James Gunn and Peter Safran have taken on a big challenge in the DC Universe (DCU). After a difficult time, the DCU is being refreshed with a new lineup of movies and TV shows. One of the announced movies will follow the adventures and feats of the superhero team “The Authority.” The Authority superhero team draws many members and themes from the earlier known superhero team that belonged to the WildStorm Universe called Stormwatch. The Authority was created by Warren Ellis and Byran Hitch as a successor to Stormwatch, and over the years, The Authority merged with the mainstream DC universe.
The timeline of the events might be a bit confusing, so that’s why we’ve decided to create this full and encompassing The Authority comics reading order to prepare you for the upcoming movie. So, without further ado, let’s see in what chronological order to read The Authority comics.
The Authority reading order – at a glance
The Authority and Stormwatch are two superhero teams that are connected in the Wildstorm Comics universe. Stormwatch was created as an earlier Wildstorm superhero team, and The Authority was later introduced as a successor to Stormwatch, so we would recommend that you start off the reading order with the final issues of the Stormwatch.
The matters are further complicated by the Authority takeover by DC comics and The New 52 relaunch of the whole team. In order to make the reading experience as smooth as possible but also highly detailed, the following is the recommended continuity reading order for The Authority comics as well as stories connected to it.
- Stormwatch vol. 1 #37-50
- Stormwatch Preview
- Stormwatch Vol. 2 #1-10
- WildC.A.T.s / Aliens
- Stormwatch Vol 2 # 11
- The Authority Vol 1. #1-4 (The Circle)
- The Authority Vol 1. #5-8 (Shiftships)
- The Authority Vol 1. #9-12 (The Outer Dark)
- The Authority Vol 1. #13-16 (The Nativity)
- Jenny Sparks: The Secret History of the Authority #1-5
- The Authority Vol 1. #17-20 (Earth Inferno and Other Stories)
- The Authority Annual 2000
- The Authority Vol 1. #22-29 (Brave New World)
- The Authority Vol 1. #21 & The Monarchy #1-12 (The Monarchy)
- The Authority: Kev
- The Authority: Scorched Earth #1
- The Authority Vol. 2 #0
- The Authority Vol. 2 #1-5 (Reality Incorporated)
- The Authority Vol. 2 #6-9 (Godhead)
- Coup d’État: Stormwatch
- Coup d’État: The Authority
- The Authority Vol. 2 #10-14 (Fractured World)
- The Authority: Human on the Inside
- The Authority: More Kev #1-4
- The Authority: Revolution #1-12
- The Authority: The Magnificent Kevin #1-5
- A Man Called Kev #1-5
- The Authority Vol 3. #1-12 (The Lost Year)
- The Authority: Prime #1-6 (Breach of Trust)
- Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor #1-6
- Midnighter #1-5 (Killing Machine)
- Midnighter #6-9 (Short Stories)
- Midnighter #10-15 (Anthem)
- Midnighter #16-20 (Assassin8)
- Midnighter: Armageddon #1 & Stormwatch P.H.D Armageddon #1
- Number of the Beast #1-8
- The Authority Vol 4. #1-29 (World’s End)
- Superman and The Authority #1-4
The Authority complete reading order – Fully explained
1. Warren Ellis’ Stormwatch (1996-1998)
Stormwatch vol. 1 #37-50, Stormwatch Vol. 2 1-11, Stormwatch Preview, WildC.A.T.S / Aliens
Stormwatch vol 1 #37 and all subsequent issues are a perfect intro if you want to have a complete overview of the Authority’s history. From here, the universe was taken over by Warren Ellis completely. The issues showcase the rise and fall of Henry Bendix and, ultimately, the fall of the Stormwatch that will later, under the guidance of Warren Ellis, become The Authority. During Warren Ellis’s tenure, he would shift the stories’ focus and change the characters’ roster. He would conclude the first volume of the series (with issue #50) and encompass the entire 12-issue run of the second volume.
2. The Circle (1999)
The Authority Vol 1. #1-4
The Authority publicly debuts to prevent Kaizen Gamorra, a former enemy of Stormwatch, from seeking revenge on the world. This is done through his use of modified supersoldiers to attack Moscow and a portion of London, with the Authority failing to stop the latter but succeeding in avoiding a similar attack in Los Angeles through heavy civilian casualties and the destruction of Gamorra’s superhuman clone factory by Midnighter using the Carrier.
