Love transcends all barriers even those guarding the gates of hell! Especially in the case of superpower couple Midnighter and Apollo. The macro-mighted, swift-kicking crimefighter has had his work cut out for him ever since reconciling with his more powerful than the rising son super beau, but after taking on a deadly demon Apollo is struck down and his soul is sent into the afterlife. The latest issue of the 6-issue arc in Midnighter and Apollo #3 written by Steve Orlando with are by Fernando Blanco continues the adventures of two of DC Comics most popular and out-spoken characters.
Ever since the vigilante Mignighter struck out on his own (see the recently wrapped solo title Midnighter also by Orlando) he hasn’t been having the best go of single-hood that you’d imagine or expect from a cat who’s packing a heck of a six-pack and an even more charming roguish attitude. Admittedly, by end of that series’ run, and a couple of pretty harrowing knock-down drag-out fights, including several capers that had him teaming up with none other than Dick Grayson aka Nightwing. Obviously you can’t keep a good man down — though many have tried — and the dark finally saw the light as Apollo returned!
Now this dynamic duo (the comparisons between Batman and Superman aren’t going unnoticed) are back together again, fighting crime and winning hearts as the DC Universe’s most out-loud and proud gay super heroes.
It appeared that the two heroes had struck the most perfect of balances. Apollo has come to terms with the Midnighter’s penchant for kicking bad guy ass. For someone has powerful as Apollo, whose powers would rival those of perhaps the Man of Steel’s, killing is not an option. Where the Midnighter prefers to strike down his enemies with his own brand of justice, he understands and never underestimates Apollo’s restraint. Grateful that the two, after several break-ups are now rallying to make their way as a couple, trouble is still looming darkly round every corner for these two. Though that’s just another day and night for this pair.
After confronting the archdemon Mawzir Apollo is fatally and ends up in hell at the mercy of the Neron. Desperate to bring his lover back from the precipice of despair, Midnighter learns that the only way he can avenge Apollo’s “death” is by using an ancient weapon an eldritch rifle called the Ace of Winchester. Midnighter learns about the weapon from his colleague the magician Gregorio de la Vega, El Extraño and one-time “New Guardian” a remnant of the crossover Millennium event. Gregorio tells Midnighter he needs to use this weapon to destroy Mawzir and also casts a spell that will help get Midnighter into hell so that he can rescue his true love.
When I spoke with Steve Orlando about the direction that this latest adventure would be taking for these tier characters, he promised that there would be some very colorful supporting players waiting in the wings that would enhance the story. Given the obscure nature of the hero Extraño who made his debut in the Millennium crossover event published by DC Comics in 1988, the inclusion of this hero also harks to the imprints current company-wide “Rebirth” initiative that is looking to reestablish many of the legacy elements that may have gotten retconned recently.
Meanwhile Apollo faces his own obstacles while held prisoner in hell challenging Neron to a game of his own devising that tempts the hero with doubt — presenting Apollo with an inevitable future hopelessly paved with blood, death and murder — or an eternity as part of a corrupted menagerie. Apollo ever hopeful plays Neron’s game even though the demon continues to plague him with doubts, demonstrating to the “false god” just how vulnerable he really is and how unworthy of a happy ending he is, unaware that Midnighter is on his way to release him from captivity.
Though the nature of the story is magnificently opulent and wrapped up in the sci-fi/fantasy elements of the Midnighter and Apollo format, it is at its base the truest of all heroic adventures where two lovers face the most dangerous of opposition to emerge complete at the other end. That the story is centered on the tale of these two male archetypes is even more compelling and easily the most contemporary. Good on Steve Orlando for giving these heroes a place to carry on their adventures and even better on DC Comics for championing their tale.
Midnighter and Apollo may only have a six-issue run to unravel this epic, but in the end it will make all the difference especially entering into a particularly uncertain time after the recent election. Many are feeling scared and disenfranchised by what they expect may be some unforeseeable obstructions to basic civil rights and concerns in the structure that the government may be taking given the unpredictable energy of the incoming administration. Fortunately there are heroes out there fighting for us!
No matter how dark it might get in the shadows, we’ve got an avenger prepared to fight for us, and he’s got the brightest light to guide him by. This is why Midnighter and Apollo is a must-read!
The latest issue is on sale now.