SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for The Wild Storm #11 by Warren Ellis, Jon Davis-Hunt, Steve Buccellato and Simon Bowland, on sale now.
Warren Ellis’ curated reimagining of the WildStorm Universe has changed a lot of what we know and expect from the characters and the setting, but while the ongoing plot of warring multinational espionage instituitons wages in the forefront of the book, behind the scenes it seems that Ellis is working to bring back his most popular contribution to the WildStorm Universe. Slowly but surely, more characters from Ellis and Bryan Hitch’s iconic noughties team The Authority are making their presence known and as they come into their own and discover just what they can do when they put their minds to it, the emergence of a new Authority seems inevitable and the absence of their most iconic members seems particularly conspicuous.
So far, The Wild Storm has introduced a number of characters we associate with The Authority, most notably The Engineer whose sudden arrival kickstarted the events of the story and left the shadowy organisations scrambling to catch up. In this new interpretation, Angela Spica was a medical engineer for Internation Operations who squirreled away alien tech and experimented on herself to create a “transdermal drysuit” stored within her skin. Forced on the run after saving the head of her company’s greatest competitor, her very public debut sent shockwaves through the world and ramped up the extranormal arms race currently being waged between Skywatch, HALO Corp and I.O.
Meanwhile, a bold new take on Jenny Sparks has been operating in the background for over a century collecting information on the different factions. While Jenny’s powers have always been electricity based, the new incarnation is much more digital and is able to use any electronic device to travel the world. If you pull up an image of London on your phone, she can use it to get there. Watching a TV show set in Hong Kong, there’s Jenny Sparks, walking in the background, hitchhiking her way around the globe.
Jenny recently hooked up with Shen-Li Min, who fans of the old WildStorm Universe will recognise as the winged hero Swift, but is also The Doctor of this reality. Swift actually became The Doctor towards the end of the WildStorm Universe’s original incarnation, so it’s more that Ellis has kept that around than changed anything too drastically, but Jenny and The Doctor have been able to compare notes to see that while a war is brewing between I.O. and Skywatch, there are some “anamolous individuals” such as themselves who slipped through the cracks, and Jenny wants to track them down. Meanwhile, this universe’s incarnation of Jack Hawksmoor is travelling from city to city, just waiting to be found by enterprising individuals such as Jenny and Shen-Li.
A Higher Authority
So that’s Jenny Sparks, The Doctor/Swift, The Engineer and Jack Hawksmoore accounted for but there are two very big omissions from The Authority’s line-up, and that’s Midnighter and Apollo. Last year, Ellis mentioned that he does plan to use both characters in the series but mentioned that they were a long way off. The Wild Storm is coming up to the halfway mark of its planned twenty-four issue run and there are still some spin-off series left to come too, along with the currently running The Wild Storm: Michael Cray series. The reveal of a new incarnation of Midnighter and Apollo would certainly shake-up the series and bring a lot of new eyes onto the project heading into its second year and allow a possible spin-off featuring The Authority, who haven’t had their own comic since November 2010.
The Authority was one of DC’s biggest hits of the 2000s and while it had a lot to say culturally and socially about society at the turn of the millennium, it’s arguably more necessary now than it ever has been. With the world more politically divided than ever, The Authority could once again be that socially relevant book that it never really was once Ellis and Hitch left the title. We need The Authority now more than ever, and it looks like all the signs are pointing towards a revival of the now-classic franchise in the very near future.