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Comic Book / The Authority

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"We're here to give you a second chance. To make a world worth living in.
We are The Authority. Behave."
Jenny Sparks

Created by writer Warren Ellis and artist Bryan Hitch, The Authority took the standard superhero tropes and shook them up with a manga-influenced "widescreen" style that used splash pages and large panels to make the business of saving the world actually look impressive for once.

The original series appeared in May, 1999 as a Sequel Series to the recently-cancelled Stormwatch, where most of the team members first appeared—during Warren Ellis' run—as members of the Stormwatch Black Team Division. Ellis started The Authority by blowing up Moscow and continued in suitably bombastic fashion, threatening the Earth with an imperialistic army from an alternate universe and a battle with God itself. Hitch's detailed but kinetic panels conveyed the action with aplomb, and the series' style essentially spawned the trend for Decompressed Comics.

Later writers took the team in a slightly different direction. Picking up on the idea that the team originally formed to improve the world, not just save it, they had them executing dictators, defusing international crises and even pulling a coup d'etat on the US government itself. However, as Status Quo Is God, they have only rarely been able to effect any kind of serious change.

The team's original members were:

  • Jenny Sparks, "The Spirit of the 20th Century" (a woman who is reborn every 100 years, embodying that century's (or in past times, era's) central concept—in this case, electricity. She was the leader of Stormwatch's black-ops subteam, and assembled the Authority to continue their job on her terms).
  • Apollo, "The Sun God" (a Superman pastiche with powers of flight, indestructibility and laser vision, and the Midnighter's lover. A Super-Soldier who became a Phlebotinum Rebel from a Stormwatch splinter cell before reconciling with the main organization).
  • The Midnighter, "Night's Bringer of War" (a Batman pastiche who can work out how to win a fight in his head before it's even begun; he is also Apollo's lover and later husband. He shared an origin with his partner).
  • The Doctor, "The Shaman" (the mightiest magic-user on Earth and the latest in a long line of shamans to defend the planet; also an ex-junkie).
  • The Engineer, "The Maker" (a woman whose blood was replaced by nanotechnology, making her a Chrome Champion Gadgeteer Genius who can create her gadgets at will).
  • Jack Hawksmoor, "The King of Cities" (a man experimented on by aliens who were actually humans from the 70th century who has a symbiotic relationship with cities, granting Super-Strength and psychic abilities relating to a city and what happens within it. He was a member of Jenny's Stormwatch Black team).
  • Swift, "The World's Greatest Huntress" (a woman with the ability to grow wings and claws, low-level Flying Brick powers, and superhuman senses. Part of Jenny Sparks' Stormwatch team, and in fact the only character from pre-Ellis Stormwatch to survive into The Authority).

Both Jenny Sparks and The Doctor eventually died and were replaced by Legacy Characters, Jenny's next incarnation (Jenny Quantum) and another Doctor, respectively. By 2007, the other members remained in the team, and other characters, such as Rose Tattoo (Another ex-Stormwatch member and the Spirit of Murder, transformed by the current doctor into the Spirit of Life), joined.

As the series went on, the stories tended to get more and more outrageous, not to mention Anvilicious.

Rather aggressively satirized in the Superman comic book What's So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way? and its Animated Adaptation Superman vs. the Elite, in which their Expies beat up Superman, who was concerned about both their violent methods and the pointlessness of killing them when they appear to be a symptom of the times rather than the cause of it... and then demonstrated that they shouldn't have made him mad.

With the 2011 DC reboot, the Wildstorm characters were absorbed into the larger DC Universe, and the rebooted Authority characters became the core of a new Stormwatch. After their book ended in 2014, Midnighter went on to receive his own solo title, starting June 2015. The Wildstorm imprint would be revived with a brand new universe, with the first series, The Wild Storm, featuring a new team akin to the Authority, though they don't call themselves by any particular name. In 2021, as part of the DC Infinite Frontier initiative, the title will be revived as a four-issue mini-series called Superman and the Authority, which has the Man of Steel create his own team to help him liberate the alien slave world Warworld.

In January 2023, James Gunn and Peter Safran announced a feature film centered on the team as part of a slate of film and television projects comprising their re-vamp of the DC Extended Universe. In addition, members of the team are set to appear in the Superman reboot film Superman: Legacy ahead of their own movie.

If you’re looking for the WWE faction that began causing the downfall of the company, look here.

Authority-related series

  • "The Authority" vol. 1 (1999-2002). 29 issues.
  • "The Authority Annual" (2000). 1 issue.
  • "Jenny Sparks: The Secret History of the Authority" (2000-2001). 5 issues.
  • "The Authority: Kev" (2002). A one-shot, popular enough to gain sequels.
  • "The Authority" vol. 2 (2003-2004). 15 issues, numbering started with issue #0.
  • "The Authority: More Kev" (2004). 4 issues.
  • "The Authority: Revolution" (2004-2005). 12 issues.
  • "The Authority: The Magnificent Kevin" (2005-2006). 5 issues.
  • "The Authority" vol. 4 (2006-2007). 2 issues. Abortive attempt at relaunch. The project conflicted with the schedule of writer Grant Morrison and was abandoned.
  • "A Man called Kev" (2006-2007). 5 issues.
  • "Authority: Prime" (2007-2008). 6 issues.
  • "The Authority" vol. 5 (2008-2011). 29 issues.
  • "The Secret History of The Authority: Jack Hawksmoor" (2008). 6 issues.
  • "The Authority: The Lost Year" (2010). 10 issues. Continuation of vol. 4, starting numbering with issue #3.

The Authority series contains examples of:

