Art by: Stephen Mooney and Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 2, 2015
First Rule of Vampire Club...
I have had a diminishing love affair with Midnighter. I simply loved the first issue, thought the second issue was a bit off and pretty much hated last month's third issue. So, I'd say that this issue is a pivotal one for me. I'll admit, this one already has a bit of an advantage since it features Dick Grayson. While I liked Midnighter in Stormwatch during it's New 52 run, it was his guest appearances in Grayson that made me fall in love with the character. I know I'm not the only one and without it, it'd be safe to say that this book wouldn't even exist. The two characters just play so well off each other and it's a thrill to see them whether they are partners or enemies. So, does the teamup get this book back on track or am I going to have to look for another book to love? Let's find out...
The issue opens in Moscow which is not at all peculiar for this book. It's a cold open without Midnighter of Grayson in site. We do get a couple of young Russian douche bags out on the town, looking for trouble. While I wish they were wearing tracksuits, you get the point...they aren't good guys. I never would have guessed what they were up too. I'll give you a hint, it involves vampires...sort of.
As far as openings go, this is my favorite since the first issue. Steve Orlando throws you in the middle of the craziness and lets the seedy and disgusting events happen around you. One thing that has been disappointing has been the revolving art team and that continues with Stephen Mooney this month.
We then drop in on Midnighter and Dick Grayson sort of having lunch in a Moscow cafe. It's a nice scene and again reminded me of how much I love these two characters together. However, it's all a quick means to an end that leads the two to the Russian douche bags from the opener.
One thing that Steve Orlando has been great at is giving the reader some kick ass set pieces. That continues here as Midnighter and Grayson ask some "Fist Questions" in a steam room resulting in a cinematic battle that was a tad confusing visually, but had some of the best dialogue this book has seen in a while. Of course, they get what they came for...well, maybe Midnighter wanted a bit more, but they did find out the location of the underground vampire killing club. Time to "Press the Flesh".
Steve Orlando gives us another great battle that only gets more intense when our two heroes are separated. Midnighter finds himself battling a vampire, but discovers what's really at play here. While the dialogue takes a dip into hokey territory, the action was so good. It gets even better when Grayson catches up to his buddy and we get one of the best finishing moves I've ever seen.
The issue continues with Midnighter talking to Marina about what has gone down and what the immediate repercussions are. It is a really good summation of what has gone on up until now and in a ways, this issue really felt like the real start of the series. That feeling really kicks in when we see the main villain of the book (who I didn't want to spoil in the review) and get the cliffhanger that throws everything that's happened in the story up until now upside down and sideways.
While I still have my problems with the art and dialogue in this book, this issue really kick started my enthusiasm and has me very hopeful for the story going forward. We finally get a concrete villain and see what he's doing behind the scenes. Of course, nothing is what it seems in this book and I'm sure that Steve Orlando has some tricks up his sleeve to surprise us. I also want to point out another reason this issue left a better taste in my mouth...I actually liked Midnighter. I know the character is never going to be pinatas and RC Cola, but I at least like an issue where I don't outright hate him. I really liked him here.
I wish I could say the same or Stephen Mooney's art. I didn't like his Dick Grayson and the action, though intense and frenetic, was more confusing than it should have been. I guess I shouldn't get too upset, though, because we will probably have someone else on the book next month.
Bits and Pieces:
While this issue wasn't perfect, it was a huge step forward and has me back on board the Midnighter trolley. Steve Orlando gives us a peek at the bigger picture and it promises some bloody good times going forward. While I still had problems with some of the dialogue and the art didn't do it any favors, I would still recommend this issue to anyone wondering what the buzz is surrounding this book.