The Authority is a team of super-heroes with extreme methods. Formed out of the remnants of StormWatch, they care little for politics and law, doing instead whatever it takes to get the job done.
Following the decimation of StormWatch and the destruction of SkyWatch by an alien infestation, former member of StormWatch Black, Jenny Sparks, created The Authority alongside her StormWatch Black teammates Swift and Jack Hawksmoor, with the goal to change the world, no matter what it takes. Among their members are The Engineer (Angela Spica) (the successor of the original Engineer), Jeroen Thornedike (the latest Doctor), Apollo and Midnighter (two former members of Henry Bendix's StormWatch Zero). The Authority made their first public appearance to stop Kaizen Gamorra, an old enemy of StormWatch, who wanted to take advantage of StormWatch's breakup to take revenge upon the world. To do this he used engineered super-soldiers to destroy first Moscow and then part of London. The Authority managed to stop the attack on London, then predicted the third and final attack in Los Angeles in time to avert it. Midnighter ended Gamorra's threat by using the Carrier to destroy the superhuman clone factory on Gamorra's island.
The Authority later involved to stop an invasion by a parallel Earth, specifically a parallel Britain called Sliding Albion. A reality which Jenny Sparks was very familiarized and met the said parallel world 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 repelled the initial wave of attacks at Los Angeles, Jenny took the Carrier to the Sliding Albion universe where she had the Doctor destroy Italy and what's left of the blues' regime along with it. In an all-frequencies message, she told the people to take advantage of the second chance.
During the closing days of 1999, strange alien creatures began building unknown structures in Africa and on the Moon. This prompted 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, had 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 convinced the Carrier to leave Earth orbit. The Authority piloted the Carrier into the approaching "God" through a pore and manage to navigate to its brain. On the route they encountered 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 31, 1999, Jenny Sparks carried out her final act as the Spirit of the Twentieth Century, electrocuting the creature's brain to death before dying in Jack Hawksmoor's arms.
Sparks' leadership was unofficially passed down to Jack Hawksmoor's. Under his new leadership, The Authority achieved a more higher independence and becoming more active in worldly affairs even if disrupting the status quo in order to making a finer world. The team tried but failed to procure Jenny Quantum, the newborn Spirit of the Twenty-First Century, already proven to be more powerful than Sparks ever was. Instead, she was taken by a superhero-creating mastermind, Dr. Jacob Krigstein, who wanted Jenny so he can shape the next century through her. The Authority and Earth's heroes battled Krigstein's superhumans before 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 Authority also faced the Earth itself, which was about to catastrophically reverse its magnetic poles, spurred on to do so by a former, rogue 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 evacuated the entire population of Earth to alternate Earths, then agree to the exchange. The renegade took on and almost completely destroys the Authority with his new power before the full scope of his powers and experience caught up to him, and he was overwhelmed with empathy for all the living creatures left on Earth. Apollo and the Engineer killed him and the Earth's population returned home, some thrilled by their adventures.
Because of The Authority's interference with the activities of Earth's governments, they were targeted for elimination by the G7 nations - consisting of the U.S.A., Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, France, and Canada - and be replaced with a group more subject to their interests. G7 sent their secret weapon, an American hillbilly named Seth Cowie whom they turned into a monstrous superhuman stated to have over a thousand super powers, to attack the Authority. Seth neutralized all of The Authority except for Midnighter, who managed to escape with baby Jenny Quantum.
The ideals of the original Authority gave way to the unprincipled new team, who worked directly for the G7 nations, did not question orders, and had all they could wish for. The new team possessed the same powers and/or distinctive appearances as the original team, and most took variations of their names. The electrically-powered, Union Flag-clad Colonel (Britain) was patterned after Jenny Sparks, Swift was replaced with Rush (Canada), the Doctor was replaced with the Surgeon (France), Engineer is replaced with the Machine (Japan), Apollo was replaced with Teuton (Germany), Midnighter was replaced with Last Call (Italy), and Hawksmoor was replaced with Street (USA).
However, Midnighter, the only member of the Authority to have escaped, infiltrated the Carrier and freed his imprisoned lover Apollo. And between them they killed the rest of the new Authority, leaving only Seth to deal with. At a G7 reunion, Swift found 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 regrouped but Seth again took them all down, leaving only baby Jenny - who spoke aloud the code phrase and turned Seth back into an easily-defeated human. Following the disposition of the American President, who orchestrated the overthrow of The Authority, Apollo and Midnighter married, and adopted Jenny Quantum. As a consequence for their actions, the U.S. government branded The Authority as a hostile power.
