DC Studios has just announced an exciting new slate of films, with a lineup featuring well-known heroes like Superman and more obscure characters such as those in The Authority.
The Authority is based on the Wildstorm comics written by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, and provides a marked contrast to the rest of the DC Universe.
Operating outside the traditional hero-villain dynamic, The Authority is a team of superheroes in the DC Comics universe utilizing extreme methods to protect the Earth and maintain order. While the group is made up of lesser-known characters in the DC universe, they interact with well-known heroes such as Superman and Batman.
What is The Authority?
The Authority was first introduced in the Stormwatch comics written by Warren Ellis. The team consists of hyper-skilled tactician Midnighter, solar-powered powerhouse Apollo, an engineer whose blood is made up of nanites, winged warrior woman Swift, Jack Hawksmoor, who draws power from cities, and the Doctor, a shaman connected to the Earth's energies. Jenny Sparks, the electrically-powered spirit of the 20th century, leads the team.
Jenny formed The Authority with the intention of protecting the world at any cost, and the team often uses lethal measures to defeat their enemies. They don't shy away from causing collateral damage and answer to no nation.
The superhero team has traveled the world through the interdimensional pocket known as the Bleed. In many ways, the team is Ellis and Hitch's take on the popular question: What if the Justice League existed in the real world?
Midnighter and Apollo, who are in a romantic relationship, are clearly expies of Batman and Superman, and are two of the most prominent LGBTQ+ superheroes in the genre.
The Authority's lasting impact on comics
The group introduced several new techniques into comics that have since become widely used in the genre. One of the most significant is the popularity of the "widescreen" model of comics, where artists draw pages that resemble the bombastic action that often takes place in a summer blockbuster. Hitch excelled at this work and later brought it to JLA: Heaven's Ladder and The Ultimates.
The superhero series has also inspired several other comic book storylines. The now-classic Superman story What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way? in Action Comics #775 is a clear nod to The Authority.
The story features Elite, a group of vigilantes who, like The Authority, take ferocious measures when dealing with adversaries. The storyline grew in popularity and was later adapted into an animated film, Superman vs The Elite.
The connection to Superman
Grant Morrison and Mikel Janin later gave the superhero team a 21st-century makeover in their miniseries, Superman and the Authority. Superman has reformed the team in this series, which now consists of Black, Midnighter, Apollo, the latest iteration of OMAC, Supersonic Lightray, Natasha Irons as Steel, and the Enchantress.
With Superman's powers slowly waning, he entrusts the team to protect the world in his stead. The superhero team travels to Warworld to liberate it from the tyranny of Mongol and succeeds in freeing the people and even repowering Superman.
James Gunn has stated that his upcoming film, Superman: Legacy, will lead straight into The Authority, hinting at the potential inspiration he's drawing from this miniseries.
With The Authority, a Wildstorm is coming
According to James Gunn and Peter Safran, the movie will serve as a springboard for introducing new Wildstorm Universe characters in live-action and animation, including those from Gods and Monsters.
This is the first live-action adaptation of Wildstorm Comics, a powerful tool in expanding the DC Universe. Fans of the superhero team will be thrilled to see the classic characters come to life on the big screen, and newcomers will also be in for a treat.
The superhero team's rogue gallery is intriguing, and comic fans will be happy to see the return of foes such as Ha-Hacienda, the Engine, and Kaizen Gamorra. They have always been a hard-edged superhero team, and it will be interesting to see how Gunn and Safran bring that to the screen.
The Authority is an exciting addition to the DC Universe and could start a new era for DC Studios. With James Gunn and Peter Safran at the helm, fans can expect a film that is true to the source material, with a few modern twists thrown in for good measure.
Authority is a unique brand of superheroes that is different from anything else in the DC Universe, and it will be exciting to see how Gunn and Safran bring that to life. It could also open the door for many films set in the Wildstorm Universe, which is a win-win for fans of the comics and newcomers alike.