each encompassing terror and evil on a global scale, pit the group of seven against armies of superhumans dispatched in scenes reminiscent of the best action movies. Many of the characters from the older Stormwatch series reappear here, and fans will be pleased to learn that Ellis has, if anything, improved his depth and storytelling prowess. Bryan Hitch's penciling, Paul Neary's inking, and Laura Depuy's coloring are all equally responsible for the gloriously lovely artwork--from interdimensional spaceships to dismembered spinal cords, they make saving the world beautiful.

»Authority: Relentless (collecting #1-8)
"After witnessing the demise of most of her StormWatch teammates, Jenny Sparks wants to create a new super hero team dedicated to protecting Earth against threats of a global scale. Joined by former StormWatch members Jack Hawksmoor and Shen Li-Min, Jenny recruits four new members, the Doctor, the Engineer, Apollo, and the Midnighter forming the ultra-powerful Authority. Collected in this edition are their first two missions, battling a nation of super-powered terrorists and stopping an invasion from a parallel world."
»Authority: Under New Management (collecting #9-16)
"In this second collection of Authority stories, the team faces its greatest challenge when a godlike invader returns to Earth after eons of banishment. Fueled by a fury for revenge and destruction, the alien is only narrowly defeated by the Authority. But in victory, the team pays the ultimate price as their leader Jenny Sparks is killed during the battle. With no time to regroup, the leaderless Authority then must take on a super genius and his legion of paranormal soldiers as they attempt to kidnap the infant Spirit of the Twenty First Century."
»Authority: Earth Inferno and other stories (collecting #17-20 + Annual 2000 + 2001 Wildstorm Summer Special)
The main storyline in the book is the "Earth Inferno" storyline from issues 17 to 20 of the ongoing series. Issues 17 and 18 are by writer Mark Millar and artist Chris Weston and issues 19 and 20 are by Millar and artist Frank Quitely. The story begins with the team's investigation of strange and devestating natural disasters worldwide. It turns out the Earth itself is wreaking havoc on its human population and the team must align themselves with a notorious super villian to stop the destruction. The appeal of the individual characters along with an intriguing evacuation plan for the Earth's population help turn the tale into one worth checking out. Quitely's work in particular is something to be admired.
The other three stories are weak in comparison. "Devil's Night" from the 2000 Annual by writer Joe Casey and Artist Cully Hamner is a mess. It's just page after page of explosions and people punching each other with nothing of substance to bind everything together. "Isolation" by writer Paul Jenkins and artist Georges Jeanty and "Orbital" by writer Warren Ellis and artist Cully Hamner from the 2001 Wildstorm Summer Special fare better as character studies of the Engineer and Jack Hawksmoor respectively. "Isolation" is noteworthy in a wickedly fun way due to its exploration of a side of super heroines that you don't see much in mainstream comics.
From DC: "In the primary story of this edition, the Authority team must devise a way to fight the Earth after a renegade doctor bent on genocide puts a mad plan in action that has the planet itself rebelling against its inhabitants. Next, the team must fight against some former friends who have returned from the dead with a murderous agenda as well as tackle an insane ex-hero who is more powerful than all of them combined."

