Written by Steve Orlando
Pencils by ACO
Inks by ACO and Hugo Petrus
Colors by Romulo Fajaroo Jr.
Spinning out of Grayson (and before that, Stormwatch), Midnighter now has his own series in the New 52… or DC YOU… or whatever it is that DC is calling this re-launch that’s actually still a continuation of the New 52, but only when they find it convenient, so I’m not really sure if it counts as a re-launch…
Anyway, as I stated in the Upcoming Comics post, I wasn’t that familiar with Midnighter going into this, until I did a little research while Convergence was wrapping up. Considering my only knowledge of Midnighter before this was what I’d read in Grayson, you could say that I was vastly uneducated. I honestly didn’t think we were going to cover this book considering its ties to Batman are pretty limited, but then Andrew reached out asking if I’d be interested in taking this title since it is spinning out of Grayson… and because I’m gay.
I got a good laugh when he brought that up, mainly because he was immediately concerned he might have offended me. If you know me, then you know I’m not easily offended… at all. I did rag on him a little for it though just to see if I could get a reaction… I didn’t. But, ultimately he thought it would be interesting to get my perspective on the gay lifestyle and how it’s depicted, which completely makes sense. That being said, I feel like I should admit that I’m not one to push the “gay agenda,” and I feel like my personal lifestyle is vastly different than most gay guys. So by no means am I the spokesperson for the gay community… nor are my opinions “right.” But I will do my best to provide my thoughts and commentary on these matters when I feel like it’s necessary. Now, with all of that out of the way, let’s get to the book.
This issue starts off with the Gardner. For those of you that don’t remember, she’s the elderly woman who is associated with Midnighter, and oversees the God Garden – Midnighter’s main hub of operation. The first three pages of this book are action packed and fast paced, as a mysterious assailant infiltrates the God Garden, by-passes the facilities advanced security, and ultimately left me saying, “Oh $#!+” under my breath by the time I reached that third page…
The book then transitions into setting up Midnighter himself. We’re cleverly introduced/re-introduced to who he is by getting a glimpse of his Grindr profile (the app you can thank for leading the way for apps like Tendr – use the word “thank” in whatever context you deem appropriate), where he openly mentions his lifestyle, and unapologetically informs whoever is reading that he’s head butted an alien. He’s currently on a first date, and the two are discussing Midnighter’s lifestyle – his date shocked that all of this is, in fact, true. It’s a brief, but nice moment that we’re treated to of Midnighter as a normal guy, in a normal situation, before a radical religious/terrorist group commandeers the cafe he’s in for his date.
This is the moment I had been waiting for… The moment Midnighter gets to beat the crap out of some people. This fight is BRUTAL! It’s violent, intense, and for lack of better words, full of excessive force. Right away, I knew this book was going to be edgier and more intense than most of the titles on DC’s roster, and that made me happy! Everything I’ve read of Midnighter the past two weeks has depicted him as a ruthless badass, and I was concerned we were going to get a neutered version of the character due to the high profile of DC’s re-launch, not to mention their recent movement to make books more acceptable to broader audiences. Thankfully, the latter didn’t take place, and we got the ruthless badass that I was hoping for – enhanced abilities and all. And once you factor in his wickedly dark sense of humor, what you’re left with is completely entertaining!
Midnighter’s date essentially becomes a catalyst to further introduce us to him and his world throughout the rest of the book. With additional glimpses into Midnighter’s characteristics, his home, and his local hangouts, I personally found it refreshing to see a representation of a gay man that wasn’t so effeminate. While I don’t have anything against effeminate males, I feel like the media often resorts to the “token gay guy” that is flamboyant and sassy, while gay guys like myself get shafted a little. When I meet people in person, they often don’t realize I’m gay, and I don’t want to tell them that I am. That doesn’t mean I’m ashamed of who I am, it just means that I don’t want to be defined by that. If people were to describe me, and the first thing that came to their mind was, “he’s the gay guy that…” then I feel like I failed myself as a person. I’m not a gay man, but a man who happens to be gay. There’s more to me than that one characteristic. I’m a complex person, full of complex characteristics, so I’m glad to see that Midnighter is being presented in this way.
Again, I mean no disrespect to anyone by saying this, I’m just saying that as with all cultures, it’s nice to see some diversity represented for the gay community. Now… with that being said, if there’s one “stereotypical” trait that Midnighter appears to have, it’s that he seems to be quite promiscuous. Between the sneak peek and the first issue alone, he’s been with two different guys. If you’re not comfortable with homosexuality, you should keep that in mind. And while it doesn’t appear that this creative team plans on waving that rainbow flag or creating a pro-gay commentary every chance they get (and dear God, I hope they don’t), there will be some gayness (yes, that is an official term). So to support my own hopes for this creative team, as well as my own thoughts on the matter, this will most likely be the only time you see me address homosexuality so prominently, if at all, in my reviews of this book, unless it’s critical to the story. If you ever want to know my opinions on specific gay-themed subject matter, you can always ask in the comments section, or tweet me.
If there’s one thing that this book should be applauded for though, it’s Orlando’s ability to provide an entire issue of exposition that doesn’t feel like exposition. So much information and set-up is found in this issue, but I still found the book exciting and interesting. I’m interested in the characters. I’m intrigued by the potential of where this book can go. And I desperately want to read the next issue to dive into this opening arc because the set-up and pay-off was that good!
Be warned, there are spoilers below.
The Art: I REALLY enjoyed ACO’s art! I thought it was well drawn, and adapted to the tone of each scene. What I was most impressed with though, was all of the little “snapshots” that are textured throughout the book. If you review each page carefully, and as intended, it really adds a great element to the book. I will be honest, it did feel a little overwhelming at first because my eyes weren’t sure where to go, but once I got familiar with the layouts, I loved it… and then I loved it even more on the second read!
To see some of the internal art, check out the spoiler tag below.
The Good: Lucas. Who is Lucas? He’s Midnighter out of costume. What really makes this book work, is the fact that you have an interesting and dynamic character. There are so many complexities to him that I can’t wait to learn more. He’s a badass. He doesn’t care what you think of him or what he’s doing. He has his beliefs, and he lives by them. You could easily call him an asshole if you wanted… but there’s more to him underneath that. Buried within him, there is a kind, compassionate, and thoughtful person, and it’s these traits that give him texture. Then there is a completely different side of him that could almost be described as tortured… but not quite as melodramatic. He’s just realistic. He knows that certain aspects of life sucks. He knows he’s not a perfect person. And because of his awareness, he prevents himself from slipping into that emo state. This might make me sound narcissistic, but in many ways, he reminds me of me (except I don’t kill people).
The plot. The team has set up a plot that I CAN’T WAIT to see the results of. I mean, you can’t have a page like page 3 of this book, and not want to know what’s going to happen next!
First off… this page is beautifully drawn, and shocking with its simplicity. Second, it’s insanely dramatic, but not overly dramatic…and it happens on the third page!!!
The Bad: At this point, I think the only thing you might consider “bad” about this book is the homosexuality, if you’re not comfortable with that. Some people aren’t. I’m ok with that. And considering how mediocre I thought the sneak preview for this title was, I’m glad that I didn’t find faults with this issue!
- You’re looking for a grittier, darker read.
- You’re a fan of Midnighter from previous books and series.
- You’re intrigued by a gay male lead in a book.
Overall: Midnighter delivers one hell of a debut that’s sure to be a wild ride, led by a relatable character full of complexities! If you don’t give this title a shot, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.