Art by: ACO, Hugo Petrus and Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: June 3, 2015
After reading this issue, I wish I could tell you all that I have a long and storied past with Midnighter. As it turns out, his brief (but awesome) guest spot in Grayson and my brief foray into Stormwatch are all I've got, but in the end, that's just fine. In fact, Steve Orlando makes sure that everyone gets up to speed (after a few readings perhaps) with a story that's action packed and intriguing with enough in-jokes and name drops that old hats can enjoy it on their own lucky level. In fact, I'm sure there are some things that I missed, but that's no problem because what I "got" was all good. I know that doting on a book in the introduction paragraph kind of spoils the review a bit, but who cares...it's my site and I'll dote if I want too.
The issue starts with a cold opening that is hot, hot, hot. Someone (or something?) is attacking the God Garden and has the Gardener on the run. I have to admit, I thought this someone was Midnighter at first and by the time I realized it wasn't, it looked like lights out for the old woman. Like I said above, I know Midnighter mainly from Grayson and the same can be said for the God Garden and it's owner. Kudos to Steve Orlando, this opener was confusing, bizarre and exciting. It had me on the edge of my seat before we even met the star of the book.
Then we meet him. Midnighter is calm, cool, collected and out on the prowl. He's on a date and things are going swimmingly until a group of terrorists interrupt with threats of violence. That's when things really get good. Steve Orlando doesn't just tell you Midnighter's power set, he shows you as well. Better yet, even when you think he messed up (like Midnighter suddenly having his costume on), it's explained and it's awesome. He is a bad ass and he knows it. In fact, he flaunts it.
Not everything can be gunfire and headbutts, right. Well, I guess it could, but after fighting the terrorists, Midnighter heads to Al's Masse Pool Hall in Boston for a little R&R. There we meet Tony, a bartender that knows Midnighter's history and seems to have his back. Steve Orlando does a great job with their dialogue to weed out a bit of the past and also show the bond between them. It would be criminal if we don't see Tony every issue from here on out.
The issue then shows the reader a little of Midnighter's personal life. I haven't mentioned it up until now, but Midnighter is a gay character and Steve Orlando doesn't shy away from it. We see Midnighter and his date round the bases and everything is fine...until he injects him with a smartmark tracker the next morning. I guess that beats just calling a cab. This was the only thing I had a problem with in this whole issue as it just felt like a forced way to show how Midnighter keeps in contact with everyone...including the Gardener...who calls out to him...just as he's talking about her. He heads off to the God Garden and finds out that mysterious someone in the beginning of the issue was after something very, very personal. Color me impressed.
As far as first issues, this one was confusingly awesome. Steve Orlando gives us bits and pieces of the characters and stories to whet our appetites and make us beg for more. I'm begging, Steve. As a character, Midnighter is far from a regular hero, but he's a badass and that's fine with me. I'm on the trolley and I can't wait for next month.
The art in this book was another highlight. I loved Aco's paneling and the action scenes (which were plentiful) were well laid out and great. It's very similar in feel to Mikel Janin's work in Grayson and yes, that is a huge compliment in my book. Romulo Fajardo's color work was also outstanding and this is one of those books you can page through and enjoy without reading a word.
Bits and Pieces:
Midnighter is off with a bang. Steve Orlando doesn't hold any hands, but the effort the reader puts in is paid back tenfold. Midnighter is a badass and the world around him is dangerous and full of mystery. While bits of the story may leave you confused (in a good way, mind you), the art does nothing but impress. This is a great beginning of a story I hope sticks around for a long time.