Who is DC’s The Authority?

Image via DC Comics

After teasing a big announcement towards the end of the month, James Gunn is letting us in on his plans for a bigger and better DCU. The new co-CEO of DC Studios released the full project slate for Chapter 1 of the new DCU era titled “Gods and Monsters.” Chapter 1 will consist of five HBO series and five new films, including some more obscure DC characters, such as the film about superhero collective The Authority.

For even the most passionate DC fans, The Authority might be an unfamiliar name. Gunn has a penchant for bringing niche content to the forefront of pop culture — and what better way to prove this than the number of lesser-known characters on the complete slate — and this will be the first time the team appears in on-screen DC media. If you’re not sure who The Authority is, here’s a guide to the super-powered group.

Who is The Authority?

The Authority
Image via Wildstorm / DC Comics

The Authority first appeared in a 1999 comic of the same name created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch for Wildstorm, a DC imprint, shortly after DC Comics acquired the comic company. One of Wildstorm’s first properties was Stormwatch, a group created by Jim Lee, who were a United Nations-funded super-team. After the UN shut down the project, some of the former Stormwatch members would go on to form a new group who answered to no political organization, acting only on their own “authority.”

Composed of a team of super-powered antiheroes, the Authority acts somewhat of a direct foil to the Justice League. These teammates have no oversight and thus, no reason to hold back against their enemies. With no qualms against harming others (including the citizens they’re protecting), the Authority is a much more violent group and they like it that way.

The group is originally made out of seven members. The original lineup consists of:

  • Jenny Sparks: An immortal woman born in 1900 who stopped aging in her late teens, Jenny Sparks has the ability to manipulate electricity. She’s a former member of Stormwatch and played a big part in forming the group.
  • Apollo: Basically The Authority’s answer to Superman. Apollo gets his powers from the sun and is blessed with super strength, flight, light manipulation, and invulnerability. He’s one of DC’s first openly gay characters and is married to teammate Midnighter.
  • Midnighter: If Apollo is Superman, Midnighter is The Authority’s Batman. He’s a supersoldier with enhanced physical abilities and senses and is one of the team’s most well-known members, thanks to his own comic series. He is married to teammate Apollo.
  • The Engineer: A woman who, through the act of merging herself with machines, can turn herself into liquid metal. She can control any machine and is able to shapeshift.
  • Swift: Swift has the ability to fly and manifest claws. She’s also very speedy while in flight (the Flash might have some competition).
  • Jack Hawksmoor: Jack was experimented on after being abducted by aliens and has enhanced strength and psychic abilities as a result. He is also known as the “God of Cities” as his powers allow him to form a symbiotic relationship with whatever city he is in.
  • The Doctor: A powerful magic-user (there’s a Doctor Strange reference in here somewhere), sometimes referred to as “The Shaman.”