  • After the End: The current state of the Wildstorm universe.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: The Elite in the Superman story What's So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way? were essentially a stand-in for The Authority created by Wildstorm's parent company DC, their debut story having the purpose of spelling out how Superman's methods of heroics were far superior and the Authority were ultimately no better than their opponents.
  • Always Someone Better: The Authority basically assumed they were the baddest asses in the Wildstorm universe, and everyone else in the Wildstorm universe thought that way too. And then they met a guy named Captain Atom...
  • Ascended Fangirl: Angie was a big superhero fan before becoming one herself.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: During Kaizen Gamorra's all out assault on Los Angeles we get this exchange between the Doctor and and Midnighter
    The Midnighter: What happened to you?
    The Doctor: I reforested Los Angeles.
    The Midnighter: Ask a stupid question.
  • Attack Pattern Alpha: When fleet of Sliding Albion attacks Los Angeles, their leader orders them to assume "Waterloo formation". Which, apparently, amounts to "just fly in every direction and blow up anything you see".
  • Author Avatar: During Mark Millar's run, Jack Hawksmoor was pretty much transformed into Millar's political mouthpiece. And he wasn't subtle about it either.
  • Artifact Title: The later Kevin stories don't feature the Authority in the slightest despite being in the title.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: The Midnighter starts every battle by first running the whole thing through the supercomputer in his head a million times, analyzing every possible outcome, so he'll know precisely how the battle will go, and what he'll have to do. He's particularly fond of telling people that he's already beaten them a million times, so doing it once more will be simple.
    • He even puts this on a business card once in an effort to save time, This failed, as the card ended up getting punched into his forehead. Ouch.
    • This was rather effectively inverted in Captain Atom: Armageddon. The Midnighter saw Captain Atom as just another target for a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Instead, Captain Atom treated the Midnighter to a total Curb-Stomp Battle, showing that sometimes Awesome by Analysis is no match for raw, unadulterated, world-shaking power.
    • Also fails when a supervillain summons the Joker of all people. The Joker despite being human, is so psychotic and unpredictable that the only thing Midnighter can do is stand there... staring at him.
  • Badass Boast: The Midnighter loves delivering these.
    Midnighter: [To a super powered goon] Let me make this situation clear for you. I know what special abilities you have. I can see the enhancements. I can detect the increased electrical activity in your brain. I know what moves you're preparing to make. I've fought our fight already in my head, in a million different ways. I can hit you without you even seeing me. I'm what soldiers dream of growing into. I'm what children see when they first imagine what death is like. I'm the Midnighter. Put the child down.
    • Unfortunately, this gets flipped around later on, when Warrior King Regis delivers one of these to the Midnighter while simultaneously kicking his ass.
    Regis: I can see inside your head, white boy. Did you think your little fight enhancements would let you kill me? You've never fought anything like me, boy. I am Regis. I have been raping and killing better humans than you for half a millennium. That's it. Fight me. Try to hurt me. I've lost count of how many men's fingers and women's nails have shattered on my skin. Your mothers and sisters will bear my children. You cannot stop me. Burn Albion, burn Europe—it won't matter. I am Regis, warrior king of this entire filthy planet—and I will wipe myself with your skin when I'm done violating yours.
    • Jenny Quantum takes after her adoptive dad in this regard, telling Captain Atom who she is, pointing out that Quantum Physics replaced Nuclear Physics. Atom is mostly just bemused, and when she does go for him, she gets vaporised, by accident.
  • Badass Long Coat: Midnighter wears one quite nicely.
  • Badass Normal: Averted rather sharply; unlike his inspiration, Midnighter is most definitely not a normal, but a cyborg Super-Soldier with a computerized brain and superhuman physical abilities.
    • For all his Butt-Monkey status is played for laughs, Kev Hawkins is one of these. No, he doesnt stand a ghost's piss of a chance against superpowered opponents in a straight fight, but he's still a trained Special Forces agent who uses Combat Pragmatist tactics for all they're worth.
  • Badass and Baby: Midnighter and baby Jenny Quantum.
  • Bad Boss: When the Authority is replaced with new corporate versions of themselves the groups new team leader The Colonel fits this trope perfectly. In sharp contrast to his predecessor Jenny Sparks, The Colonel is very open about his disdain for his fellow teammates. And has no problem with dumping the corpse of his teammate Street out of The Carrier ship as if he was a piece of used up trash. But he saves the brunt of his mistreatment for poor Rush. Who he both physically and verbally abuses whenever she so much as questions his judgment.
  • Bad Future: Midnighter was shown a future where The Authority ruled the world in The Authority: Revolution. He ended up becoming a brutal, brain damaged dictator.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: The Engineer, post-Ellis, as she needed to use her nanotech to create a helmet and breathing apparatus during his run. Quite possibly Midnighter himself, as he claims to be able to survive in anaerobic environments.
    • Midnighter is shown using a rebreather to meet up with Apollo when he has to live over the cloud that blocks the sun in later issues. He did say he could briefly survive in such, so maybe it doesn't work for long term exposure.
    • Averted in the most badass way possible when Apollo is asked how he too can breathe in space:
      Apollo: I don't.
      The Engineer: Just like that?
      Apollo: Well, I'd look pretty silly if I tried, wouldn't I?
  • Best Woman: The Engineer appears to be filling this role for Apollo at his wedding to the Midnighter.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: On a normal day, Apollo is easily the most pleasant and idealistic of the group; it's hard to make him truly furious. On the rare occasions it happens, though, his anger is a terrifying, city-wrecking, burninating sight to behold.
  • Beware the Superman: Between Knight Templarish, brutally violent superheroes and supervillains that kill millions For the Evulz, Muggles of Wildstorm universe live their lives in constant fear. You know it is bad, when the first reflexive reaction of the people upon seeing a previously-unknown super is to beg for mercy.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: While the Authority tend to be violent and brutal, a lot of its villains are arguably orders of magnitude worse. Memorable examples include Kaizen Gamorra, who killed millions for fun, or Regis, who headed an empire on an alternate Earth that turned all of China into a rape camp. It doesn't help that the leaders of the countries the Authority fight to protect have the habit of being revealed as morally bankrupt or outright stupid. Like when they created the G7 Authority and subjected the originals to horrific treatments. Or the US government who were easily manipulated into making a botched attempt to enter the Bleed, despite being warned this was a really bad idea, to try and exploit other worlds and killing the entire state of Florida.
  • Black Dude Dies First: When the Midnighter goes after the new G7 Authority his first victim is the team's only black member Street.
  • Bloody Murder: The Engineer can use the nanites in her blood to make just about anything.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: When the cabal of wealthy private citizens that secretly run the world decide that they have finally had enough of the Authority and their attempts to change the status quo they send Seth, their Super Super-Soldier, to take the team down. Seth easily defeats and disables every one of the Authority without even smallest amount of difficulty, firing, consuming and blowing them all to pieces... and then he hands them over to his superiors who do not kill the Authority, but instead decide to imprison and torture them for months instead of just executing them. Swift in particular is kept as a Sex Slave and servant to one of the Cabal without any sort of security or monitoring after being conditioned, so once she hears enough to learn how to defeat Seth she just kills the entire cabal and gets the rest of the team together.