3. Shiftships (1999)
The Authority Vol 1. #5-8
The Authority is tasked with stopping an invasion from a parallel Earth called Sliding Albion, which is a world where humans and aliens interbred and created an imperialistic culture similar to the Victorian British Empire. Jenny Sparks leads the Authority in destroying the remaining blue regime, including London and Italy, and sends a message to the people of Sliding Albion to take advantage of their second chance and behave under the Authority’s rule.
4. The Outer Dark (2000)
The Authority Vol 1. #9-12
As the end of 1999 nears, strange alien creatures start building structures in Africa and on the Moon, leading the previous Doctors to reveal to the current Doctor that the original creator of Earth has returned to claim the planet as its “retirement home.” The Authority pilot the Carrier into the approaching “God,” navigate through its immune system and parasites, and ultimately succeed in killing the creature by electrocuting its brain through the actions of Jenny Sparks, who dies in Jack Hawksmoor’s arms after completing her role as the Spirit of the Twentieth Century.
5. The Nativity (2000)
The Authority Vol 1. #13-16
Under Jack Hawksmoor’s leadership, the Authority attempts to capture Jenny Quantum, the powerful newborn Spirit of the Twenty-First Century, but fails. Jenny is instead taken by Dr. Jacob Krigstein, a superhero-creating mastermind who wants to shape the next century through her. Swift makes a deal for Jenny’s custody with Krigstein, who is given lab space on the Carrier and the opportunity to reform dictatorships the Authority overthrows.
6. The Secret History of the Authority (2000)
Jenny Sparks: The Secret History of the Authority #1-5
Jenny Sparks: The Secret History of the Authority focuses on Jenny Sparks, the Spirit of the Twentieth Century, and her role as a leader in the team as they face challenges and battles against supervillains and other threats to protect humanity.
7. Earth Inferno and Other Stories
The Authority Vol 1. #17-20 & The Authority Annual 2000
The Authority is faced with a challenge when the Earth is about to reverse its magnetic poles due to a former Doctor who has gone rogue. In exchange for one hour of power from the current Doctor, the rogue agrees to save humanity. The Authority evacuates the entire population of Earth to alternate universes and accepts the exchange, but the rogue nearly destroys the Authority with his newfound power. However, he is eventually overwhelmed with empathy for all life on Earth, leading Apollo and the Engineer to kill him. The Earth’s population returns home, with some thrilled by their experiences.
8. Brave New World (2001-2002)
The Authority Vol 1. #22-29
The G7 nations, frustrated with the Authority’s interference in their governments, decide to replace them with a more compliant group and send their secret weapon, the monstrous superhuman Seth, to attack the Authority, resulting in all members being neutralized except Midnighter who escapes with baby Jenny.
9. The Monarchy (2001-2002)
The Monarchy #1-12 & The Authority Vol 1. #21
King and Trelane, both annoyed with the Authority’s methods or their former colleagues, leave their UN jobs to gather a group to combat Chimaera, causing the FBI to investigate their disappearance. Contains an intro into the Authority Vol 1. #21.
10. The Authority: Kev (2002)
Kev is tasked with killing the Authority using advanced, dimension-sensitive ammunition, but after succeeding, he finds himself as the only one capable of saving the Earth from an attack by the Conquernauts of Yoke.
11. Reality Incorporated (2003)
The Authority: Scorched Earth #1, The Authority Vol. 2 #0, The Authority Vol. 2 #1-5
The Authority interrupts a human trafficking operation on Gamorra Island, defeating the remaining members of Kaizen Gamorra’s superhuman “children” running the operation, with Jack Hawksmoor warning them ahead of time. However, this leads to criticism and calls for the Authority’s interference in world affairs to be stopped by military force, with concerns raised about their power and perceived superiority over humanity.
12. Godhead (2003-2004)
The Authority Vol. 2 #6-9
John Clay infects people with a psychic virus that causes devotion to himself, using the infected’s energies to become a physical metahuman, but the Authority struggles to resist; only Midnighter fights, and the Doctor frees himself, inverts Clay’s psionic control network and swallows Clay, later creating the Church of the Shaman as a religious alternative for those disillusioned by conventional religions.
13. Coup d’État: The Authority (2004)
The Authority takes over the world. This was a crossover event that spanned several teams and led into The Authority: Revolution.
15. Fractured World (2004)
The Authority Vol. 2 #10-14
Reality is breaking apart as numerous holes open into the Bleed, bringing disasters or villains. The Authority struggles to deal with the situation while facing a legal claim for Jenny Quantum’s custody. It’s revealed that the claimant is actually Jenny Fractal, a twin raised to be a killing machine, and she is responsible for the Bleed fractures. Midnighter goes back in time to kill Fractal, allowing Quantum’s spirit to inhabit her twin’s body.
