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The Authority

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The Authority is a superhero comic book. It was created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, published by Wildstorm and follows the adventures of The Authority, a superhero team comprising mainly of Ellis-created characters from Stormwatch - a similar comic.

It is notable for its intense graphic violence and visual flair, often described as "widescreen" comics, and the uncompromising attitudes of its characters (leading to them often being described as fascists).

Contents

Publication history

The Ellis/Hitch run of The Authority was followed by a popular run by Mark Millar and the pseudonymous Frank Quitely, during which the comic reached the peak of its popularity and began to decline. This decline was marked by, among other things, Quitely postponing the art chores in the middle of a story arc to work on another comic book; during this hiatus a story arc written by Tom Peyer was inserted, after which the Millar/Quitely issues resumed, and the series was then cancelled. Millar claimed several sequences had been censored by Paul Levitz of DC Comics. This entire run is collected in four graphic novels:

  • 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 graphic novel, since it was the startpoint for The Monarchy series.

The series was subsequently restarted, and was written by Robbie Morrison. This incarnation of the series lasted for 14 issues, and prior to issue 10, the series was part of the Coup d'Etat crossover that included The Authority, Stormwatch: Team Achilles, Sleeper and Wildcats v3.0. This crossover revolved around The Authority taking over the United States of America.

Three graphic novels cover this part:

  • Harsh Realities - Collects Vol 2 # 0-5.
  • Fractured Worlds - Collects Vol 2 # 6-14.
  • Coup d'Etat - Collects the Coup d'Etat crossover.

The series was again restarted in October of 2004, this time written by Ed Brubaker, under the title The Authority: Revolution. It focuses on the troubles the Authority faces as the rulers of America. The Authority has since encountered Lobo, who had been hired to kill the Authority. When they couldn't kill Lobo, they threatened him to leave them alone or else they would show images of him being knocked out by Jenny Quantum, claiming that his being knocked out cold by a little girl would ruin his reputation. Lobo agreed, and left them alone.

Miniseries, Specials and Crossovers

  • Jenny Sparks : The Secret History of the Authority - A miniserie of five issues collected in a graphic novel of the same name. This series recalls Jenny Sparks' first meetings with her future teammates. Story by Mark Millar, pencils by John McCrea.
  • The Authority: Kev - Single issue with story by Garth Ennis and pencils by Glenn Fabry. Kev Hawkins is a Special Air Services corporal turned assassin (due to a pesky affair when a tiger ate a cabinet minister under his protection) called in by the British government when they want someone removed. This time, they want The Authority removed. Surprisingly, this is done rather easily. The problems start after that. Because, well, the English goverment wasn't exactly the one behind Kev's orders, but rather some alien maskerading as his boss, with designs on Earth. Kev must convince the carrier to rewind the time and return the Authority to life so they can save Earth.
  • The Authority: More Kev - 4 issue miniseries, also by Ennis and Fabry. Aliens treaten Earth, transdimensional aliens called the Rakulai, capable to do nasty things to The Authority (like fussion the Doctor and Jack Hawksmoor in one being and turn the Engineer into a nasty liquid thing). What do they want? The number-one archcriminal on their wanted list, B'eeef, who years ago flew to Earth and masqueraded as an English cabinet minister... the same one that got eaten by a tiger under Kev's protection. So Apollo and Midnighter must team up with their favorite homophobic SAS agent to find B'eeef's remains, since the Rakulai can regrowth themselves from a single cell. If Midnighter doesn't kills Kev first, that is.

Both Kev miniseries are collected together in the The Authority: Kev graphic novel.

  • The Authority: Scorched Earth - Single issue, with story by Robbie Morrison and art by Frazer Irving. Earth's sun is suffering a major, potentially cataclysmic, upheaval. It's 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 someone is after this. An old friend of Jack: the former field commander of Stormwatch Prime, Winter. After he piloted SkyWatch into the sun, his energy absorving 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 was forced to cage him inside the sun.
  • Ruling the World - Crossover with The Planetary, collected in the Planetary: Crossing Worlds graphic novel.

Members of the Authority

  • Jenny Sparks, founder of the Authority. Had electrical powers, and was the "Spirit of the Twentieth Century". Born on January 1, 1900, she did not age once she reached her mid-20s, and died on December 31, 1999.
  • Jack Hawksmoor, the "King of Cities". He was repeatedly abducted and surgically modified by aliens as a child, as a result of which he is linked to whatever city he finds himself in. He is physically unable to survive outside of an urban environment for long; however, when he is within an urban environment, he has vast, poorly-defined superpowers linked to the city. He is named after baroque architect Nicholas Hawksmoor.
  • Swift, aka Shen Li-Min. A character from pre-Ellis Stormwatch, Swift is a Tibetan Chinese woman who has the ability to grow wings at will, and consequently to be the "fastest winged mammal on the planet". She can also shed the wings, at which point they dissolve messily.
  • Apollo - an openly-gay Superman pastiche with explicitly solar powers, he is married to the Midnighter.
  • Midnighter - an openly-gay Batman pastiche whose enhancements are intended to make him the world's most dangerous fighter, he is married to Apollo.
  • The Doctor - the latest in a long line of shamans who protect the entire planet, the Doctor is Jeroen, a Dutch heroin addict who is as powerful as the sum of all preceding Doctors - each of whom was also as powerful as the sum of all preceding Doctors. The Doctor's vast magical abilities can do nearly anything, so long as he can conceive of it in poetic terms.
  • The Engineer, aka Angela Spica. After the first Engineer was killed in an issue of Ellis's Stormwatch, his nanotechnology transferred itself to Spica and bonded with her system, giving her vast mechanical abilities.
  • Jenny Quantum, not the reincarnation of Jenny Sparks but rather her successor, she is the Spirit of the 21st Century. Jenny Quantum was born in a Singapore hospital on January 1, 2000; the hospital was subsequently destroyed - and her parents killed - by supervillains who sought to control her upbringing and thereby influence the flow of history. She has since been adopted by Apollo and the Midnighter.
  • The Carrier - in addition to being the Authority's headquarters, the Carrier is also an enormous living interdimensional spaceship which is able to go just about anywhere. Often referred to as female, the Carrier is large enough to count as a city for the purposes of sustaining Hawksmoor.

"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 often puns, references or parodies of the original characters' names. Unlike the original Authority, this group was intentionally selected by a council which sought to have heros representing the G7 nations. During this story arc, the original members were dead or incapacitated in some fashion.

  • The Colonel was a British ex-footballer who was the de facto leader of The Authority. He had approximately the same powers as Jenny Sparks.
  • The Street was Jack Hawksmoor's black analogue, and was American.
  • Rush had wings like Swift, though their origins were never fully explained. She was selected to represent Canada.
  • Teuton was the analogue of Apollo and was German.
  • Last Call took over The Midnighter's role, and was reactionarily homophobic as a result. He was from Italy
  • The Professor was given control over the Doctor's powers, but was never fully accepted by the collective consciousness of the previous Doctors; it can safely be concluded that he was French.
  • The 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. She was Japanese.sv:The Authority
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