  • Bowdlerize: The series got hit hard with this during Mark Millar's run. Certain panels that depicted extreme violence or suggestive material had to be altered or completely redrawn, in order to meet the publisher's discretion guidelines. Here are some of the more infamous examples:
    • The very first issue in which the Authority lays siege to Jakarta has all references to the name of the country removed. Instead it is simply identified as "somewhere in Southeast Asia". Interestingly the depiction of Jakarta's President Habibie is left intact. Presumably because the publisher believed that the readers wouldn't recognize him anyway.
    • In Issue 14 during The Authority's fight with a team of supervillains who are obviously modeled after famous Marvel heroes, red filters were added to obscure some of the more graphic kills. One particularly memorable example has The Engineer blowing up a Hulk Expy in space and then flipping him off. The redrawn panel obscures the gore with the aforementioned red filter and The Engineer is instead drawn flashing the palms-inverted version of the V sign. Which is the British equivalent of flipping the bird. Which makes no sense seeing as how The Engineer isn't even British.
    • Any depiction of then newly-elected President of the United States George W. Bush was removed and replaced with a nameless President who bore a striking resemblance to President Merkin Muffley from Dr. Strangelove. Which fits the over-the-top nature of the series quite appropriately.
  • Breaking Speech: The Midnighter delivers a devastating one to a Iron Man analogue. It proves so effective that the Iron Man wannabe simply takes off his helmet, hands it to the Midnighter... and calmly walks away never to be seen or referenced ever again (although he sends Midnighter a thank you letter at the end of the storyline).
    Midnighter: The real question here is whether killing me is going to make you feel more worthwhile, or are you still going to that damp little cell you eat and sleep in. Will you still be alone tonight with your sexual power fantasies about the people who boss you around?
    Thug: Shut the hell up!
    Midnighter: I've been there, man. I know what it's like to be in one of those black ops units where you can't even remember your own name. I didn't have a conversation in years. Nobody cares if you live or die. If anything happens to you, they'll just make another one. Nobody's interested in what you've got to say. You're just a weapon with a larynx. God, you're probably forty years old and you've never even been held have you?
  • Breeding Slave: Regis heads an empire on an alternate Earth that turned all of China into a rape camp in an attempt to produce offspring for his dying race.
  • Calling Card: Kaizen Gamorra in the original storyline, symbolically drawing his family's symbol (a circle with three knots) on the Earth, with Moscow, London, and Los Angeles as the knots.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Issues 23-26 of the original run (a Filler arc which starred the replacement Authority created after Seth dispatched the originals) were never referenced again, removed from collected volumes and featured very contradictory characterization.
  • The Cape: An analysis at Too Busy Thinking About Comics points out that the heroes of the Authority under Ellis/Hitch, once the violence and counter culture are stripped from them, are closer to the oldest school superheroes, lacking even the sort of conflict introduced by Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: A Man Called Kev, the last Kev arc. While it also has humorous elements like in the previous Kev arcs, the story is notably darker and more somber in tone. Also noteworthy is the fact that none of the Authority make an appearance in the arc.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Jenny Quantum. She looks about 14, really about 8. Either way, she does her name proud.
  • Civilians Are Irrelevant: The book goes both ways about this, both times applying hefty amounts of violence to achieve results:
  • Clark Kenting: Alluded to/averted.
  • Close on Title: Each issue of the mini-series The Secret History of the Authority: Jack Hawksmoor.
  • Clothing Damage: Apollo. This sort of thing happens to him in every. Single. Fight.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: The Engineer's nanites.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Jenny Sparks is visually based on the model Kate Moss.
  • Corrupted Character Copy: The villains of Mark Millar's first arc were this for the heroes of the Marvel Universe with their boss being a twisted version of Jack Kirby who was initially willing to kill a baby. The Americans, the stand-ins for The Avengers were led by a Depraved Bisexual rapist version of Captain America and the Iron Man expy destroys the maternity ward of a hospital. The same arc also featured a bigoted version of Nick Fury who openly mentions his disdain for Mexicans, Asians, black people and the French. According to an issue of of Wizard Magazine, this is also a case of one that pissed off the original franchise's owners, as Marvel wasn't happy about how they acted.
  • Corrupted Contingency:
    • The G7 cabal who gave Seth his powers also made sure to install a Trigger Phrasenote  that would shut down his powers in the event they needed to remove Seth from play. The Authority learn of this phrase and Jenny Quantum speaks it to De-power him, removing the cabal's most dangerous weapon.
    • The Children of Gamorra have a fortress built to withstand a superhuman assault. The Authority lock them inside it and then destroy it with the Children of Gamorra still inside it.
  • Crapsack World: The team runs into these every now and then, like Sliding Albion, where humans and aliens have lived peacefully since the 16th Century, but went on so many world wars that most civilizations are destroyed, the world is literally poisoned, both races are slowly dying, China has been turned into a giant rape camp, and all is ruled by a mad dictator and mass murderer. Or the alternate Earth where a maniac called Adolf X had exterminated all non-black people on the planet and created a fascist dictatorship. Or the Earth where life is controlled by an Eldritch Abomination that feeds on our life energy, its whole presence causes general misery to some people and occasionally makes them commit suicide or other horrible acts. Other than that, it's a world exactly like ours.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In Captain Atom: Armageddon, the team goes up against a guy who can swat them down like flies, and does so.
  • Cure Your Gays: John Clay makes unsuccessful attempts to "cure" Apollo and Midnighter of their homosexuality in the "Godhead" arc of Robbie Morrison's run.
  • Decompressed Comic: Trope Codifier
  • Deep South: One of The Authority's worst foes was Seth, who was a personification of almost every rural stereotype in the book, given 1,024 different superpowers and set on them by the G7 leaders. When he's finally defeated, they punish him by turning him into seven chickens and then bringing him home to his seven uncles.
  • Depending on the Artist:
    • In the second volume of The Authority, halfway through there is a different artist, and everyone suddenly looks grittier, wrinkled, and pouty lipped. Jack Hawksmoore and Apollo are particularly victim to this in regards to making them look almost repugnant.
    • Midnighter's hair color seemed to switch with every artist. Eventually a writer just had him say he likes dying his hair.
  • Depending on the Writer: Abnett and Lanning's 17-issue run showed the Authority in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, working closely with civilians to protect them from outside threats, risking their own lives when half of them had been Brought Down to Normal, and generally being very human and relateable. Come January of 2010, and issue #18 by Bernardin and Freeman shows the Authority casually abandoning said civilians, including such gems as Midnighter wearing Spikes of Villainy and beating up an old man who protests. Mood Whiplash ensues.
