Review: MIDNIGHTER AND APOLLO #1

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MIDNIGHTER AND APOLLO #1
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Fernando Blanco and Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: October 5, 2016

The boys are back in town, as Midnighter and Apollo reunite to host a dinner party, take down subway pirates, and fuck like bunnies — not necessarily in that order. But no sooner are they back together that Henry Bendix rears his ugly head to drive a wedge between them. Will life itself come between M and his man? Not if he can kill it.

Look. If you didn’t read Midnighter — and odds are, you maybe didn’t, given the previous series sales — you now have a chance to redeem yourself. Because the reality is this: no self-respecting comic book fan, DC fan, or fan of queers kicking ass can afford to be without Midnighter and Apollo in their life.

Bursting out of the page almost immediately with call-backs to some of the craziest concepts in DC Universe history — and without any burden for the new reader, may I add — Midnighter and Apollo shows just how wild comic books can be and still hang onto a deep sense of emotional connection.

It’s that outstanding balance of action and domesticity writer Steve Orlando pitched in Midnighter and continues here that fuels the series all over again. In some ways, it’s the perfect reflection of Apollo and Midnighter themselves, the latter a hardcore killer and the former stereotypically a hardcore lover. But the reality is, both heroes are both things, and the complexity Orlando brings to the characters would be refreshing for any hero, but doubly so for DC’s premier gay male couple.

The reclamation of M and Apollo’s relationship feels organic and natural (huh. Funny that. Organic.) with the quiet moments, stolen glances, worried brows, and satisfied sighs taking up as much narrative weight as the punches that break bones and crack skulls. The pacing Orlando establishes for the book as a whole is evenly matched by that which penciller/inker Fernando Blanco works up on each individual page. Every interaction has a weight that permeates the characters’ connection with each other.

So, when that connection is broken, it feels all the more visceral.

This is what illustrating a real-feel relationship or a marriage on the page of a comic book is all about. It’s not shallow. They’re not a sitcom caricature. Apollo and Midnighter feel like two individuals with history, with personality, with conflict, and with connection. The entire creative team should be applauded for striking that gold.

And one more thing.

If you believed that making Midnighter into a fully-fleshed out, three-dimensional, lovely in bed and danger in the field, complex homosexual was a feat of fortune from these and previous creators, you are going to plotz at the single panel reclamation of DC Comics’ first ever — and TERRIBLY stereotypical at the time — gay super-hero. You all thought Vibe was a reclamation from the break-dancing Latino stereotype, wait until you meet Extraño. Oh my Lord in heaven.

I say it again. OH MY LORD IN HEAVEN. Thank you for this Extraño. I seriously have the vapors.

Whether you loved Midnighter, are coming to Midnighter and Apollo from years away, or jumping in for the first time, this book has it all. Action, deep characterization, kickass and emotional art, brilliant Easter eggs for the universally astute, and more than anything — just an astonishing fun comic book adventure. Anything can happen, and likely will, and that’s what makes comic books so damn great.

The Verdict: 10/10

 

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