The Authority saw to other threats including a multiversal corporation Reality Incorporated, - which intended to wipe out or enslave Earth - and a former actor and active metahuman, John Clay, who had begun infecting members of the public with a highly contagious psychic virus which caused utter devotion to himself under his so-called Church of transcendence, and channeled a portion of the infected's energies into him, turning him into a physical metahuman of the highest order. Members of The Authority struggled in vain to avoid "the transcendence," with only Apollo, Swift and the Engineer left active. However, Midnighter actively fought the change, and the Doctor, although infected, used his link to the former Doctors and the Garden of Ancestral Memory to freed himself, allowing him to psychically hijack Clay's psionic control network and inverted it. The Doctor killed Clay and created 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 through his Church of the Shaman.
When former Wildcats member-turned turned villain Tao manipulated the United States government in obtaining an engine that could go through The Bleed, giving them the opportunity to explore, and exploit, other worlds. Although they were previously warned by The Authority, the government launched the engine without knowing what would happen next. That ignorance resulted 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 fell on and completely destroyed 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 staged a bloodless coup and successfully took control of the United States.
Under this usurped role, The Authority passed many changes to the American government including privileged health insurance, nationalizing prominent oil industries, and gun controls. In the months following their coup d'état, The Authority experienced what appeared to be reality tearing apart at the seams as dozens of holes opened up into the Bleed, bringing either natural disaster or villainous parallel-world metahumans through into the Wildstorm Universe. The Authority were 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 - created as a response to the team who had made Tibet an independent nation - 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 was 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 killed 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.
The Authority were plagued by a group of old superhumans called the Sons of Liberty, consisting of old patriotic superheroes from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. They rallied 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 operated his own Carrier and has an entire alien race under his control.
While the team struggled to control this threat, the Midnighter received an unsettling visit from an aged Apollo, who claimed to have traveled from the future. He shown 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 told 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, challenged the Authority to face him and his comrades on the White House lawn. In the ensuing battle the White House, and much of Washington, D.C., was destroyed in a nuclear fallout. Ashamed by their failure, The Authority resigned as rulers of the United States, and disbanded. The Doctor dismantled his Church of the Shaman. It was later revealed that the mysterious man who backed the Sons of Liberty was revealed to be ex-Weatherman Henry Bendix himself, who then took over the United States in The Authority's absence.
After three years Jack Hawksmoor and the Engineer have taken the Carrier for themselves and traveled through the multiverse for pleasure; The Midnighter battled crime all over the world, leaving Apollo to look after their adopted daughter, Jenny Quantum. Swift had retired to a Buddhist monastery in Tibet. Tragically, the Doctor apparently died from a drug overdose.
While visiting the Doctor's grave, Jenny Quantum, now eight years old, decided to travel to the Garden of Ancestral Memory where all the previous Doctors went when they died. She learned that Jeroen was not there and never had been. Back at her home, Jenny was visited by a future version of herself who brought her to the Infinite City - a dimension housing past Jennies, comparable to the Garden of Ancestral Memory. There Jenny Sparks, realizing that Bendix had been manipulating the team, advised her to reunite The Authority to fight him. Jenny Quantum then returned home, causing herself to advance to age 14 - realizing she needed to grow up to handle the looming threat. She reunited The Authority, who agreed under her leadership to go after Bendix.
Meanwhile, Henry Bendix revealed 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 captured his soul, which Bendix used as a compass to locate the new Doctor: a teenaged Palestinian suicide bomber named Habib Bin 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 succeeded in freeing both Doctors, returning them to Earth.
Bendix then revealed himself to the Authority, appearing on their Carrier with Rose Tattoo and a legion of his alien followers. They fought and Bendix used mind-control to turn the Midnighter against his allies. But Jenny Quantum and the Engineer were able to free the Midnighter from Bendix's control, and then bringing the fight back to him. With the element of surprise on their side they were able to win and free the world from Bendix's fascist control. Causing Bendix's death. Habib was 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 decided to let her join the team. The volume ends at a party Jenny has arranged between the past Jennies and Doctors.
