In June last year, Bleeding Cool scooped the gossip that Superman was going to be the new leader of The Authority. It was a big story, but plenty of people didn't believe it. The usual way of things. At the time, the comic book had recently seen Superman come out as being Clark Kent to the world, as well be described by critical media as King Of The Earth in relation to the United League Of Planets. He was then deputized by the United Nation as a temporary measure as a result but given a warning not to make any similar mistakes by the big espionage agents of the day. Becoming a new leader of The Authority seemed a natural next step. Then, of course, 5G and Infinite Frontier got in the way as Brian Bendis left the Superman books early.
Now it's a little more concrete. DC Comics is to publish Superman & The Authority, a new two-issue comic book by Grant Morrison, Mikel Janin and Jordie Bellaire. Seemingly with Superman, Midnighter, Apollo, Enchantress, Manchester Black, OMAC, Natasha Irons and a Flash of sorts. Here's the Amazon listing.
The Authority was a superhero comic book series created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, spinning out of their run on Stormwatch, published by DC Comics/Wildstorm, in 1999. The main characters Jenny Sparks, Midnighter, Apollo, The Doctor, Engineer, Jack Hawksmoor and Swift, The Authority was a team of independent superheroes who got the job done by any means necessary, from a position of extreme power. Ostensibly the good guys, the title of the series implied that this was only by circumstance, and their position was easily corruptible and their existence was a very bad thing for humanity indeed. The series was then followed with a grosser, grubbier take by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, a breakthrough book for both. The widescreen approach to superhero storytelling and the military take on superheroes would not only inform Marvel's The Ultimates directly but also the entire tone of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The popularity of The Authority was criticised by the Superman comics at the time, with Joe Kelly writing What's So Funny About Truth, Justice And The American Way with Superman fighting an Authority-like team The Elite, led by Jenny Sparks/Spider Jerusalem/Jack Hawksmoor composite Manchester Black – a character that has now spun off itself into other media.
After Ellis and Millar, however, The Authority never seemed to gel. Relaunched a number of times, including from Grant Morrison, sales were lower and critics were not kind. What was a mature readers comic book struggling in a PG rating, seemed fun and dangerous, but as a mature readers comic, became boring and predictable.
For Superman to lead The Authority means that a lot must have down regarding Superman's relationship to the rest of the Earth. Also that this is how DC is to bring The Authority back into continuity. After the New 52, characters were seen in the new Stormwatch series, and Midnighter and Apollo got their own books for a short time. Then DC chose to revive the Wildstorm titles in a series of books written or showrun by Warren Ellis, only for the WildCATS series to never get off the ground. While the Flash Forward epilogue by Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth indicated a return of the WildStorm characters as part of the Generations, 5G and New DC Timeline books.
There were mentions made of The Authority recently in Future State: Superman: Worlds At War by Midnighter, who is returning to the Superman books shortly. And now Grant Morrison, Mikel Janin and Jordie Bellaire. Look to the skies…