Midnighter is taking on a solo career. His first mission involves tracking down stolen technology from the God Garden while he navigates the complicated world of singles dating. How does it fare?
Midnighter Vol. 1: Out definitely introduces new readers to the character right away. Writer Steve Orlando, penciller and inker Aco, as well as inker Hugo Petrus begin the story with explosive action as Midnighter violently and ruthlessly takes down a group of criminals wielding an ancient demon spawning gun. It’s exciting and chaotic. It can actually be a little too chaotic.
Aco uses an inset panel technique throughout the first issue in an attempt to add more detail to the action. However, it actually makes things more confusing as their placement can make your eyes bounce back and forth between them attempting to figure out how they relate to each other. Others seem like small details, but they take away from the actual larger panels and make it difficult to make out what is actually happening let alone determining what you are looking at in the small inset panels.
This artistic style remains a problem throughout the issue, although there are some scenes where it works really well. Aco uses it to show how Midnighter’s internal computer works to calculate his plan of attack. It does a decent job of doing this, but for the most part it makes the pages feel very busy and cluttered. It makes it difficult to follow what exactly is happening.
The actual story is pretty straightforward. The villain who stole a bunch of technology from the Gardener is now distributing it to seemingly random individuals who end up wreaking havoc, killing innocent people, or performing other villainous activities. Midnighter tracks down and confronts each individual, even teaming up with a certain persona from Gotham in one story line. The biggest problem with this is that Midnighter doesn’t really do any investigation in order to find the person responsible. He is primarily a reactionary to events which means Orlando creates an event and Midnighter responds to it. He is never proactive. This makes the big twist at the end of the story feel flat. It definitely shocked you, but it didn’t have amazement. It actually cheapened the villain, making him the least memorable of the arc.
Aside from the final villain, Orlando does create compelling and diverse villains. I especially enjoyed the different types of technology we saw come from the God Garden and how the different villains used them. They were definitely fun and unique and some of them were truly horrifying. It was always a new challenge as well, something that would test Midnighter in new ways.
The dialogue gets a little heavy at some points; there are some long drawn out villain monologues which could have been easily reduced to one or two sentences to get the point across. There is one point where Orlando has Midnighter make a phone call to one of his assets. It can be quite confusing to determine who is actually speaking, whether it is Midnighter’s associate who he is on the ground working with or the actual asset on the phone. It even comes off as a narrative with Midnighter’s voice, as the asset or his partner doesn’t respond to him for an entire page.
Midnighter Vol. 1: Out has a ton of action and violence that is balanced out with a number of different romantic encounters. It has a decent enough overarching storyline, but it probably reads better as single issues (which is quite rare these days). The storylines never really seem overlapping and the twist with the villain at the end just falls flat. The artistic layout also makes it difficult to follow a number of the action scenes as well as troublesome to determine what exactly the inset panels are depicting. It’s a decent enough book, but it is far from outstanding.
- Plenty of violent action
- The exploration of Midnighter's character through his different relationships is well done
- Hard to follow artistic layout
- The final twist at the end was a major let down and felt like it just came out of the blue; it doesn't seem to fit the story
- The dialogue can get a little too dense and at times confusing