  • Destroyer Deity: Rose Tatoo, the incarnation of murder.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Regis seems to be quite fond of this trope. He murders Windsor, the king of Albion (appointed by Regis himself) by crushing his skull - just because he verbally disrespected him.
  • Doppelganger Link: The Engineer has a mental link to the duplicates of herself she creates using her Nanomachines. She can create up to 82 duplicates, but going further will cause her personality to dissociate. The Engineer can also limit the mental connection between herself and her clones through concentration as seen by when she stopped herself and her other clones from experiencing an orgasm one clone had during sex with Jack.
  • Electronic Telepathy: the radiotelepathy network the team uses.
  • End of the World as We Know It: Happens twice, the first time supposedly, because nothing really changes as a result and the whole event is quickly forgotten by writers, the second time for real, with Earth being reduced to a blasted wasteland, very laws of nature twisted, and most of the Authority depowered.
  • Evil Counterpart: After their defeat at the hands of Seth, the Authority was replaced by corporate versions of each member:
    • The Colonel, a violent, misogynistic British ex-footballer with electrical powers. (Jenny Sparks)
    • Street, an African-American gangster with golems formed from pavement (Jack Hawksmoor)
    • Rush, an inoffensive Canadian woman with wings (Swift)
    • Teuton, a bi-curious and overly emotional solar-powered German heavy (Apollo)
    • Last Call, a sadistic and homophobic Italian brawler (Midnighter)
    • The Surgeon, an amoral French alchemist, given control over the Doctor's powers
    • Machine, a callous Japanese woman using the Engineer's stolen blood
  • Experimented in College: The Engineer. In the "Green Inferno" arc, the renegade (and bluntly homophobic) ex-Doctor disdainfully challenges the team with the phrase "Poofs first". It's obviously aimed at Apollo and The Midnighter, but Angie steps forward first, with a cool:
    Engineer: Does a brief lesbian fling in college count, Doctor?
  • Expy:
    • Apollo and Midnighter fill roughly the same roles on their team as Superman and Batman, respectively.
    • Word of God, the villains of Ellis' three arcs:
    For those who need the cheat sheet, THE AUTHORITY was a twelve-episode superhero fiction series where the eponymous team fight Fu Manchu, Ming the Merciless and God (dressed up as Cthulhu).
  • Extradimensional Power Source: The Authority's ship is powered by a baby universe.
  • Extreme Omnisexual: Swift. She once mentioned to a dumbfounded parallel version of herself that she will have sex with anyone she wants to. She even hits on her during their fight to emphasize that point.
  • Flanderization: The team became more and more sociopathic and homicidal as time passed, especially compared to Ellis' version. Usually justified by Jenny Sparks being a Morality Chain for the team.
    • Outright lampshaded during Ed Brubaker's Revolution mini, where it's stated Jenny Sparks would be revolted by what the group has become. The story eventually ends with Jenny Q and the Engineer acknowledging that they're back where they started, which was—in a meta sense—the entire point of the story; To return the Authority to the Ellis days and to give the team a moral and emotional anchor in the form of a Jenny old enough to boss them around again. Subsequent stories naturally ignored this and had the Authority as amoral psychos once more.
  • Foreign Ruling Class: Sliding Albion is part of an alternate reality in which an alien race called the Blue conquered Italy prior to its formal unification, intermarried with the various ruling families, and then used the resulting mix of political, military, and technological might to take over the rest of the world. Consequently, Albion has a twofold foreign ruling class, as they are taking orders from Italians who are in turn taking orders from the Blue.
  • Friend to All Children: Kids love Midnighter, probably because they can spot a badass a mile away. For his part, Midnighter's pretty fond of kids, especially Jenny Quantum.
  • Genius Loci: All cities, as long as Jack's there to talk to them.
  • Get Back in the Closet: In a textbook example of this trope, a panel depicting Apollo and Midnighter kissing was censored, while apparently Apollo getting raped by another man is just fine, as long as it's not pictured.
  • A God Am I: Jenny Sparks was never known for her humility, but her flipping off God crosses the line into this when she says that the Earth is "under new management".
  • Goo-Goo-Godlike: Jenny Quantum's reality-bending powers manifest when she's about three days old, and she immediately starts using them to help the Authority.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: This quote from Jack says is all that needs to be said.
    Jack Hawksmoor: You realize you're talking to a man with a human head in his hands who has every intention of using it to beat these people to death?
  • Hayseed Name: Seth Angus Billy Cletus Bubba Jamie Clement Cowie is unsurprisingly a hillbilly.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Swift can, uh, fly! And grow claws! But these powers are actually very effective since she is fast and strong enough to tear apart jet fighters from other dimensions and Speedsters.
    • Especially true in the post Number of the Beast setting: Swift is now one of two Authority members (the other being Midnighter) whose powers still function reliably. Jenny Quarx and the Doctor are missing or presumed dead. Consequently, she's now tied for the position of most effective member of the group.
  • Hero Insurance: The Authority are one of the few superhero teams who acknowledge that the massive collateral damage from their battles can and probably has caused civilian casualties. The general understanding is that it's an unfortunate but necessary evil, since allowing their enemies to rampage unchecked would cause even more death and destruction. It's also worth noting that they try to limit the damage when possible, such as evacuating civilians and fencing in the combat zone, and are frequently on hand afterwards to help with the emergency services dealing with the aftermath.
  • Hero's Evil Predecessor: One of Doctor Jeroen Thornedike's predecessors, known only as the Renegade Doctor, was an Omnicidal Maniac. After Jeroen suffered a heroin overdose during a crisis, the Authority was forced to restore his predecessor's powers in order to fix the crisis. Luckily for them, in the intervening years, the Garden of Ancestral Memory had added "empathy with all living things" to the list of powers that came with the job, which overwhelmed the Renegade Doctor, distracting him long enough for the Authority to finally kill him.
  • Hillbilly Incest: The monstrous Three-Willy Seth is supposedly the product of a bunch of hillbillies gang-raping their sister.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: The first story arc of Midnighter's 2007 solo series is about him being coerced into going back in time and killing Adolf Hitler.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Kev Hawkins.
  • Hollywood Tactics: This seems to be the only reason why modern jet fighters are losing the battle against the fleet of Sliding Albion. Despite their futuristic outlook and ability to fire laser tic-tacs, the latter ones are visibly inferior to former ones in every way, courtesy of Schizo Tech. They have crude avionics that still rely solely on gauges, no computerized interface nor guidance systems, primitive flight suits akin to those used in first half of twentieth century (which would greatly limit the pilot's ability to withstand the pressure caused by acceleration force - and thus, hinder the speed and maneuverability of the aircraft itself) and can fire their weapons only in line of sight like WW2 fighters. Modern jets, that can take out a target from beyond visual range and whose pilots are greatly assisted by sophisticated computer systems, should make short work on such machines. Instead, they fight the Sliding Albion craft at suicidally close quarters, basically setting themselves up to be shot down and apparently make zero use of guidance systems, firing their missiles completely blindly. Suffice to say, this is absolutely not how modern fighters would operate.
    • What makes the above more egregious is that this scene could be a refreshing change where modern, real-world military is capable of fighting supernatural threat at least to a degree. Instead, they are deliberately made incompetent, just so the Authority could pull off their Big Damn Heroes moment as usual, and show once again how the world is totally helpless without them and reliant on their protection.
