Are you a Batman fan who thinks the coolest part of the Dark Knight is his ability to plan for absolutely ever contingency? Then boy, have we got a hero for you. Meet Midnighter. He may not be a suave socialite billionaire or the World's Greatest Detective, but he is a man who can literally see every possible angle of a situation and instantaneously calculate the probable outcomes. He also just so happens to be one of the DC Universe's many queer heroes, making this Pride Month the perfect time to sit down and get to know him a bit better! That's why, for this Weekend Escape, we're serving up Midnighter Vol. 1: Out, the first collected edition of his solo series from the New 52 era, by the stellar creative team Steve Orlando and ACO!
For the uninitiated, Midnighter got his start as part of the WildStorm Universe as a member of the Authority, a team full of slightly dysfunctional heroes who would go above and beyond to make sure they got the job done. This also meant that they were frequently willing to use extreme tactics and force that would make other teams flinch—and Midnighter was often a big proponent of that. Dressed head-to-toe in black leather, he was gritty and usually ultra-violent thanks to his superpower: a super computer in his brain that could calculate any angle and any outcome of any scenario, instantly. He also, as it turned out, happened to be queer and deeply in love with his teammate Apollo, who had powers and abilities on par with Superman.
But, as you might imagine, it's pretty difficult to maintain a loving relationship in a world full of tough choices, moral gray spots and brutality. This is where we meet Midnighter in this series, having broken up with Apollo and trying, with varying degrees of success, to get back out there in the dating world. Of course, that's even more difficult when the world just keeps finding itself threatened by weapons of cataclysmic power.
Let's Talk Talent:
This Pride Month it's important to not only celebrate queer characters, but queer talent as well, and Steve Orlando is an outstanding and passionate example of just that! Orlando's empathy and creativity shine through in Midnighter, making the man himself every bit as layered and engaging as he deserves to be. In Orlando's hands, Midnighter is more than just the queer answer to Batman, or the anti-Batman, or even just another black-clad brooding hero who wishes he were anything but. He's a rich and complicated character trying to find out just who he is and what he likes.
Meanwhile, ACO's cartooning and art drives every one of those layers home. On the page, Midnighter looks just as real and just as believable when he's smashing faces in with his fists or when he's awkwardly fumbling through a silly first date. It's two very, very opposite ends of a spectrum that could cause some bizarre shifts in style and done, but instead, find a perfect blend and balance.
A Few Reasons to Read:
- Do you like brutal action with a surprisingly big heart? Midnighter might be for you. This is a pretty violent book. Midnighter's fighting style is never delicate and it's rarely restrained. But beneath all the bone cracking and nose punching there's a sweet and, dare I say, even romantic underpinning. If you're looking for a great genre mash-up, this is the place.
- Are you looking for a gateway into the WildStorm Universe and feel unsure where to start? Midnighter Vol. 1 is an incredible introduction to both him and some of the bigger concepts that exist within the WildStorm books, making him a great springboard. Plus, it's always a little easier to start with a solo title rather than a team book if you're feeling intimidated with too many new characters.
- Did you happen to catch Grayson, Dick Grayson’s Tom King and Tim Seeley-scripted solo series? Chances are you may have met Midnighter in those stories as well and guess what? Grayson shows up here in this book as well, making the two of them the perfect pairing. Consider this two Weekend Escapes in one!
Why It's Worth Your Time:
It's really no surprise that Midnighter found its way into so many "Best Of…" lists back when it was first published in 2015. It's raw and frequently dark, refreshingly open and unique, and it features an incredible (and often vastly underrepresented) look into some of the many ways queer identities intersect with the world around them. Midnighter himself is an amazing character, vastly unlike anything else you might come across in the DC Universe and beyond. That alone should be enough to command your attention and pique your interest. Plus, once you get to know him, you'll find a whole world of WildStorm stories opening up around you, from new and upcoming books to old classics you may have missed!
Mason Downey writes about comics, movies and superhero history for DC.com. Look for more of his work on GameSpot, IGN and Polygon and follow him on Twitter at @rustypolished.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Mason Downey and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros., nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.