Midnighter is about to reach issue five of the character’s solo run in DC’s new iteration of the character. I feel like I should have talked about Midnighter before this as he is one of the few out gay characters in comics today.
The problem is that my feelings about Midnighter are complicated.
Let me explain.
I’ve mentioned elsewhere that I am a fan of super heroes. Midnighter was a part of a super hero team called The Authority. He was out and open gay super hero who was in a relationship with the teams Superman analog, Apollo. I was not out at the time but it certainly struck me that here were characters that were strong, powerful, and able to embrace who they were. It was treated as part and parcel of the universe with only the occasional backlash. The first few story arcs were great with wonderful art. As time went on, the creative team on the book changed and with it the art and stories became…lesser stellar. I drifted away from the Authority but it created an indelible mark in my imagination.
DC Comics relaunched their continuity after Flashpoint with the New 52. Part of this was a team that included some members of the Authority, including Midnighter and Apollo. I gave the book a try but it could not recapture the feel of the the Authority despite repeated attempts to do so. In the fullness of time, the book was cancelled.
This brings us to now. Midnighter is a solo hero. The first issue shows the audience a man that is activley searching for a past that has been occluded from his vision. There are over the top comic book fights with villains but, similar to Nightwing and Grayson the audience is shown the personal life of Midnighter. We get to see that Midnighter has a profile on Scruff and has dates and one-night stands. Hell, for a man with no identity outside of the hero persona, we get to see how a date is rolled into the life of super heroics. All of this is presented without pomp or circumstances. It is treated as normal which is pleasant surprise coming from DC.
I have to say that despite my trepidation, I am hooked. In The New 52 universe, Midnighter is unaware of his heritage. He is the product of a secret project entitled the God Garden. This is a black box operation that has created technology capable of creating super powered humans almost on part with their original creation of Midnighter. Orlando has provided an explanation for the split between is both acceptable but poses more questions. One of the unique things about Midnighter is that he has the ability to see the outcomes of all actions within a altercation. In a flashback, the audience gets to see he and Apollo get into an argument. Midnighter’s ability kicks in and he makes a decision. He leaves Apollo that day. He would rather the pain be lesser and then that the greater pain that would be caused if things played out the way the were currently. This creates a picture of something more than a cold and callous creature of war. It also paints a picture of a person that, despite being comfortable in their own skin, is not complete in touch with their own and other’s emotions. I want to see this little story play out across Midnighter’s story.
The art is my only problem with the book. I am still stuck on my love for the original style of the Authority. So, it is difficult for me to read this book without comparing it to those panels and finding it lacking. So, I work to judge the art on it’s own merits and keep my disappointment in check when that desire for the old Midnighter design to return.
I would give Midnighter 4 bear paws out of four. It is an excellent take on a gay super hero in one of the big two’s line up. The story being told is interesting and the art is good. Midnighter is a definite book to have on your pull list.