  • Holy Halo: Apollo, whose halo gets dimmer when weak and brighter after a good sunbath.
  • Homeworld Evacuation: The Authority do this in one arc, evacuating the planet's entire population so as to cause less collateral damage when fighting a superpowered villain.
  • Hostile Terraforming: The Authority battles God ("The Outer Dark" issues 9-12). Earth's creator is a moon-sized alien being that created the planet as a retirement home. Since Earth's creation, changes to its orbit and ecosystem led to the rise of life as we know it, instead of somewhere its creator would be comfortable. God immediately sets about "fixing" that.
  • HULK MASH!-Up: A nameless version briefly appears (alongside other Avengers-ripoffs) in one arc, and is dispatched when he latches on to the Engineer by flying high enough in the atmosphere that he suffers Explosive Decompression.
  • Humongous Mecha: Jack Hawksmoor can turn entire cities into this.
  • I Have a Family: One super powered mook tried using this on the Midnighter. Emphasis on tried. What's the Midnighter's respond? He slices the man's head off with a staff, and quips: "They're better off without you!"
  • Implied Rape: The Commander's rape of the nurses of the hospital where Jenny Quantum was born and Apollo was handled like this. The former with Hornet questioning "He's not really gonna do them, is he?" and Tank Man confirming it and the latter with his standing over Apollo and adjusting his belt afterward. It should also be noted that the former case is the result of DC's interference as the original dialogue for the scene does have Hornet outright ask Tank Man if Commander was going to rape themnote .
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Despite being a depraved rapist and an overall unpleasant individual, The Commander was valid in stating how absurd it is for the Authority, a group made up of seriously flawed and damaged individuals, to think they would have the right to tell the rest of the world how to live their lives under the guise of building a "better world".
  • Jobber: There was a period where the Authority didn't have their own ongoing series, yet were still supposed to be the most powerful superhero team of their Earth. This led to the team only being used so that they could be jerks to the protagonists of other series, then swatted down to show off how cool those other heroes were. Examples include Stormwatch: Team Achilles, and Gail Simone's Gen¹³ (where they substitute "realize what jerks they're being" for "swatted down"). Notably not the case in Captain Atom: Armageddon, where they were portrayed as the badasses they are... it's just they were up against a bigger Badass than they were.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Jenny Sparks.
  • Knight Templar: The heroes kill or threaten to kill anyone who opposes them.
  • Legacy Character: Quite a few. Angie's the second Engineer, a new Doctor is made every time the old one dies, and a different Jenny is born to every age of mankind.
  • Leg Cling: Kev receives one from Midnighter and his evil boss on one of the Kev covers. He does not look in the slightest bit pleased.
  • Lightning Bruiser: At least half the team. Jenny Sparks was choosy.
  • Living Polyhedron: God takes the form of a pyramid large enough to house ecosystems capable of supporting advanced civilizations in its bowels.
  • Made of Plasticine: Most anyone Midnighter gets his hands on. In one case he rips a guy's skull and spine right out.
    • Actually seems to be even more pronounced with Jack Hawksmoor, at least in the earlier series when it was a more ensemble book, not so much Midnighter and Friends. Midnighter, brutal as he is, does use finesse; Jack just wails away with his superstrength. He kicks guys' spines out on several occasions.
  • Manly Gay: Apollo and Midnighter, especially the latter.
  • Martial Pacifist: Swift. She's a self-admitted Buddhist and strictly abhors violence despite using it for the reason that doing so would prevent the occurrence of more violence and death. However, later issues shows that she is a Buddhist in name only as she displays a devil-may-care attitude to killing opponents regardless of threat level and a willingness to have anonymous sex with anyone with comedic consistency.
  • Might Makes Right: The Authority, at their worst, believes being the most powerful superhuman team on Earth allows them to do whatever they please whenever they wish. Especially when they have Jenny Sparks and the Doctor on their roster.
  • Monumental Damage: The series really loves this trope. The first few panels of the very first issue depicts the Kremlin as well as most of Moscow being blown to kingdom come by an army of superhuman clones. Whom later go on to attack London and blow up Big Ben. All of which happens in the first issue.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Jeroen. Every other Doctor as well. In fact, the only Doctor who is explicitly confirmed to have actually been a doctor(he was a heart surgeon) was an Omnicidal Maniac who had the position of The Doctor revoked.
  • Most Common Superpower: Lampshaded. Swift makes no secret of her "twenty-grand boob job".
  • Mother Nature, Father Science: Inverted. The Doctor is in tune with the whole universe and deeply tied to nature, and is Always Male; Jenny, reborn to every age of mankind, embodies that age's dominating technological advancement, and is Always Female.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In the above-mentioned Intercontinuity Crossover. Nice job blowing up the universe and causing the cosmic reboot, The Authority.
    • Also Jenny Sparks in her mini solo series. Apparently during her brief time in Austria she felt sympathetic for a young artist trying to sell self-made postcards to passers-by. She decided to tell the poor lad he had absolutely no talent for art and should just stop trying. She thought he DID have a talent for rhetoric and therefore advised him to try politics. The said artist's name? Yeah.
  • Night and Day Duo: Apollo and Midnighter, a married couple. Apollo is a Superman Substitute whose Flying Brick/energy manipulation powers are fueled by solar energy, while Midnighter is an Awesome by Analysis cybernetic cowled vigilante.
  • "No More Holding Back" Speech: When under the writing of Warren Ellis the series featured quite a few memorable examples of these.
    The Engineer: "I fight people. Go to war. I don't have experiments, I have things that need to be solved or people die. I don't drink gin and bitter lemon until I fall over, I don't have sex with my ex-boyfriend every Thursday, I don't eat clams on Mulberry Street. I'm not Angie any more. I'm the Engineer."
    Jack Hawksmoor: "So why do you do it?"
    The Engineer: "Because somebody needs to."
    • Later on during Warren Ellis' final arc on the series Jenny Sparks delivers one to god himself
      Jenny Sparks: "I don't know if you can hear me out there. I don't even know if you even have a language. But here's the deal. It took me a long time to work out what I was here for, and here at the end of the century I finally sorted it out. I'm here to save the earth. I'm here to get us all through the century. You might think this planet behind us is yours to use, but here's the news: this earth is under new management. This world is mine."
  • Nominal Hero: The team started out as extremely violent against potential world-ending threats, and was perfectly willing to kill thousands of invading superhuman terrorists, or cause extreme collateral damage and loss of innocent lives in doing so. However, this is no different from the actions of regular soldiers, and could initially have been argued as type III, as they were extremely benevolent in other respects: such as helping to clear up the disaster zones after any conflict; feeding and hosting millions of war refugees, or victims of other disasters; protecting them from militias; freeing them from tyrannies through much less human casualties than a standard military could manage (through outgunning scare tactics); reforming supergenius criminals to help their research for cures to various diseases or life-improving technologies; and overall genuinely making the world a better place. However, later writers who didn't like the themes arguably severely flanderised and tried to twist around the more idealistic notes that Ellis introduced, so among other things the team was tricked into "overthrowing the government of the US, and briefly taking over".

