Midnighter #4
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Stephen Mooney
Colors by Romulo Fajaroo Jr

Steve Orlando, you sly devil you… Midnighter… and Dick Grayson… In towels at a sauna? Women and gay men across the world shed a tear of joy with this one.

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Alright, if I said I didn’t enjoy that, I’d be lying. I mean, come on. Both of these guys are on my, “If they were real, I’d totally date them” list. And don’t give me any side-eye! If you’re an avid comic reader, at some point in your life, you’ve probably had a “crush” on one of the characters. You can’t fool me… Just don’t get creepy about it.

Anyway, on to the actual issue. I loved this team-up! Going into it, I was a little hesitant. The vampire thing made me a little cautious, but above that, I always get anxious when other writers take on Dick Grayson. Orlando proved he was more than capable with the character though, slinging around one-liners and in-battle commentary that at times made me feel as if King and Seeley co-wrote the issue.

For those of you that haven’t been reading Midnighter (which based on the number of sales it had, I’m going to say that not enough of you are), he’s been on a mission to collect tech that was stolen from the God Garden back in the first issue. This isn’t just any tech though. The devices stolen equip people with enhanced abilities – like Midnighter himself – and in the wrong hands, they could be incredibly dangerous. So far, each issue has featured him tracking down the tech one piece at a time, after it’s been sold off to different individuals. Along with the tech, information pertaining to Midnighter’s true identity was stolen as well, and to make matters worse, he doesn’t know who actually took it.

Following a trail of money and victims left by people misusing the God Garden tech, Midnighter violently began leaving a bloody trail as well, slowly leading him closer and closer to the mastermind behind all of this… but with this particular mission, he needs a little help, so he calls on Grayson. Now, when I say “call,” what I really mean is that he uses the Door technology to teleport to a random location to kidnap Dick while he’s in the middle of a mission, and takes him to Russia… to have coffee and fill him in on the plan.

This is why I love Midnighter! He doesn’t worry about being politically correct. He doesn’t’ worry about feelings or emotions. He does what he wants and what he believes in. And don’t bother giving him a commentary on his approach because it won’t do you any good. He would have already sorted through every other option of doing whatever it is that he’s doing, and he’s executing what is easiest and best for him. Thankfully, Dick – although their history has been rocky – appears to have an understanding of Midnighter, and doesn’t combat his intentions.

In Russia, a building has been abandoned and turned into a private club of sorts. Russians pay big bucks to enter the club, are taken to a private room, and then proceed to murder vampires. But this isn’t like Buffy. These vampires aren’t threatening or harming people. These are regular human beings – often homeless people – who are turned into vampires, starved and neglected for days or weeks, then chained up and left to die as testosterone driven “bros” slaughter them. It’s disgraceful. What makes it even worse, is that the vampires actually beg for mercy before being brutally murdered. It’s gross.

More than ever, I want Midnighter to rip these people apart, and I’m immediately curious to see what the dynamic will be like between the two when and if he starts killing in front of Dick. Clearly Dick won’t stand for that, and I begin to think that the bromance that developed during their coffee chat and steam sauna would soon come to an end. To my surprise though, they end up working well together. Incredibly well. They work like partners who have been teamed together for years. As different as they are, they complement each other extremely well – not only in their fighting style, but also in their personalities. What starts as a mutual agreement quickly turns into a deep respect.

The one problem I had, was motivation. I knew that the God Garden tech had to be involved with vampires, but I wasn’t sure for most of the book. I also couldn’t figure out why Midnighter needed Dick. It didn’t make sense to me, and I felt like this team-up was strictly taking place just to boost sales and because Midnighter is slightly infatuated with our favorite boy-wonder turned spy. Thankfully, by the end, everything comes together quite nicely. The ties to Midnighter’s mission are explained, and more importantly, his reasons for choosing Grayson are relevant and believable. The only thing that sucked about this issue was watching it come to a close. Thankfully, these two will be together again next month!
Be warned, there are spoilers below.
The Art: Stephen Mooney covered art duties for this issue, and while I don’t think his work is as distinct as ACO’s, it’s still solid.  My biggest callout for him would be that he’s inconsistent from panel to panel. It’s distinct enough though that it looks like its two separate artists. And while this could be interpreted as a bad thing, I have to admit that Mooney’s “bad” is still decent. He’s definitely a much better pick than Alec Morgan. If they’re going to continue this trend of only using ACO every other issue, I hope they stick with Morgan as the alternate.
To see some of the internal art, check out the spoiler tag below.

Spoiler

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The Good: Grayson & Midnighter. I loved the dynamic of these two! The constant jokes between the two were entertaining, and Midnighter never missed an opportunity to playfully take a jab at Dick. The one I laughed the hardest on was this:

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But there were quite a few others. They also had a good work dynamic together, and by the end, a solid foundation of respect. I’d even go as far to say that they might be on the verge of considering each other friends. Personally, I’d love to see a team-up book featuring these two together… maybe thrown in another character or two.

Vampires. The vampire plot was WAY better than I expected, mainly because they weren’t really vampires. DC has toyed with the idea of vampires since the launch of the New 52, but have yet to confirm it (they were even coy with Nocturna). And while these “vampires” weren’t actually vampires, Midnighter makes it clear that he’s dealt with real vampires. The reason this worked for me though, was the God Garden tech, and how it worked. The tech altered humans using Martian DNA and technology to alter their physical appearance and abilities. It was a nice twist and explanation that I didn’t see coming, yet made perfect sense considering what we know about Martian Manhunter and his abilities.

Marina. At the end of the issue, Midnighter gets a call from Marina. While I wasn’t in full support of this character in the beginning, she’s grown on my quite a bit in the last two issues. I love the character development that occurs between her and Midnighter with each call. And it’s not their actual conversation the progresses each character, it’s just the actions of actually calling. I really enjoy it.

The Bad: As mentioned, consistency with the art could’ve been better. I also had my questions for motivations in the issue, but everything tied up nicely in the end, so the only real complaint might be that you essentially read the entire issue before that information is dropped in.

Recommended If:

  • You think Midnighter, or Dick, or both are hotties and have had steam sauna fantasies about them.
  • You picked up this title because of Midnighter’s cameos in Grayson. 
  • You like you’re heroes a little more violent, and a little less PC.


Overall: Orlando gets it right and knocks it out of the park! The Midnighter/ Grayson team-up is near perfection, as all of the pieces from each issue before this begin to fall into place.

SCORE: 9.0/10