Apollo is a comic book superhero who first appeared in the Stormwatch series, but is best known for his role in The Authority. While visually distinct, Apollo is cast in the mold of the Superman archetype.
Apollo was a former U.S. soldier and the leader of a black ops Stormwatch team so secret that no-one but the first Weatherman, Henry Bendix, knew of its existence. Apollo was a normal human, bio-engineered by Bendix to have fantastic abilities including super-strength, heat vision, and a high degree of invulnerability. Apollo derives his power from solar energy, and becomes vulnerable to attack when that energy is depleted.
Of the seven-member team, only Apollo and The Midnighter, Apollo's future husband, survived. Due to circumstances surrounding the mission, they went rogue and spent the next five years undercover fighting for a finer world in the alleyways of America.
After Bendix's fall in 1998, Christine Trelane discovered files hinting at the existence of Apollo and The Midnighter. Jackson King, formerly Battalion, now the new Weatherman, ordered them found, not being sure if they were heroes or villains. Apollo and Midnighter were after weapons made in the "Nevada Garden", a leftover of the first engineer. He ordered Fahrenheit and Hellstrike to tag them with fetishes so they could be transported into SkyWatch. Apollo and Midnighter first attacked the Stormwatch team, believing them under Bendix's orders. However, they ceased the attack once they were told Bendix was dead. With King's help, they destroyed the Nevada Garden, and Trelane gave them new lives away from Stormwatch.
This story is available in the Stormwatch graphic novel A Finer World.
Authority Vol 1
In 1999, Jenny Sparks convinced both Apollo and The Midnighter to come out of retirement to join a new team, dubbed The Authority. The Authority distinguished itself from other super-human teams in that it answered to no governing body or external authority, such as the UN. Rather, for the first time, these were super-humans fighting for a finer world on their own initiative.
Apollo participated in the Authority's early actions, producing a miles-long wall of flame to pen in cyborgs attacking London, rescuing civilians from disaster zones, and shooting down invaders from a parallel universe. In The Authority #10, Apollo - assisted by the Engineer -- sterilized the moon, killing the alien parasites that were using it as a base from which to attack earth. He formed a friendship with leader Jenny Sparks, and his relationship with Midnighter was revealed in The Authority # 8, written by Warren Ellis. For the portrayal of Apollo and Midnighter, The Authority received a GLAAD award.
The fourth Authority story arc saw Jenny Sparks die with the end of the 20th century, and the Authority join a battle with US government-backed superhumans to secure custody of her successor, Jennifer Quantum, the infant spirit of the 21st century. During this battle Apollo was severely beaten by The Commander, a Captain America pastiche. In one of author Mark Millar's most controversial scenes, it was implied that the beating was followed by a rape (The Authority #14). The rape was followed by a scene of revenge in which it is implied that The Midnighter gored The Commander with a jackhammer.
In another Millar-penned story, the Authority faced a rogue Doctor, intent on planetary destruction. Though this Doctor ultimately repented his crimes, Apollo killed him with his eye-beams. Apollo featured also in the 'Transfer of Power' storyline, in which the Authority were defeated, captured, and usurped by sadistic, government-controlled replacements. Apollo was kept aboard the Carrier and brutalized by Midnighter's replacement and by his own. The latter tried to rape Apollo before the real Midnighter returned to kill Apollo's assailant. Apollo himself then burned the head off Midnighter's replacement, later doing the same to The Machine, who had taken the powers of the Engineer.
Apollo and Midnighter were married and adopted Jenny Quantum at the end of Millar's run. From this point on, Apollo is referred to as The Midnighter's husband, and vice versa.
Authority Vol 2.
Apollo received comparatively little attention during this volume, although his friendship with the Engineer was developed and the two became confidants.
Human on the Inside
In this standalone graphic novel, the U.S. President ordered an assault on The Authority which saw them nearly defeated by doubts, depression, and human foibles. Each team member's weakness was exploited; in Apollo's case this appeared to be jealousy in his relationship with Midnighter, who confessed to Apollo that he had kissed another man. Apollo, enraged, hit Midnighter hard enough to knock him through several walls. This scene remains the only canonical indication of violence between the two.
Authority: Coup D'Etat and Authority: Revolution
Following a deadly mistake by US leaders, Authority team leader Jack Hawksmoor decided that the time had come to remove the US executive branch and run the country their way. The takeover went smoothly, but the occupation did not go as planned. Shadowy forces intervened to destroy the Authority and put corporate interests back in power.
In Authority: Coup D'Etat, Apollo and Midnighter were sent to raid the base of Stormwatch: Team Achilles, only to find it booby-trapped. After narrowly escaping with their lives, their next mission was to eliminate the US military's super-human training camp. Midnighter returned with the declaration that the program was "Not so special."
In Authority: Revolution, the Midnighter received a revelation about the future which compelled him to leave The Authority permanently. He left Apollo and Jenny Quantum without an explanation and returned to the underground. Following a humiliating nuclear incident in Washington, DC, Hawksmoor resigned as President of the US and announced elections. The Authority disbanded. From 2005 to 2008, Apollo raised Jenny alone in San Francisco, under the watchful eye of the US Government.
When Jenny was eight years old, a series of events propelled her to take matters into her own hands and rebuild the team. She caused herself to jump in age to fourteen years, precipitating a verbal confrontation with her father, Apollo. With Apollo's support, she set about rounding up the surviving members of The Authority, including The Midnighter. In a painful moment between Jenny, Apollo, and Midnighter, Jenny described herself to Midnighter as "the product of a broken home."
In the battle that followed, it became clear that Henry Bendix had gained control over the Midnighter through a Trojan Horse strategy which delivered nanites into Midnighter's body. Midnighter fought with Jenny and then Apollo, regaining clarity for just long enough to beg Apollo to kill him if he got the chance. Apollo refused, and was defeated, but Jenny was able to engage Midnighter for long enough for the Engineer to remove the mind-control implants and restore Midnighter.
In Wildstorm Winter Special 2005, a story called Apollo & Midnighter: Two Dangerous Ideas features their alternate reality analogues, Pluto and Daylighter, with inverted colour schemes to match. At first the real Apollo and Midnighter believed that they were their homophobic counterparts, but later learnt that they had broken up.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
Apollo's powers include super-strength, flight, and near invulnerability (he has been able to enter a lava flow to deactivate a volcano, and has literally walked on the surface of the sun). His eyes are constructed to concentrate solar energy into laser like blasts, literally concentrated sunlight. Apollo can also release his solar energy from other parts of his body (hands, mouth, etc) or in an omni-directional flare, but these moves are taxing. He can fly as well, at least fast enough to circle the globe in just under 30 seconds.
He can survive in anaerobic environments indefinitely (he flies in space, even all the way to the moon and into deep space), by the simple method of not breathing, as his body is entirely sustained by his solar energy. He also does not require food or drink, though he apparently enjoys both.
Apollo has been described a number of times as a Majestic-Class superhuman, suggesting that his powers rival those of Mr. Majestic, or are at least similarly beyond the frame of reference of most humans and superhumans.
Appearances, Images, and QuotesEdit
- The Apollo action figure
- Detailed Apollo character writeup
- The Authority team member listings
- Reaction to the "Nativity" storyline
- Interview with Mark Millar on the Apollo rape scene