Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Fernando Blanco
Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr. & John Rauch
Letters: Josh Reed
Midnighter and Apollo #6 wraps up the fantastic mini-series by Steve Orlando and Fernando Blanco. When the New 52 launched I was less than thrilled that the Wildstorm Universe was being melded with the DC Universe. After reading the first issue of Stormwatch my feelings were confirmed, the Wildstorm pantheon of characters did not belong in the mainstream DC books. Then two things occurred. The first was that Tom King and Tim Seeley incorporated the Midnighter into their spy thriller Grayson. I wasn’t expecting him, I was fearful when I saw him on the page, and then enjoyed the hell out of the issue as it was as true to the Warren Ellis character you could get in the DC universe. Then the second thing happened, DC gave the Midnighter his own series that was brilliantly written by Steve Orlando. Over the next 12 issues the Midnighter was a hyper violent, action packed, and very progressive series that was at the top of my read pile every month. I was excited that DC let Orlando write this series as not only is he a true gem of a writer but he also skillfully gave the Midnighter a social and love life he deserved after years of being seen as just a hyper-violent Batman analog. And yes, it was an openly gay love life as the Midnighter is and has always been gay. But what I loved about the book was that Midnighter was gay and it wasn’t a big deal. He was written like every other single superhero playing the field, he was a gay Dick Grayson, and that was all the social commentary needed. I enjoyed that title and was sad when it wrapped up but I wasn’t sad for long as it was announced there would be a Midnighter and Apollo mini-series. The Wildstorm power couple were back together and wreaking havoc once again.
Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch created the Midnighter and Apollo and introduced them in Stormwatch vol.2 #4. They were part of a secret Stormwatch team that were betrayed by Henry Bendix and were living rough on the streets fighting crime as homeless superheroes. But they were also analogs of the Worlds Finest as Apollo is a solar powered super man while Midnighter is the perfect killing machine and master strategist with a predictive fight computer in his head. They were also a couple, which was revealed later in the Authority where both characters were flushed out further. Eventually they married and adopted a child, Jenny Quantum, all while kicking ass and taking names. But by the time the New 52 versions were introduced they were not together nor had they ever been together. I did not read the New 52 Stormwatch but it’s apparent they did get together and then broke up, hence the Midnighter being single in his solo title. But they rekindled and are back together and taking on the devil himself in Midnighter & Apollo.
Midnighter & Apollo #6 wraps up what has essentially been Midnighter and Apollo go to hell. Apollo lost his life earlier in the series and has been tortured by Nekron, a DC stand in for Satan to keep overt religious references out of their books, much like Mephisto in the Marvel Universe. The Midnighter did not accept Apollo’s death and followed him to hell to reclaim his lover even if it meant his own death. Where Midnighter & Apollo #5 was the Midnighter’s time to shine issue #6 is all about the power of Apollo as he and Midnighter are finally reunited and Apollo has some choice words for Nekron as well a hell of a beat down. The duo is then confronted by death in the form of everyone they’ve killed over the course of their careers as superheroes, and if you know the history of these two that is a massive body count. The fight scenes are intense and the culmination of the entire mini-series is beautiful. The conclusion of this series is the perfect conclusion to what Steve Orlando began in Midnighter #1.
Fernando Blanco was a nice choice for art on this series. His heavy lines and classic panel layouts perfectly meshed with the story being told. His quite moments were touching and the violence was over the top and fantastic. The colors in this issue were pitch perfect with the dark and deep reds of hell with incredible illumination by Apollo. Overall the book looks gritty and raw, which is exactly what is needed to be. Steve Orlando is one of, if not the best writer DC currently has working for them and what he has done with the Midnighter character has been genius. I hope this isn’t the end of the duo under Orlando’s watch, but if it is then it’s been a hell of a run and a classic story.
Verdict: If you love over the top violence with your love stories then BUY! What Steve Orlando has done with the Midnighter has been incredible. With the reunion of Wildstorm Finest Midnighter & Apollo has been a wonderful mini-series. It has been a worthy successor to the Midnighter and I look forward in the near future to being able to share this series with students who are struggling so they can see being gay is no different then being straight and our society needs to be more accepting, and if they aren’t then maybe we should unleash the Midnighter and Apollo upon them since a Finer World is always worth fighting for.