16. The Authority: Human on the Inside (2004)
The Authority must work to stop both threats and deal with their own personal demons as they struggle to maintain their commitment to protecting the world and preserving their own humanity.
17. More Kev (2004)
The Authority: More Kev #1-4
The Authority is facing an alien invasion, but they are in disarray after the first encounter with the invaders. Only Kev remains to fight off the aliens who are intent on destroying Earth and committing genocide.
18. The Eternal Return (2005)
The Authority: Revolution #1-12
The Authority is facing a challenge from the Sons of Liberty, a group of retired superheroes from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s who are inciting riots across the nation with the help of a mysterious man in a hood who controls an alien race and his own Carrier. Meanwhile, Midnighter receives a visit from an elderly Apollo, who warns him that the future Authority rule could turn into a totalitarian dictatorship and that he must break up the Authority to prevent it.
19. The Magnificent Kevin (2006)
The Authority: The Magnificent Kevin #1-5
Kev’s sadness over the loss of a friend is compounded by a new mission from his boss, which involves working with The Authority, a super hero team focused on saving the world from global threats. This mission takes Kev down a difficult path with unexpected outcomes.
20. A Man Called Kev (2006-2007)
A Man Called Kev #1-5
Kev Hawkins killed his boss as part of a government scheme and has been forced to leave the UK and faces the threat of death if he returns. He has limited life skills and job training outside of carrying out violent missions, but now his past is catching up with him in a dangerous and frightening way.
21. The Lost Year (2010)
The Authority Vol 3. #1-12
The Authority’s Carrier crashes into a parallel Earth in a low energy universe and discovers that it is a story in this universe without any superhumans or means to support them, leading the Engineer to theorize that this parallel universe may be the missing “baby universe” which powers their spacecraft but with limited technological resources to save it.
22. Breach of Trust (2007-2008)
The Authority: Prime #1-6
Stormwatch Prime, joined by the Authority, are investigating a secret left-over bunker from the time of Hendry Bendix. A ruthless and manipulative leader of the first incarnation of this superhero team.
23. Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor (2008)
Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor #1-6
Jack Hawksmoor was a lone urban hero before joining the most powerful super team, the Authority. During a robot attack on the Golden Gate Bridge, he receives unexpected help from a woman and later becomes involved in a locked-room murder mystery. Additionally, his powers related to the city have been behaving strangely, and he believes all these events may be related.
24. Killing Machine (2007-2008)
A solo series featuring Midnighter. The most famous stealthy member of the team returns to eliminate history’s most gruesome murderer.
25. Short Stories (2007)
A collection of single-issue stories featuring Authority’s Midnighter. Includes Flowers for the Sun, Fait Accompli, Ordinary People, The Hercules Virus.
26. Anthem (2007-2008)
After his origin story has been rebooted, Midnighter discovers his true origins as he returns to his hometown, which was overrun by a force of ruthless mercenaries.
27. Assassin8 (2008)
Midnighter has long enjoyed the reputation of being the Authority’s most lethal member. His title might be challenged by the new player on the court, a deadly assassin named Assassin8.
28. Armageddon (2007)
Midnighter: Armageddon #1 & Stormwatch P.H.D Armageddon #1
Midnighter is transported to a future, and he notices the ruins of London that have been destroyed by the Authority’s Carrier. He wonders whether any of his teammates survived.
29. Number of the Beast (2008)
Number of the Beast #1-8
The series follows the story of The Authority as they try to uncover a mysterious and powerful entity known only as “The Beast.” The team must work together to stop this entity and protect the world from its wrath. Throughout the series, the team faces numerous challenges, including a series of dangerous attacks and unexpected obstacles, as they work to uncover the true nature of The Beast and put a stop to its plan for destruction.
30. World’s End (2008-2011)
The Authority Vol 4. #1-29
The Authority is a broken team struggling to survive in a ruined and desolate London, now known as Unlondon, following the events of Number of the Beast. Swift uses her powers to communicate and care for birds, Apollo is forced to live in the photosphere, Midnighter fights mutates, and helps people, Jack is badly injured, and Angela is powerless and living in the dead husk of the Carrier.
31. Superman and the Authority (2021)
Superman and The Authority #1-4
The Authority helps Superman to stop an alien invasion of Earth, and together they face off against the invading alien army and their powerful leader. Throughout the series, Superman and The Authority must navigate their differences and find a way to work together in order to save the world.