The Authority became involved with the dimensional-displaced superhero Captain Atom, who found himself stranded in the Wildstorm Universe. Majestic of the Wildcats discovered that the dimension-leap had fundamentally destabilized Atom, and concluded that his continued presence in the Wildstorm Universe will cause its imminent entropic destruction. The Authority offered to help Captain Atom find the way to his home, cruising the Bleed in search of the DC Universe, and at first he striked up a romantic relationship with the Engineer. However, Atom became horrified by the Wildstorm superheroes' casual attitudes toward violence and the lives of ordinary people. At the same time, The Authority discovered that Captain Atom can neither be sent home nor defused - to save the Wildstorm Universe, he must be killed.
In the following battle the Engineer is depowered, and Apollo killed Grifter (of the Wildcats) who was fighting on Captain Atom's side. In retaliation Captain Atom killed Apollo, Midnighter, and Jenny Quantum, and the surviving members of the Authority discovered too late that even Captain Atom's death would not save the Wildstorm Universe. It transpired that Wildcats superhero Void, now occupying the body of young EMT worker Nikola Hanssen, had located the missing half of her fractured essence in Captain Atom's body, and she reclaimed it to fulfill her own power. It is she who ultimately destroyed and rebooted the universe, vowing "I remember what it feels like to be weak and afraid -- it's not going to be like that anymore."
The Authority's Carrier crashed into a parallel Earth in a low energy universe, stranded after the disappearance of the 'baby universe' which powers their spacecraft. After exploring a comic book shop in Manhattan called the Forbidden Planet, the Doctor realizes that the Authority is a simple story in this universe which entirely lacked any superhumans or the means to support them. Meanwhile the Engineer, after probing the planet's entire internet, discovered that while this planet was "extraordinarily rich in pornography" there are no technological resources available to help them save the dying Carrier; the Engineer also theorizes that this low energy parallel universe may actually be the 'baby universe' itself.
The Doctor mind-probed a man called Ken, who they encountered in a submarine near the ocean floor where they crashed, and learned that there is a slumbering Lovecraftian creature feeding off of the collective subconscious of the planet's population which he has now woken. As a result of the creature's stirring, the world began to experience a nervous breakdown causing an epidemic of extreme violence and suicides.
The Engineer soon formed a plan and suggested that they may be able to jump start the Carrier by killing the parasite and using its life force as fuel. In order to tap into the parasite, however, a conduit is required which in this case would be Ken. Ken, despite his disturbance at the superheroes' authoritarian philosophies, agreed to help in what he has been led to believe is saving the world. As the Carrier is jump started and entered into the Bleed, Ken was killed by the strain of serving as the conduit while the parasite "mainlines its death throes into every person on the planet", killing every human on the parallel Earth.
Main article: World's End
After the Number of the Beast program disgorged its inmates into the world, the Carrier was crashed in London. Following Armageddon, rampant electromagnetism robbed the Engineer of her powers, Jack Hawksmoor became crippled by the destruction of so many world cities, and smog forced Apollo to spend most of his time in space (since without constant sunlight he will die). Both Jenny Quarx and Habib Bin Hassan remained missing from the team's roster as the former sacrificed herself in containing the Carrier's breached baby universe from destroying all of creation and the later became insane and abandoned the Authority. The remaining members of the team remained stuck and centered in a devastated London, which renamed to "UnLondon", while working hard to save the people of London.
Situations worsened as UnLondon, and the world, was plagued by an alien virus dubbed as the Warhol Virus which infected any living organism into hulking, aggressive creatures known as Incubites. Unbeknown to the Authority, Apollo was infected by an Incubite when containing and cleansing an Incubite outbreak on the Carrier. Swift made contact with the Rendelsham facility and forging a loose alliance between The Authority and the facility. However, Rendelsham was secretly control by Sliding Albion prince Lorenzo Antonio Slzfi. The Authority was later approached by Stormwatch, who helped in restoring power to the Carrier as an active city. This gained the attention of former Changer The Eidolon, who led his followers "The Army of the Mad" in laying siege on the Carrier. The battle was soon over when Angela Spica had the Carrier creating a working Shift-Door and banishing The Eidolon into The Bleed and Jackson King wiping out the majority forces of Eidolon's army.