    However, the actions of the team during their takeover of the United States definitely lean towards the Nominal Hero sobriquet of their team, especially since Jack Hawksmoor had ordered two buildings to morph in order to help an injured Swift while blatantly saying he didn't care that the civilians inside the buildings would most likely be killed.
  • Oh, Crap!: Don't cross Midnighter (or worse, hurt Apollo), or you will wear this expression. For either two seconds or until your face rots off.
    • A prime example is when Apollo is subdued and then raped by a member of a government-sponsored superteam given the directive to neutralize The Authority. In a later confrontation this same super is paralyzed from the waist down by Apollo and the last we see of him is a look of horror on his face as The Midnighter stands over him with an evil grin, holding a rusty, but operational jackhammer. Make whichever Dr. Horrible references you deem appropriate.
    • And many more, such as Kaizen Gamorra watching as the Midnighter pilots the Carrier on a collision course with his skyscraper fortress in the first arc.
    • This was the look on Midnighter's face, right before Captain Atom tosses an unconscious Apollo at him in Captain Atom: Armageddon.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Alternate universe Authority versions.
    Midnighter: Well, how does it feel to see yourself with breasts and six months pregnant with a little baby Hawksmoor, Jack?
    Jack Hawksmoor: Kind of glad I never stuck around to meet the father.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Most of the major arc opponents are these. They come upon the Authority unprepared and hand them their own asses, then the Authority work out how to deal with them, and return the favour.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Swift is frequently this compared to her teammates, despite having powers roughly equivalent to Hawkgirl, who frequently holds her own amongst the rest of the JLA.
  • Paid-for Family: In a decidedly creepy variation, in one story that has The Authority replaced by Heroic Sociopath Captain Ersatz-es, the Engineer has all her nanomachines removed and is brainwashed, then placed in a "family" of evil children and an abusive husband (all actors), that she will be conditioned to never leave or go against despite the abuse they heap on her.
  • Parody Episode: The eighth issue of "The Lost Year", where the Authority visit an Alternate Universe which is essentially a Fusion Fic with Justice League International. Alternate Swift is The Ingenue as a pastiche of "Captain Whitebread-excuse us-Marvel", while that universe's Apollo and Midnighter are Have-We-Mentioned-We-Are-Heterosexual-Today Life Partners who always have a half-baked Get-Rich-Quick Scheme in mind (although they're still preparing to adopt Jenny Quantum together).
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Makes no mistake: the Authority will treat their enemies as bad or worse than those same enemies do other people. Midnighter slammed the Carrier into Kaizen Gamorra, and the Authority's response to the Blue's invasion of their Earth is to go to the Earth the Blue took over and destroy its London and Italy. One infamous incident had implied Apollo was raped by a Captain America expy. After Apollo crippled him, his lover Midnighter, walked up to the man holding a jackhammer, implying he intended to use it to return the favor.
  • Pet the Dog: An extremely rare Midnighter example. When an Iron Man Expy is about to execute him, Midnighter is able to talk him out of it (which is a feat unto itself) while delivering an extremely effective Breaking Speech that proves so effective that the Iron Man Expy is left a psychological train wreck. Cut to the next panel, where we see the Midnighter and the goon actually embracing one another with a hug. Even Jack is impressed.
    Hawksmoor: We're supposed to be killing these militaristic scumbags, not bonding with them. Take him out!
    Midnighter: Why bother? He's already shattered into a thousand pieces.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Mark Millar's first arc had Midnighter admit out-loud that he was a racist after getting tired of dealing with some refugees the team had taken on. To be fair though, they had been sharing the Carrier with thousands of dirt-poor refugees for quite some time at that point, and the statement read more like Midnighter wanted them gone because the overpopulation stress caused him to have thoughts about these people that he wasn't proud of, making him realize his subconscious racism. He wasn't casually flinging racist slurs around or anything like that.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain:
    • Seth being a laundry list of every negative rural stereotype you can think of evidently includes being homophobic and racist, as he mocks Apollo and Midnighter for being gay and, when talking down to Jack Hawksmoor, belittles the Authority's methods of superheroics while stereotyping black people as "purse-snatchers" and referring to them using the N-word.
    • The G7 version of The Authority gives us The Colonel. A repugnant, misogynistic, xenophobic asshole and damn proud of it. He even attempts to rape his teammate Rush when she makes it clear she's not attracted to men. And then there's Last Call, a reactionary homophobe who takes sadistic glee in beating the crap out of Apollo and taunting him over the unlikelihood that Apollo's boyfriend Midnighter survived Seth's attack.
    • If somebody says anything even remotely homophobic in the Midnighter's comic book series, they're evil. Period. Sole exception is Kev, who in the end admits to himself he repeats homophobic slurs, because he got his idea how tough guys should act from TV and movies.
    • The Renegade Doctor is racist (he downplays his massacre of 12 million people by dismissing that most of his victims were "Sambos"), homophobic (he calls Midnighter and Apollo "poofs" and "queens") and misogynist (he uses his powers to go back in time and molest the Engineer when she was a teenager, then returns with a Post-Rape Taunt).
    • The Corrupted Character Copy of Nick Fury from Millar's first arc proudly boasted about his racism and xenophobia while he attacked Paris, gloating that he considered French people to be even less human than Mexicans, Asians and black people.
    • In the "Godhead" arc of Robbie Morrison's run, the villain is John Clay, founder of a religious movement called the Church of Transcendence. His plan involves wiping out proponents of other religions and attempting to cure Midnighter and Apollo of their homosexuality.
    • The Authority: Revolution begins with the Authority clashing with the Sons of Liberty, a group of nationalistic reactionaries whose member Johnny Rocketman even insults the Chinese Swift using racial slurs. They turn out to be pawns of Henry Bendix, whose minion Samson has a fight with Apollo where he addresses him using a certain homophobic slur rhyming with "maggot".
  • Portal Door: How the Authority come and go.
  • Post-Rape Taunt:
    • The Commander mocked Apollo and the Authority after raping him.
    • Likewise, the Renegade Doctor, after returning from raping a high school-aged Angela, mocked the Engineer with what he did to her.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: While the Authority have always been heavy hitters, they all had reasonable limitations when written by Ellis, such as Angie's limited supply of nanoblood to use as weaponry and Jack's inability to survive outside of a city. Millar ignored this entirely when he took over and gave several characters new powers to boot, and almost all later writers have kept them at their new power level or higher.
  • Prophetic Names: Jenny Sparks, Jenny Quantum.
  • Proportionately Ponderous Parasites: Inside the god-like pyramid creature... which has developed into a full civilization!
  • Rabble Rouser: In one iteration, the team fought against a group of patriotic heroes who were essentially expies of DC's Freedom Fighters. Among these was the Uncle Sam expy Paul Revere, whose powers included the ability to rile up crowds.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: When the Authority takes control of the United States of America, they still continue their normal crime-fighting while running the country.
  • Rape and Revenge:
    • As mentioned below, the Commander raped Apollo. The last we see of him, it's implied that Midnighter intends to return the favor—with a jackhammer. Likewise, Midnighter saved Apollo when Teuton tried to do it himself.
    • Arguably the deaths of the Rengades Doctor and G7 Authority fall into this, given the former went back in time to sexually assault the Engineer during their fight and the latter, in addition to Teuton's actions, were party to Engineer and Swift being brainwashed into sex slaves.
  • Rape as Drama:
    • During the arc about Sliding Albion, it's revealed that several countries of the eponymous alternate Earth were turned into rape camps.
