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Steve Orlando & Fernando Blanco's Midnighter and Apollo is a Kickass Second Act

Comics Reviews Steve Orlando
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Steve Orlando & Fernando Blanco's <i>Midnighter and Apollo</i> is a Kickass Second Act

Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Fernando Blanco
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: October 5, 2016

STL020384.jpeg Tom King comics aside, it’s hard to find a recent DC comic likely to reward multiple readings for years to come. Midnighter was an exception. Writer Steve Orlando and several artists—but especially the brilliant, inventive ACO—made Midnighter’s computer-brain-enhanced adventures come to life. In this revival of the Warren Ellis/Bryan Hitch Stormwatch creation, Orlando and company pulled a nifty trick: taking a character who was considered a one-dimensional knockoff and making his entire life (romantic and ass-kicking) feel rich and mesmerizing. Midnighter wasn’t just the gay hero fans needed: he was the kickass character everyone needed, period.

Though Midnighter didn’t make the cut for the conservative Rebirth lineup, trade sales were good enough to bring back Orlando (along with new artist Fernando Blanco, returning colorist Romulo Fajardo, Jr. and the wonderful ACO on covers) for a six-issue series, Midnighter and Apollo. The first issue is a happy return to form that begs the question: Why in the name of Jenny Sparks can’t we get a Midnighter ongoing?
Orlando continues the winning formula that made Midnighter such a great read: a cup of violence, a spoonful of dark humor, a smart sampling of Midnighter’s past (in the form of underutilized Stormwatch villain Henry Bendix) and a full life for our favorite vigilante. Midnighter drinks with friends, sleeps with Apollo and talks trash to scumbags with equal gusto. As always, Midnighter’s threats and quips are the best. When a bad guy asks “Are you mad?!” Midnighter deadpans, “Not in an unproductive way.” The villains get to be witty too—particularly Henry Bendix, who dismisses actual demons from hell as a “Damn bunch of amateurs.”

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Midnighter and Apollo #1 Interior Art by Fernando Blanco & Romulo Fajardo, Jr.

Blanco’s art sells violent action (like the badass opening sequence) and quiet moments (like Apollo and Midnighter having a heart-to-heart about killing bastards) with equal force. I have no idea how Orlando—on a scale of full script to Marvel style—works with artists, but I imagine he has a strong visual sense, because his various Midnighter artists share a similarly propulsive style.

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Midnighter and Apollo #1 Interior Art by Fernando Blanco & Romulo Fajardo, Jr.

The only downside of the first issue is that Apollo is still pretty boring and around mostly for his relationship with Midnighter. For all intents and purposes, this is really Midnighter 2 or More Midnighter. Hey, I’m not complaining! “More Midnighter!” is a mantra fans need to shout until DC gets Orlando and company back on an ongoing.

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Midnighter and Apollo #1 Interior Art by Fernando Blanco & Romulo Fajardo, Jr.

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Midnighter and Apollo #1 Interior Art by Fernando Blanco & Romulo Fajardo, Jr.

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Midnighter and Apollo #1 Interior Art by Fernando Blanco & Romulo Fajardo, Jr.

Mark Peters is the author of Bullshit: A Lexicon. Follow him on Twitter.

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