Saturday, January 9, 2016

Midnighter #8 Review and *Spoilers*

Be Afraid. Be Kind of Afraid

Written by: Steve Orlando
Art by: David Messina, Gaetano Carlucci, Romulo Fajardo Jr and Tom Napolitano
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 6, 2016

*Non Spoiler Summary and Score At The Bottom*

I will readily admit it, I am not a fan of Steve Orlando's Midnighter, but I go into every issue with an open mind.  I hope that everyone out there believes that because it's true.  In fact, I may even skew towards the positive side of things before cracking open the cover.  Stop laughing and trust me when I tell you that I really want to like it.  Things would be so much easier if I did.  In fact,  I can imagine a life where I love every single book I read and review, a life where the creators I idolize love me back and DC Comics has me on speed dial (I know that's not a thing anymore, but at least I didn't say rolodex.  Give me a break, I'm an old man!)  What a wonderful life that would be and I can almost touch it if I close my eyes and concentrate real, real hard.  Unfortunately, when I open my eyes again, it all comes crashing down because of tiny things like honesty and integrity.  Still, a voice in my head keeps screaming, “Why can't you just love Midnighter like every other reviewer out there?”, while another one that sounds just like Emmanuel Lewis reminds me to “Keep it real up in the field.”  So, going into this month's Midnighter I will keep it real, for myself, for you guys and especially for Webster...mainly for Webster, God rest his soul.

Steve Orlando’s first arc of Midnighter was chock full of fist questions, flesh pounding and all around action movie...action, so it's a nice change of pace to see our hero relaxing a bit as the issue opens.  Of course, that's after a crazy cold beginning involving a mutated gorilla/rhino (I'd call it a rhinorilla) and the sly introduction of a Grant Morrison character, but we paid to see Midnighter and I'm glad the guy gets to sit back, flirt a little and get some things off his chest.

Midnighter is being interviewed for what appears to be a documentary on himself and I had a couple problems with it right away.  The first was why the fuck would Midnighter every get involved in something like this?  You can tell me he’s a narcissist and can’t say no to anything, but it just felt off.  My other complaint was the dialogue going on here.  Why does Steve Orlando insist on making everyone sound like they just walked out of an 80’s action movie?!?  Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge Bloodsport fan, but I don’t need to read dialogue that sounds like Jean-Claude Van Damme and Donald Gibb talking about Karate Champ!  I might as well be talking to a brick wall because the dialogue doesn’t get any better from here on out, but that doesn’t mean this issue was a complete loss.

Midnighter cuts the interview short and jumps through a door to come face-to-face with a leopard/elephant (I’d call it a leopaphant...they can’t all be winners) ripping through downtown Rochester.  He throws an engine block at it (nice!), but before he can do any more damage, Dominic Mndawe steps in to stop him.  Yep, Freedom Beast is in the house and I’ll admit it, that is pretty damn cool, though I wish Steve Orlando wasn’t so against secret identities.  Why does he tell Midnighter his real name right off the bat?  And why is Midnighter helping them make a documentary about himself?  I know we discussed that earlier, but it’s annoying me more now.  

Back to the story, Mndawe uses his talents to "unfuse" the leopahant and explain who the bad guys who did this are.  The Sportsman’s Ambition (I think I bought a hockey stick there once) have been doing their Dr. Moreau impersonation for a while and Mndawe wants to end it right here and now.  Since elephants never forget, they follow the pachyderm to the Ambition’s headquarters to lay down the law.  

I have a small question for all those reviewers out there that gave this issue a perfect score...what did they do with the leopard?  As far as I can tell, they left it to roam the streets of Rochester and possibly (probably?) eat innocent children.  While I’m at it, can any of the reviewers spell out exactly why the Sportsman’s Ambition are doing what they do?  What is their endgame?  Are they making these spliced animals to hunt, sell, study???  Is it obvious to everyone that they are only here as a way to get these cool creatures and Freedom Beast into the issue?  Again, talking to a brick wall and all.

The elephant does lead them right to the Sportsman’s Ambition and it turns into the closest thing to a kaiju battle that we will get from DC Comics this week.  Midnighter fights a spider/lion/armadillo/maybe a bat (I’d call it a spiderdilloionat!)  and while it looked pretty cool, I was confused by the how and why it is so much bigger than either a spider, a lion, a armadillo or a bat ...aren’t there rules to any of this?!?!  Like I said, it looks cool and Midnighter makes it go to sleep (eat your heart out C.M. Punk) quick enough, but then finds himself staring down the barrel of a gun.  Then the issue takes a turn down crazy awesome street.

Yep, you read that right.  While I continued my hatred of every bit of dialogue printed here and I want to slap Midnighter in the face every time he even mentions his Fight Computer, I couldn’t help but laugh by what was going on.  After Midnighter kicks some Sportsman’s Ambition ass, he leaves Mndawe in charge of taking care of the group’s Mr. Big and if he doesn’t suddenly become Seth Brundle than I’m not Poland’s Sweetheart.  I am in fact revered in the Land of the Fields and Mndawe turns the bad guy into a human/mosquito (I’d call that hilarious!).  With all the bad things that I say about this book and Steve Orlando I have to admit that I thought this was awesome and do appreciate that he crossed the line of what a superhero (even an antihero) would usually do.  I waited for Midnighter to stop Mndawe, but instead he makes it even harder on Mosquitto Man which is right in line with his character...a sadistic asshole!

The issue ends with Marina getting out of jail (how much time has passed in this book already?!?) and Midnighter joining up with Spyral to retrieve the “Perdition Pistol”.  We saw Deadshot grabbing it previously, so it’s no shock that Midnighter will be going after the Suicide Squad.  Like Hansel, they are so hot right now.  I always like the promise of more Suicide Squad, but it really feels like Orlando just erased “The Gardener ” and wrote in “Spyral” and we will just continue getting the same story moving forward.  I’ll wait and see, but it certainly looks that way from where I’m sitting.

While I liked this issue more than most since the series started, it was far from perfect.  The dialogue in this book continues to be so wooden that you could make fancy furniture out of it and I can’t get past the fact that I really hate the the lead character. However, this issue was fun.  Midnighter fighting spliced animals was a hoot and seeing Freedom Beast in the DCU was awesome.  While this really was a one-shot filler issue with a cliffhanger that sets up the next arc, I’d take this kind of issue every month.  

David Messina fills in on art this month and I liked what he did here.  He gives the reader a little taste of what Aco has done, but in a cleaner, more understandable way.  Sometimes this book ends up being overly flashy at the expense of storytelling, but Messina doesn’t let that happen here.  Plus, he gets to draw really crazy creatures and you can tell he enjoyed it.

Bits and Pieces:  

Yes, I liked this issue more than most of what we’ve gotten from Midnighter, but it’s far from perfect.  The dialogue continues to be unnaturally stiff and the one-shot story we get is mostly filler, but we get the reintroduction of a classic character and a whole lot of grotesque fun.  I appreciated David Messina’s easier to follow art style and while the cliffhanger would normally have me excited, it feels like a same shit, different day kind of deal.  I can’t recommend this issue to anyone, but fans who have stuck with the book this long should enjoy it.  I didn’t hate it.



  1. LMAO. I drop the book and it gets a 6!

  2. Since when did you right reviews with spoilers Jim ?

    1. I have done it a couple of times...the reason was that I had some issues with the Marina part and with Midnighter teaming up with Spyral for the cliffhanger and the only way I could address both was by spoiling them. At least I didn't post the final cliffhanger page like some people I know!!!