Who Are ‘The Authority’? Everything You Need To Know About DC’s New Superhero Team
James Gunn has just unveiled the future of the DCU, and it includes a very exciting slate of upcoming TV shows and movies. In an announcement video, Gunn revealed the upcoming projects that will be a part of the DC Universe’s Chapter 1, which is titled “Gods and Monsters.” Some of the projects, like Superman: Legacy, Waller, and Lanterns, were anticipated. Others, like The Brave and the Bold, The Authority, and Paradise Lost were quite surprising. One of the projects with the most potential, though, is The Authority.
Gunn described the live-action film as his “passion project,” and it’s not difficult to see why. Fans of Gunn’s superhero work know that he particularly excels at teams. Guardians of the Galaxy, The Suicide Squad, and Peacemaker are all evidence of his ability to create complex and lovable teams of unlikely heroes. Gunn’s work on The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker also proves that he is adept at honing in on teams that skew toward the anti-hero side of things, and sometimes blur the lines of ethics and morality.
Meanwhile, The Authority, according to Gunn, will follow the superhero team of the same name, who believe that the world is “broken” and set out to fix it “by any means necessary.” He promised that the film will show a side of superheroes that we’ve never quite seen before. While it definitely sounds in line with Gunn’s work, it’s also one of the projects that DC fans are most likely to be unfamiliar with. If you have no idea who The Authority are, you’re probably not alone, as the comic book characters have never been adapted for film or TV before, and have a limited comic book history to boot.
Who are The Authority?
The Authority is a superhero team first created in 1999 by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch. It was published under Wildstorm Comics, a publishing imprint, or brand, of DC Comics. As described by Gunn, the gist of the team is that they’re a particularly cynical and pragmatic bunch, which makes them comfortable with adopting some very extreme methods to save the world.
Although Ellis and Hitch were the original creators, the comic book series has been restarted multiple times and has even dealt with some censorship due to its graphic content. Some of the team members originated in Wildstorm’s Stormwatch comic book series, which was published before it became an imprint of DC.
The Authority characters
Jenny Sparks was the original team leader of The Authority. Before joining The Authority, she was a member of Stormwatch Black, a black-ops superhero team. She was dubbed “The Spirit of the 20th century” due to being one of Wildstorm’s “Century Babies”—people who were born at the beginning of a century and died at the end of it. These special individuals had intrinsic powers and were destined to influence the century in which they were born.
Sparks’ powers manifested when she was a teenager and included the ability to manipulate electricity. She ended up forming The Authority with several of her previous Stormwatch Black team members. It isn’t surprising they had a bit of a bleak outlook on life, considering Sparks formed The Authority after half of her Stormwatch allies were killed, forcing the team to disband.
Jack Hawksmoor was one of the former Stormwatch members who joined Sparks in forming The Authority. He was dubbed “The God of Cities” due to his unique physiology and ability to form a symbiotic relationship with cities. While appearing to be human, his body was actually composed of technology that enabled his symbiotic connections. Hawksmoor periodically served as the leader of The Authority, too.
Swift was another former Stormwatch Black member who joined with Hawksmoor and Sparks to form The Authority. Her powers were activated by a genetic link to a passing meteor and included the ability to manifest wings, talons, and claws, which, in turn, gave her the power of flight. She also had a temporary romantic relationship with Sparks.
Apollo is a metahuman who was recruited by Sparks to join The Authority. He is named Apollo because his superhuman abilities are powered by the sun’s energy. When powered by the sun, he has superhuman abilities that are very similar to those possessed by Superman. These include super strength, flight, durability, and laser eye beams. He is also one of the first openly gay superheroes to be featured in a comic book and was married to fellow Authority teammate, Midnighter.
Midnighter and Apollo were both former Stormwatch agents recruited to join The Authority around the same time by Sparks. He was believed to have been born as a typical human but gained superpowers as a result of enhancements created by genius Henry Bendix. His powers include superhuman speed, strength, and durability. Midnighter also has the unique ability to predict the conclusion of a battle and boasts a very effective healing factor.
Angela Spica was recruited to The Authority after becoming the second individual to take up the mantle of the Engineer. Using notes from the first Engineer, she managed to replace the blood in her body with an enormous amount of nanotechnology. Her nanotech physiology gave her a number of unique abilities, including that of shape-shifting. However, her powers are really nearly limitless, as she can use her nanotechnology in almost any way she sees fit, so long as she can imagine it.
Like Spica, Jeroen Thornedike was also recruited to The Authority after taking on the mantle of a pre-existing hero, the Doctor. Thornedike was recovering from a drug addiction when he was given the powers of the Doctor. Although initially resistant to his new powers, Thornedike was eventually persuaded to join The Authority. Each Doctor, also known as the Shaman of Earth, is a powerful sorcerer with extensive magical abilities. Every Doctor also has 15 additional senses and can travel to the astral memory to speak to the Doctors of the past.
(featured image: Wildstorm Comics)
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