    • The Commander, a Corrupted Character Copy of Captain America does this to a couple of nurses during a mission to find the infant Jenny Quantum and then Apollo after Thor expy Storm-God knocked him down and drains some of his solar charge via a lightning strike. This results in Midnighter being pissed and the aforementioned Oh, Crap! example and it's implied that Midnighter's going to return the favor and use the jackhammer to rape Commander back.
    • During the G7 Authority arc, Swift and the Engineer both get brainwashed and handed over to men they would normally loathe as a Sex Slave and an abused wive, respectively. It happens off-screen, but both of them were clearly stated to have been used for sex without their consent many times. Needless to say, Swift is very, very angry once her brainwashing breaks down, and the first thing she does after killing her abuser is freeing the Engineer from hers. Also, Apollo was almost raped again during this storyline, this time by his bi-curious replacement Teuton who'd been using him as a punching bag for weeks. Thankfully, Midnighter arrived just in time to put a construction bolt through the bastard's brain.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Lampshaded and averted. The Engineer, in particular, spends a lot of time making multiple copies of herself and spreading them around the world so she can simultaneously build wind farms, address the UN, research cures for diseases, etc., and Habib's first act upon becoming the Doctor was to create peace in the Middle East.
  • Reluctant Warrior: When Jenny formed the Authority, Jack and Shen had to adjust to the fact that it would often be necessary to kill their enemies. The former was extremely reluctant to kill and was disgusted by the two times he had to do so during his time in Stormwatch, while the latter was highly spiritual and preferred to avoid violent solutions whenever there was any other option. This... didn't last that long, mainly due to It Gets Easier and different writers.
  • Rings of Activation: While searching for survivors in the third issue of the original series, The Doctor casts a spell to move some rubble out of the way. When this happens a ring of mystical symbols materializes around his arms.
  • Rule of Escalating Threat: First, they went up against a terrorist organization with the numbers and power to attack three major cities in the course of a few days. Then, they took on an enemy that had conquered an alternate reality Earth and turned an entire country into a rape camp. Then they took on God. Then...
  • Sapient Ship: The Carrier a spaceship that, while being made of metal, is fully sapient. However, it has only once spoken directly to anyone (and then it was only to tell hapless assassin Kev Hawkins what a prick he is).
  • Schizo Tech: The Sliding Albion is built on this trope. It fields military aircraft armed with laser weaponry next to traditional (horse-riding) cavalry armed with sabres. And the aircraft themselves, although futuristic on the outside, look somewhat obsolete inside, featuring simple gauges instead of modern computers and outdated flight suits that are apparently still made of animal hide. Also, their society has a visible Victorian Era England vibe.
  • Sketchy Successor: Jack Hawksmoor is not Jenny Sparks. Sparks was, for all her faults, honestly trying to make a better world; under her leadership, the team were a bunch of ruthless bastards but could still look in the mirror at the end of the day and call themselves heroes. Hawksmoor is the biggest Jerkass on the team, and with him in charge, they were barely any better than their enemies, with no concern whatsoever for collateral damage or civilian lives.
  • Skip the Anesthetic: The Midnighter goes through surgery in one issue, and remains awake the whole time.
  • Slasher Smile: The Midnighter.
  • Shock and Awe: Jenny Sparks' electricity based powers. Which also plays into her being the "spirit of the twentieth century" and all that.
  • Shout-Out: Many
    • "This some kind of green eco thing, isn't it?" No.
    • When Midnighter was turned into an enemy against the rest of the team, he managed to sneak into the Carrier Lab and put on a metallic formfitting suit which he used to beat Apollo to a pulp in a manner reminiscent to Batman fighting Superman in The Dark Knight Returns.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: At the end of the Revolution arc, the Big Bad is bragging that his control over the world has made it a better place. The Midnighter responds by tearing off his head, ripping out his spine in the process, in a manner that would make Mortal Kombat envious, with the words:
    Midnighter: Well then I guess I just don't give a shit.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Emphasizing the "Sociopathic" more as time went on, see the Designated Hero entry above.
    • ...but the emphasis on the "Sociopath" has always been true about the Midnighter. He's a killer all the way through, and he never pretends to be anything else.
  • Spin-Off: The Authority features many of the characters, plot elements, and themes from Ellis' revamp of Stormwatch.
  • Splash Panel: The series was famous for this, especially during Bryan Hitch's stint as artist.
  • Strawman Political: Pretty much any politician who appears in the series will be portrayed as one of these. The more opposed they are to the team the more straw they get. They were very apparent during Mark Millers run, whenever he needed to get a point across. Made especially pretentious when the politician actually does have a logically sound argument yet is dismissed either way. Usually with some sort of lame rebuttal.
  • Stripperiffic: The Engineer's aforementioned skintight nanosuit is very skintight.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: As a result of power creep in the series, what The Doctor can do is limited solely by whatever the plot requires at the moment. Authors often try to portray him as a Glass Cannon to counter his effective omnipotence and invincibility, but come on, when you are explicitly stated and shown to have enough mojo to create and destroy universes, concocting some sort of personal shield shouldn't be particularly hard.
    • It was explicitly and graphically confirmed that complete dismemberment isn't enough to kill a Doctor, seen when the Renegade Doctor temporarily regained the powers. He'll just pull himself back together like nothing happened, so any frailty that a Doctor shows is entirely their own failing and not a real weakness.
      • This is what originally kept Jeroen from overshadowing the rest of the team. He tended to be either wacked out on heroin or suffering from severe lack of confidence, plus a requirement for his reality shifts to be largely nature-based. Unfortunately later writers got rid of those flaws.
  • Superpower Lottery: Jenny Quantum and The Doctor.
    • Although best embodied by the villain Three-Willy Seth: a government conspiracy spent billions of dollars cramming every enhancement they could come up with into him. He has powers numbering in the quadruple digits. Some of them are hard to even conceive of—his mention of "nuclear poop vision" was probably a joke, but he did use something to blast Jack Hawksmoor through a wall in the very next panel.
      • 1,204 powers, to be exact, although he exaggerates that to 2,012.
  • Take That!: Mark Millar's first arc took this to a ridiculous extreme by fighting (and utterly destroying) satirical versions of the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the X-Men and the main villain being Jack Kirby; he's specifically described as "the guy who would've created all your favorite comic books" if he hadn't been hired by the US government. The series as a whole has a lot of Author Appeal, and they're not subtle about it either. The authors explained this was a deliberate poke at traditional superheroes who they felt embodied and maintained the status quo. He even takes shots at Charles Atlas bodybuilding ads. Also;
    Legally-distinct-parody-of The Hulk: Comics are for retards.
    Hawksmoor: (to Bill Clinton) We're not some comic book super-team who participate in pointless fights with pointless super-criminals every month to preserve the status quo.
    • Speaking of Clinton, Millar hated him, and so his run on the series and the Jenny Sparks mini-series had several jabs against him. One of the issues of the mini-series even goes so far as to implicitly compare Clinton to Adolf Hitler.
    • At one point, Midnighter gives us his personal opinion on Friends:
    Midnighter: You watching Friends? Is it "the one where Phoebe really gets on your nerves" or "the one where you realized they're all thirty five and actually kind of creepy"?
  • Tastes Like Disdain: During an arc where Swyft is brainwashed into being a housewife in an abusive marriage, we see her "husband" put out his cigarette in the food she just brought him.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Averted with extreme prejudice.
  • Time-Traveling Jerkass: When the Renegade Doctor discovers that his new powers include time travel, he goes back in time and molests the Engineer when she was a teenager.
