The Authority, volume 1, #1-12
Written by Warren Ellis, art by Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary and Laura Depuy-Martin, originally published by Wildstorm Comics (now DC Comics.)
Originally published from 1999-2000, The Authority was a groundbreaking series published by Wildstorm Comics that was spun out of the then-cancelled Stormwatch comic. While it’s preferable to have read Ellis’s Stormwatch issues prior to reading, it’s by no means necessary. (I’ll tackle those in later reviews)
This review covers issues #1-12 of volume one – often known as the Ellis/Hitch run. The twelve issue run by this creative team is broken up into three story arcs, each four issues: “The Circle”, “Shiftships” and “Outer Dark” They face an escalating series of opponents, starting with a mad terrorist with the ability to create superhumans and ending with a creature that is effectively a god.
The members of the group are determined to make a better world, no matter what and by any means necessary. This is not a superhero team that captures the bad guy and sends him off to prison somewhere – their solutions are a lot more final. This is not the JLA or the Avengers, these guys kill the bad guys without compunction.
The team is made up of seven members here: Jenny Sparks, a 99 year-old woman who controls electricity; Swift, a superfast flier; Jack Hawksmoor, who is psychically connected to cities; The Midnighter and Apollo, Batman and Superman pastiches who lack the restraint of those characters; The Doctor, a world-class magician/shaman, and The Engineer, whose nanomachine-infused blood allows her to create just about anything.
They’re based on the Carrier, a massive ship 50 miles long and 35 miles high, with a baby universe as its power source. The Carrier has the ability to navigate dimensions and can open doors between any two places on itself or on Earth.
Stories like this had been done before, but this was one of the first mainstream examples of it. The Authority garnered enough attention that it has had several analogues of it created – Joe Kelly’s The Elite are probably the most famous, seen most recently in the “Superman vs. the Elite” animated movie.