Diehard romantics…don’t despair! Now that DC Comics most famous power couple have called it quits — sorry Brangelina following an act like Wonder Woman and Superman is tough, unless you happen to be two of comicdom’s most out loud and proud gay role models! This month Midnighter and Apollo the World’s Finest Couple are back in a new miniseries that’s charting new territory for the super duo, and marks writer Steve Orlando’s return to crafting out the continuing adventures of the DC Universe’s most compelling pair of heroes.
After a critically successful run on Midnighter solo series, Orlando was energized to reunite these star-crossed lovers. “The response to Midnighter was electric across the board,” shared Steve Orlando. “We realized it was time to bring these guys back for another round.” Having the dark clad vigilante with a computer brain and bad attitude running all over town breaking hearts as easily as he bashes skulls was one thing; bringing the all-powerful Apollo back into his life completely changes Midnighter’s dynamic.
The pair were first introduced in 1998 as part of the WildStorm imprint, before being absorbed under DC Comics publishing umbrella. Their partnership and romance, often had its rough spots, especially due to Midnighter’s penchant for violence. They became staples of “The New 52” continuity when Stormwatch #1 (written by Paul Cornell with art by Miguel Sepulveda) debuted in 2011. The reboot would re-introduce the pair from a fresh perspective rediscovering their attraction for one another and constructively reuniting as the premiere “queer couple” in comics.
But by the conclusion of that series run, Apollo and Midnighter had grown apart and the latter continued to work as a free agent, often teaming up with Dick Grayson/Nightwing during the one-time sidekick’s time undercover as an agent for the international spy ring known as Spyral. It wasn’t long before Apollo would return. “There was never any question that they would eventually get back together,” Orlando admits, having reunited the heroes in the final act of the Midnighter solo comic facing off against the treacherous Henry Bendix. “It was about putting them on more solid ground once they did.”
Though Midnighter and Apollo are first and foremost superheroes dedicated to protecting the innocent, since their introduction in published comics they’ve come to mean much more to their audience especially among LGBTQ readers who finally had representation of themselves in the world of larger than life icons that leap tall buildings in a single bound. For Orlando getting that part of the story right — the intimate development of the characters as lovers — was as significant as the action they faced as crimefighting avengers. “Their relationship is based on an understanding of who they are as individuals and who they are as a couple — change them from characters that need to be together, to characters that want to be together. I think it’s a stronger relationship.
Stronger indeed! Immediately into the first few pages of the new miniseries in Midnighter and Apollo #1 our heroes take down a ring of subway pirates who use kidnapped children to power their “God-Train” — literally a series of subway cars come to life to wreck havoc — which Apollo takes apart like a toy! Midnighter does his best work on the kidnappers, magnificently illustrated across a two page series of panels by series artist Fernando Blanco that reads like a cinematic brawl out of an old western — except that this fight takes place on a runaway train! Needless to say, there are plenty of casualties!
Although the heroes save the day, the body count courtesy of Midnighter is higher than Apollo would have preferred. “Apollo has always understood the human cost in a different way than Midnighter,” Orlando elaborated on, “he sees things in a different way. It’s more of a question of the implementation.” The two heroes are literally night and day versions of one another, where Apollo had a more traditional upbringing with parents and a home life, and Midnighter’s larger hazy origins are the product of bioengineering at the hands of Bendix that turn him into a ruthless weapon. These two sides of the heroes will be explored in the miniseries more in depth.
“In issue one we’re tying up some of the loose ends from the Midnighter run,” the writer confirmed, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the overall theme of the 6-issue miniseries. “The actions of even a man like Henry Bendix,” a ruthless nemesis we’ve established has links to both our heroes, “who had the whole world in his scope — Bendix doesn’t know what he’s set off with his actions. That’s what’s driving us into the main story of Midnighter and Apollo.” When you have a metahuman as powerful as Apollo thrown into the mix the scale of the story has to ultimately be bigger!
Providing that scope, which has to also walk the delicate balance of a harder more visceral edge, Orlando enlisted Fernando Blanco and Romulo Fajardo, Jr. to illustrate and provide the art for this adventure. “It’s been great working with Fernando; I can write to his strength and it has the energy and creativity that is better than anything I could have ever imagined.” The miniseries will definitely focus on its titular heroes and has given Orlando breath and room to enhance a lot of the backstory. “I would write these characters whenever I’m asked to,” Orlando admits. “I’m a lot like Midnighter, more so than I am like Batman. Batman is hard — it’s true.”
Midnighter and Apollo find themselves confronting new dangers that will take them from one end of the DC Comics Universe to another. They’ve been preparing for this their entire lives and Steve Orlando is excited to invite fans along for the exciting ride!
Midnighter and Apollo #1 is available at specialty shops and newsstands now and is written by Steve Orlando with art by Fernando Blanco, colors by Romulo Fajardo Jr. and covers by ACO and Fajardo Jr. published by DC Comics.
Midnighter Vol. 1: Out is available now and Midnighter Vol. 2: Hard arrives in stores on October 19th.