  • Token Good Teammate: When the Authority is replaced with a new corporate sponsored team that consists of seven representatives from the worlds seven richest nations. The Canadian representative Rush falls neatly into this trope. Unlike the rest of her teammates who are depicted as sadistic, power hungry, amoral assholes. She is the only one who is shown to have any sense of morality and decency.
  • Token Minority: Swift, the sole non-white member in the team. Relentlessly mocked and lampshaded in Garth Ennis' run.
    Swift: [singing] Now I have often... Heard it spoken... That on this team I'm... just a token... The rest are white, but it's okay, because not one but two are gay... It sure can leave you feeling poor, when you're ethnicity du jour... When you're an Asian chick... Asian chick! way I get used it makes me sick! Trapped here with this bunch of dicks! Just cause I'm an Asian chick... Hollywood gets terrified when black men kiss white girls, as if two people fucking could somehow end the world but all Caucasian action's really not the wisest choice, so I get drafted in to please the goddamned village voice... 'cause I'm an Asian chick... Asian chick! How the hell did I get picked? Who pulled this lousy rotten trick? On this poor Asian chick...? They always tell me that I should be played by Lucy Liu, But don't they know I saw Ecks versus fucking Sever too? I'm stuck wit the Authority up here in space so high, my only girlfriend looks a bit like early CGI... It's no fun for an Asian chick... Asian chick! I should just leave this team of pricks! Escape to live free double quick! Free to be... An Asian... CHIIIIICK...
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Kev in his last story arc. He is blackmailed into leaving the UK for good with an old pornographic movie he once filmed in his youth with a now-famous German porn star, and his last two surviving buddies and teammates Bob and Danny are both killed. On the other hand, he manages to avenge their deaths and begins a new life in the States growing cannabis and caring for Danny's tiger with his new girlfriend.
  • Tragic Villain: Rush from the G7 Authority. She only accepted the job and the surgery to give her wings because her father pressured her into it. Then within the team she is bullied, and verbally abused by the Colonel. Yet, she is the one member of the team who actually tries to do good and improve other people's lives. Alas, it does not save her from being nailed to a wall by Midnighter. She may even qualify as The Woobie of the team.
  • Trophy Wife: When a group of Corrupt Corporate Executives kidnap and brainwash the Authority, this is the fate of Swift, who is creepily "given" to one of the men behind the scheme. It turns out that keeping one of their victims nearby and alive in this way isn't such a good idea once the brainwashing is inevitably undone.
  • Trapped on the Astral Plane: One arc had a supervillain's organization kidnap baby Jenny, them and their base overlapping with New York while being invisible and intangible explained away as existing at different vibrational frequencies.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: When Midnighter is tasked with killing Hitler he actually finds he can't do it because the time he was sent to was the last days of the war. Hitler didn't look like one of histories greatest monsters. He looked like a tired and defeated old man. The time travelers Midnighter is traveling with tell him that most tend to react like him when they confront the worst people in history aren't monsters of supervillains, but just people.
  • Urine Trouble: The eighth issue of the 2007 Midnighter series ends with Midnighter adopting a cyborg dog as his pet. Said dog then pees on Jack Hawksmoor's feet.
  • Use Their Own Weapon Against Them: Issue #0 of the second volume has the Authority fighting an invasion from Viceworld, a a world-sized casino and pleasure complex catering to people across the multiverse, whose owner, Madorra Chance, is trying to make money off people betting on whether or not the Authority can win. Madorra sends a bomb capable of destroying an entire continent at the Authority but they use their portal technology to send it back to her, blowing up a section of Viceworld.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The Authority rationalizes that their harsh methods are necessary to make the world a better place.
  • Victory Sex: Engineer beds the Doctor after the team manages to defeat his Omnicidal Maniac predecessor, partly to encourage the Doctor to get off of drugs (as his heroin addiction was responsible for his predecessor's resurgence in the first place) and to get back at her boyfriend, who decided to celebrate the victory by cheating on her.
  • Villainous BSoD: The Earth Inferno arc, sees our heroes forced to give the previous Doctor (a mass murderer) his powers back for an hour, during which he one-handedly thrashes the team. The current Doctor is berated because the old Doctor can alter time to make his one hour infinite, but as it turns out each Doctor is the sum of all previous ones, which causes the old Doctor to gain the new one's conscience. Realizing the horror he's done, he begs for forgiveness. Only to be denied and executed on the spot.
  • Villainous Rescue: Jenny is rescued from execution by Nazis and deported safely back to England with Swift's egg by Adolf Hitler, because she was the one who told him his art was crap and he should think of getting into politics.
  • V-Sign: The Engineer flashes the palms-inverted version at an enemy's blown up corpse.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Jack Hawksmoor becomes catastrophically ill if he spends too long outside a sufficiently large city; one of his powers allows him to travel between cities without assistance. Fortunately, the Carrier is large enough to count as a city; unfortunately, Stormwatch's old satellite base wasn't.
    • Seth's powers can all be disabled by saying a four-word phrase which is never actually used to defeat him; Jenny just rewrites history so he never had his powers.
  • Weapons-Grade Vocabulary: There was an issue where Apollo and Midnighter were trying to stop the deaths caused by a killer word: anyone who heard it would kill themselves, but not before whispering the word to someone else, repeating the process.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: All of The Authority, really, but the Midnighter and Jack Hawksmoor tend to stand out as the most hardcore about their ideals and the most brutal.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: During Revolution, Midnighter rips into Jack and Doctor for letting the power of their new positions get to their heads and believe that they could solve all the problems in the world because they knew best. Which lead to a full-scale revolt which killed numerous civilians.
  • Winged Humanoid: Swift
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: In one of The Authority: Kev miniseries, Kev got attacked by both the PIRA and the Ulsters simultaneously. Of course, since the two factions hate each other far more than they hate him, he simply pointed them out to each other and let them kill each other off.
  • Witless Protection Program: Kev Hawkins' address is supposed to be a secret due to his history with the SAS, but he keeps getting found by the various Irish terrorist groups who want him dead. It's later revealed that his handler, Froggett, deliberately leaks his location to his enemies in the hopes that they'll kill him and thus Froggett will finally be rid of Kev once and for all.
  • Wolverine Publicity
    • Plot Tumor: There was a two-page joke scene of Swift sleeping with Gen¹³'s Grunge in "The Nativity". Later, Adam Warren escalated it into an ongoing affair, mostly because of the effect of the reveal on Grunge's Woobie girlfriend.
  • The Worf Effect: This sort of thing happens to the Midnighter all the time. The man is canonically the scariest and most terrifying individual in the Wildstorm universe, yet he gets jobbed out in every single story arc, just to demonstrate how much of a threat that arc's villain is.
    • In Captain Atom: Armageddon, it isn't Midnighter who is used this way to show how utterly outclassed everyone in the Wildstorm universe is when compared to Captain Atom, it's Apollo. Midnighter doesn't even count as a threat to Atom, and is casually (and entertainingly) dismissed offhand.
  • Writer on Board: The writer of the day tending to using the comics to ram their beliefs about politics and superhero comics at the reader; particularly obvious during Grant Morrison's run.
    • And also Mark Millar's. And pretty much every other author's run except the original Warren Ellis. And even him, though to a lesser extent.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: As a century baby, Jenny Sparks knew that she would die along with century on the stroke on the last moment of December 31st 1999 along with the 20th century, to be reincarnated as Jenny Quantum, spirit of the 21st century.

The High: Think for yourself and question authority. And if you can think for yourself, what do you need authority for?
Jenny Sparks: To make a world worth living in.