“I know you kill, and I have too… But what those kids saw. How you do it. When you choose to…. Is killing always a solution?”
The DCYou was an odd time for the major publisher. After it became clear the New 52 needed a reinvention, DC grew and nurtured their You-lineup from Jeff King’s Convergence series. The titles that debuted afterwards were a mixed bag. But Steve Orlando’s Midnighter was without a doubt one of the best superhero series in recent memory, let alone the DCYou era. A mix of contemporary wit with eccentric action made the comic and its titular hero a fan-favorite. Unfortunately, the disappointing sales couldn’t justify a complete Rebirth. Instead, one of DC’s greatest “ships” of the last few years takes center stage. Apollo and Midnighter were reunited at the end of the previous title. Here their relationship becomes the cornerstone of the story. Will the hilariously brash bad boy be able to settle down with the blonde of his dreams? The two and their love will undoubtedly be tested by malicious villains, alien technologies, and the challenges of a modern day romance. Midnighter and Apollo #1 is the kind of absurdist storytelling missing from the “big two”. Luckily, DC placed their faith in the incredible talent of Steve Orlando.
Stormwatch is an easily forgotten gem from the New 52. While it featured many of the DC Universe’s obscures heroes it brought some major players to the forefront. Midnighter and Apollo just so happen to be two of them. Midnighter has never shied away from his sexuality, and using it as a strength, Steve Orlando was able to make him an incredibly relatable superhero story. He continues that here by making their romance the crux of the entire plot. Orlando’s dialogue is superb, as both Apollo and Midnighter ooze charisma and humor. While his main goal is to entertain, Orlando begins to establish the conflicting principles of the couple. Midnighter is rash and violent; Apollo wonders if there could be another way. It’s a common cliche in comic books and narrative fiction in general. Can the couple survive their differences? The comic may be exploring typical ideas but thanks to a great creative team it does so in an impressive way.
The progressive nature of the book is an incredible asset to the quality of its storytelling. Midnighter and Apollo are a proud team, the perfect couple to stop the terrorist group running rampant on a speeding train. Midnighter especially embodies a confident bravado that anyone could admire. This delicate character work is a testament to the level of detail Midnighter has had under the reign of Orlando. He’s truly crafted a unique personality that leaps off the page to punch you square in the jaw. Couple that with the wonderful romance between M and Apollo and we have the makings of comic greatness. While the comic shelves are more diverse than ever, it’s great to see a writer who’s not afraid to leave it all on the page.
While the original series’ artist ACO is relegated to covers, Fernando Blanco steps up to the plate. Having worked on DeMatteis’ Phantom Stranger and Peter Tomasi’s Detective Comics run, Blanco proves once again he’s worthy of any title. From the character designs to the gritty violence, Blanco shows his worth on every page. Unfortunately, the colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr. don’t live up to the pencils. While the fight scenes are a highlight, many backgrounds and settings seem saturated. It might help to pull your focus to the characters instead of their location, but to make any part of the page uninteresting does it a disservice. Instead, the focus should be placed on Blanco’s exciting interpretation of Orlando’s great script.
Midnighter didn’t quite make a mark until his appearances in the pages of Tom King and Tim Seeley’s Grayson series. There, a witty and hilarious brute showed the former Nightwing just what his computer-enhanced brain could do. Serving as more of an anti-hero, he quickly became a fan favorite in need of his own series. Enter Steve Orlando, an excellent writer who managed to turn that small amount of momentum into an incredibly progressive and fun comic series. In Midnighter and Apollo #1 he continues the fun with a touch of romance. As the superhero couples’ relationship progresses, their faced with a wide plethora of issues to deal with. While some story elements are romantic cliches, the rest make for one hell of an issue. Fernando Blanco also nails the intense action while creating some beautiful scene work. With a team like this behind the curtain, Midnighter and Apollo are in for the adventure of their lifetimes.
- Great Dialogue and Story
- Progressive Relationships
- Intense Action and Visuals
- Romantic Comedy Tropes
- Some Uninspired Colors