Apollo finally succumbed to a highly sentient Warhol Virus, and attacked The Authority. Fortunately he was tricked into being frozen and imprison in cold storage before a cure could be found. Midnighter later left the team after seeing a vision in his dream of finding a cure to Apollo. A day after his leaving, Kaizen Gamorra attacked the Carrier from a floating Gamorra Island. Jack Hawksmoor was subdue and capture by Cybernary, both The Engineer and Swift were capture by Lorenzo and brought to Rendelsham. At the facility, Lorenzo wanted to find coordinates to his universe and in doing so forcing The Engineer to help him after throwing Swift into the Bleed. Despite this, the Engineer made contact with Rendelsham's caged Baby Universe and regained her powers. With the help from a convinced Golden, she confronted Lorenzo and saved Swift who brought the missing member of the Golden. After Lorenzo was sent back to his world and killed in the process, Swift and the Engineer rescued Hawksmoor, who had recovered himself from bonding with Gamorra Island. The Authority defeated Gamorra by unleashing the Incubite-infected Apollo upon Gamorra Tower.
The Authority were then heeded to the call of Century Baby Gaia Rothstein into saving Midnighter from a insane Habib bin Hassan, who believed that humanity is responsible for Earth's condition and should be exterminated. The former Doctor was eventually and apparently killed. Gaia, in gratitude, gave Midnighter a apple that contained the cure for Apollo. This came to effect and Apollo was returned to normal, and long last reunited with his husband.
The Carrier was struck by a continuous beam of energy from beyond the Milky Way Galaxy, causing it to be fully repaired and functional. The Authority learns from the Engineer that their shift-ship is planing to leave Earth. The team then summoned many of Earth's heroes to UnLondon and offered them the chance to leave Earth, which Jack Hawksmoor was curious as to where the Carrier is going. The decision divided Midnighter and Apollo from their team, as the two wanted to stay on Earth thus effectively leaving the Authority. Following this, the news alerted the Carrier's refugees and causing a panic on whether to stay or leave from the planet. In the commotion, only a handful of heroes that both willingly or inadvertently board the Carrier and departed Earth. The Authority undergo a immediate new roster, consisting of Grifter, The High, a Century Baby River Baldwin, Stormwatch's Christine Trelane, Deathblow, Flint, and Gen 13's Freefall and Sarah Rainmaker.
During the journey The Authority reached their destination at a artificial space station located near a Chthonian planet. Immediately afterward, it was soon learned that the Carrier was actually lured into a trap along many other sentient vessels by a malevolent race known as the Karibna. The Karibna, who once harvested their resources which dwindled their home planet, had dedicated their survival in stripping biological resources from other unsuspecting alien beings. Half the members of the Authority and along with the shift-ship's passengers were abducted by the Karibna as the others fled into the bowels of the space station where they found a living brain. The brain explained to The Authority that it was a member of a species that became a victim to the Karibna and was the main cause for unwillingly to lure sentient ships such as the Carrier to the Karibna to harvest their unwitting victims. Learning that destroying the brain would release the ships, the brain asked them to euthanize itself in which River Baldwin reluctantly ended its misery. Thereafter, the Carrier was reactivated and The Authority used the vessel's Shift-Doors into saving the many races held captive by the Karibna and successfully eradicating the Karibna.
The Authority returned to Earth where they arrived at the crucial time of Gaia Rothstein's madness that threatened to destroy the planet; in which the world was then saved as Shift became the new Doctor and placated Gaia. The Authority and the heroes of Earth began anew in repairing their world.
Transportation: The Carrier
- The Elite who first appear in Action Comics #775 are analogues to The Authority and their totalitarian, hyperviolent ways compared to the methods of Superman. Their Jenny Sparks equivalent Manchester Black would star in a few stories, including Justice League Elite (Volume 1).
- The Justice Lords of the DCAU while being based on Crime Syndicate have more in common with the Authority due to their goals and methods.
- 168 Appearances of Authority (Wildstorm Universe)
- 44 Images that include Authority (Wildstorm Universe)
- Team Gallery: Authority (Wildstorm Universe)
Links and References
- The Authority #1, #2, #3 #4
- The Authority #5, #6, #7, #8
- The Authority #9, #10, #11, #12
- The Authority #13, #14, #15, #16
- The Authority #17, #18, #19, #20
- The Authority #22
- The Authority #23
- The Authority #28
- The Authority #29
- The Authority (Volume 2) #12
- The Authority (Volume 2) #13
- The Authority: Revolution #4
- The Authority: Revolution #5
- The Authority: Revolution #8
- The Authority: Revolution #9
- The Authority: Revolution #10
- Captain Atom: Armageddon #5
- Captain Atom: Armageddon #6
- Captain Atom: Armageddon #7
- Captain Atom: Armageddon #8
- Captain Atom: Armageddon #9