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“Screaming with excitement” just about describes my reaction to receiving my copy of Midnighter and Apollo #1. Folks following my previous Steve Orlando coverage know that I have an above average level of excitement over this title.
Thank God it lives up to the hype I built up in my head.
Everything I loved about Midnighter returns for this miniseries. I still don’t know what’s happening a solid half the time, due to a lack of familiarity with anything besides the Midnighter vol. 1 trade paperback. But part of what I loved so much about Midnighter is that I didn’t have to know exactly what was happening to enjoy it.
Additionally, Marina, my favorite side character from Midnighter, appears in this issue. I don’t know how she got out of jail (I’m waiting for the trade for Midnighter vol. 2 to find out), but I’m glad to see her. The rest of Mid’s support cast, besides Dick Grayson, also show up. Quite literally — Apollo hosts a dinner party for all their friends.
Basically, the plot of this issue revolves around Bendix, the guy who created Apollo and Midnighter, and his quest to ruin their lives. Bendix hires some zombies — I think zombies, anyway — called the Lords of the Gun to kidnap Apollo. Meanwhile, Bendix himself lures Midnighter into a devious trap. The issue ends with Apollo trapped in Hell, and Midnighter trapped with Bendix several hundred feet underground.
Like I said in the verdict, Hell seems a little obvious for a story about two gay men. However, I don’t exactly see an abundance of stories where a gay guy gets dragged to hell and the bad guys did it. So points for a different version of the idea, I suppose. Additionally, it sets up some really interesting potential symbolism. After all, Apollo has light-based powers, and people regularly call him a god. Putting a ‘god’ in Hell could create some thematic resonance in later issues and I look forward to seeing what Orlando does with it.
Also looking forward to watching Midnighter tear the world apart to get his lover back. But let’s be real for a minute: I don’t get a lot of gay content that plays with this kind of pulpy narrative. I don’t necessarily want Midnighter to save Apollo. But I do want him to give everything of himself in order to try. I love that stuff in stories — the hero willing to fight anything, go anywhere, sacrifice anything for the ones they love.
And really, an Orpheus and Eurydice setup definitely fits the bill for that.
Additionally, visually, the book looks a lot like Midnighter, with the inset panels to show extra important details. I also feel the colors are exquisitely done. So shout out to Fernando Blanco for bringing such distinctive visuals to this story!
Overall, this comic definitely goes on my must-follow list. If Midnighter suited you, Midnighter and Apollo will too, and I highly recommend it.