»Authority: Transfer of Power (collecting #22-29; arcs "Brave New World" and "Transfer of Power")
"Transfer of Power" was a fill-in arc commissioned after one issue of "Brave New World" had appeared to buy time when Frank Quitely abruptly left the book in mid-issue to draw the New X-Men. It concerns a replacement Authority group created by the government. "Brave New World" resumed after "Transfer" ended, but was disrupted again when Quitely's replacement, Art Adams, quit in disgust after two issues, due to what he considered heavy-handed censorship by DC. This time, the book was merely delayed. From DC Comics: Just when the Authority is at the height of their power, in the blink of an eye they are shattered and defeated. Taking their place is a new team with the same powers, looking vaguely similar, but possessing none of the original team's empathy, kindness, and humanity. How could this happen? And what was the fate of the original team's members?
»Jenny Sparks : The Secret History of the Authority #1-5
Was the spirit of the 20th century really anarchist? In Jenny Sparks: The Secret History of the Authority it seems not only plausible but inevitable. The book spans our heroine's 100-year life, focusing on key elements in the development of the Authority metahuman team, and pointing out the mischief that she made along the way. True to the series' larger-than-life aesthetic, Sparks finds herself befriending a young Hitler, arranging for the destruction of a sentient Kansas City, and sticking it to the man every chance she gets. While not all of the details contained in the book will be clear to readers unfamiliar with the Authority or Stormwatch, it's still great fun and should inspire a few return trips to the 20th century.
»Authority: Harsh Realities (collecting vol.2 #0-5)
The Authority was formed to fight the fights that no one else could. To set wrongs to right. To build a finer world. Now, further exploits of this controversial team are collected in THE AUTHORITY: HARSH REALITIES, a 144-page Eye of the Stormtrade paperback featuring the explosive first story arc of the new ongoing series (presented in issues #1-4) as well as the stand-alone issues #0 and 5! In this explosive collection, writer Robbie Morrison and artists Dwayne Turner, Tan Eng Huat, Sal Regla, and Sandra Hope put our heroes through some of their most fiendish adventures yet. From a rogue dimension bent on destroying the planet as part of an elaborate gamble, to an interdimensional corporation that has been strip-mining other realities, the Authority have their hands full like never before!
»Coup D'Etat 1-4 (Sleeper, Authority, Wildcats, Stormwatch)
The Authority has been watching over the Earth for what happens when Tao, the most efficient manipulator in the world, tricks the U.S. government into committing an accidental, interdimensional atrocity on its own soil? Once set in motion, it could turn out to be the straw that breaks the Carrier's back! But their reaction might be exactly the opposite of what Tao expects. When The Authority decides to take control of the situation -- and the world -- their actions send out shock waves that shake the foundation of the Eye of the Storm universe. Can Stormwatch: Team Achilles and the Wildcats coexist with the Authority under the new status quo?
»Authority: Fractured Worlds (collecting vol.2 #6-10)
A finer world has been the Authority's goal from the very beginning, one they fought for time and time again versus domestic and inter-dimensional foes. Could the greatest threat to this dream actually be faith in a higher power? And, following the extraordinary events of the Coup d'Etat, The Authority takes their "finer world" ideal to another level, as they assume total control of the United States. They find that it is much more difficult they could ever have imagined!
»Authority: Revolution #1-12
"The Authority" began as a de/re-construction of Stormwatch and super-heroes in general, with a brilliant year-long run by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch. The follow-up by Mark Millar was marred by bad judgement in artists, delays, fill-ins, and editorial interference, and while exhibiting flashes of brilliance, ultimately petered out. The second series was simply ordinary, and thus fell far short of fans' expectations; and just as it was becoming interesting, it was derailed by the ill-conceived "Coup-d'État" crossover, which seems to have driven a stake through the heart of the entire Wildstorm Universe. But with Ed Brubaker and Dustin Nguyen's Revolution, the series regains its vitality as the team (and the world) comes to terms with the Authority's coup. The characters are finely-honed again, and the story actually goes somewhere. If you abandoned "The Authority" during its doldrums, now is the time to come back.
From DC Comics: The Authority has settled into its role as governing body of the U.S. But with many unhappy Americans and a powerful foe working behind-the-scenes, can a second American Revolution be far behind?

»Authority: KEV TPB (One-shot plus More Kev 1-5; w Garth Ennis; a Glen Fabry).
»Authority: KEV One-shot
»Authority: More KEV # 1-5; w Garth Ennis; a Glen Fabry.
Kev Hawkins is a Special Air Services corporal turned assassin, called in by the British government when they want someone removed. The Authority are Earth's last line of defense, known and feared across many galaxies and dimensions. Fan favorite writer Garth Ennis (Preacher, War Stories) and acclaimed artist Glenn Fabry (Global Frequency) take us on a ride that includes the possible destruction of all life on Earth as well as guns, aliens, explosions, a tiger and an orange. Hawkins' new assignment is to find and eliminate The Authority and, oddly enough, his task is easier doen than said. An awkward partnership is forged as they set out to save the planet from certain, alien doom. Can they succeed before The Midnighter uses Kev's head as a hood ornament for the Carrier? Later, Apollo and Midnighter are paired with their favorite homophobic SAS operative. Together they must help appease an alien armada bent on destruction and genocide that stands poised to assault the planet Earth.
»Authority: Magnificent KEV #1-5
The Boss has another lethal mission for Kev involving his least-favorite allies — the Authority — and it will lead Kev down the darkest path of his life!
»Authority: Scorched Earth (One-shot; w Robbie Morrison; a Frazer Irving).
The birth of a new being has caused the Sun to rapidly age, causing a potential supernova five billion years early! While the easy solution would be to kill the newborn entity, the consequences of such an action could spell doom for the entire solar system! Will the return of a long-forgotten ally turn the tide of battle? Will our heroes prevail against incredible odds? Or is mankind doomed to extinction?


by Julian Darius

The Authority began as Stormwatch, a comic book published by Wildstorm Studios under the banner of Image Comics. It was a lackluster title that sold mostly because of the wider high volume of comics sales and its assocation with the then-novel Image Comics. That is, until Warren Ellis took over the title. Ellis, then nearly unknown, introduced new characters, escalated the violence, offered more characterization, and introduced a political element. But the declining comics industry as a whole, as well as the negative association that the earlier Stormwatch issues had brought to the title, conspired to bring down the title. Ellis concluded with a spectacular three-issue storyline, "Change or Die," that offered the view of one of Ellis's original characters -- that of Jenny Sparks, spirit of the tumultous 20th Century -- that super-heroes perpetuated the status quo, beating insane villains in tights and restoring the order that benefited the powers-that-be, while never using their powers to challenge those powers and their injustices.
Stormwatch was relaunched in a second series that hoped a new #1 issue would increase sales. The new series was a bit more political and introduced new characters -- as well as the artistic team of Bryan Hitch and Paul Neary. But its sales also lagged. Ellis took the opportunity that his writing of WildC.A.T.s / Aliens provided and killed off most of Stormwatch in an inter-company crossover that focused, on the Wildstorm side, on a team other than Stormwatch! After a final issue that followed this crossover, Stormwatch was dead.
But Ellis couldn't get a few of its characters, including Jenny Sparks, out of his mind. Together with Hitch and Neary, he put together The Authority, a successor to Stormwatch that would feature four-issue storylines filled with widescreen violence, the foes increasing storyline by storyline. The new series was a hit. Ellis, unable to trump the foe of his third storyline -- in which the Authority fought Ellis's version of God -- planned to leave the book, accompanied by the artistic team, with issue #12.
Ellis's chosen successor, the then-almost-unknown writer Mark Millar and the then-almost-unknown illustrator Frank Quitely, planned a second year that would begin where all other super-team books left off, putting into practice Jenny Sparks' desire to make a better world and not simply reinforce the status quo and the powers-that-be. Thus Millar's run began with the Authority overthrowing a government known for killing dissidents and starving its own people. The Authority even verbally put President Clinton in his place. In response, government officials and the 2000 Presidential candidates condemned the team, which had become overnight celebrities. As the Doctor said while pouring a libation on Jenny Sparks's grave, the Authority had taken that brave step towards making a better world "and they love us for it." But the repercussions of this step would be seen in Millar's final storyline, "New World Order," which saw the G7 economies strike back at the Authority that had seemingly overthrown their hedgemony.
Then Frank Quitely quit, Arthur Adams was selected as his replacement, and a four-issue fill-in storyline was scheduled to give Adams time to complete his other projects and get up to speed on The Authority. Then came the 11 September attacks on the U.S. and the oversensitive attitude they created, combined with editorial concern over the content of Millar's Authority. Then came the long-delayed second chapter of Millar's final storyline and the controversy surrounding its censorship. Adams left the project after two issues, and another artist was brought in to do the last issue of Millar's run -- and the last of the title.
A couple months later, with The Authority in limbo, a new Stormwatch series was launched, this one subtitled Team Achilles. Featuring military characters without super-powers, dealing with a world of super-powered people who presented problems not only to the governments of the world but to justice, this new book retained in its conception much of the innovation and the implications of The Authority, while examining those issues from an alltogether different perspective. During this time, The Authority reappeared in two one-shots, as well as in the Stormwatch: Team Achilles title.

The following eras are available:

First published online on 21 January 2001. The Authority, Stormwatch, and related characters and art are copyrighted by their DC Comics. This site is copyrighted by Julian Darius and intended for scholarly purposes and to increase interest in its topic. This site was mirrorred here just in case this great information was lost.

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