OK, now regular readers might remember that I've already covered Book One of The Midnighter's Wildstorm series (a surprisingly sensitive five issues penned by Garth Ennis), but this is the DCYou Midnighter, new series, newly single and carving out a place for himself as a solo hero. I must say when I first heard he and his lover Apollo had been split up I wondered if this was some dastardly attempt by DC to "de-gay" him. I needn't have worried, to be frank after the incredibly chaste and angsty relationship he and Apollo had in The New 52 series Stormwatch, seeing The Midnighter hit the Scene, clubbing and dating and shagging hot blokes is really fun to read and while obviously things don't get too sexually graphic, I was surprised at how raunchy he is being allowed to be. So well done DC you finally made it into the 21st century with your portrayal of an out and proud gay man heading his own series, and you haven't even slapped a "For Mature Readers" warning on it either. In case you're reading this and don't recall much about The Midnighter, he's a genetically enhanced human with a brain like a computer capable of analysing every possible outcome of a fight in a split second plus superhuman healing abilities. He also enjoys his "job" perhaps a little too much, he's never happier than when he is breaking heads although he's on the side of good thankfully.
This newer version of Midnighter first appeared in the Grayson (Dick Grayson having been "outed" as Nightwing now continues his work without a secret identity) series where a new backstory that is elaborated on in this volume was given to him. The collection begins with a sneak peak from the Nightwing/Oracle mini that was part of the Convergance crossover, where we see him defeating aliens who are transporting into human bodies. But that's only a few pages and somewhat lacking in context so I am skipping past it to begin with the series proper, just noting that has been included if you decide to pick this trade paperback up. Onwards.
|On a date with Jason.|
They flirt, then Midnighter's senses tell him an attack is imminent and he tells his date to get down. In teleport some "Modorians" who want the Modorian "traitors" hiding in the USA and the restaurant is now their hostage. As their leader rants, Midnighter gets changed into his superhero garb and tells them:
Midnighter: "Beaming in here, you must think you're pretty great. But I have a special computer in my head that lets me see every move you're going to make...I won the moment you spoke out of your sphinchter of a mouth".
He goes on to say by letting him talk he was given time to allow his eyes to heal and he lays a brutal beatdown on them. One of the hostages says "awesome" as he looks on.
|Midnighter in action.|
Jason: "Can anyone gain access?"
Midnighter: "No, there's a rigorous physical examination".
Jason says his life is ridiculous, a door that can go anywhere is crazy. Midnighter says his apartment is the hub and that apartment is grown from "undifferentiated urban cells. Superhero housing". Jason decides to make a move and sexy times ensue.
|Fredric Wertham is spinning in his grave.|
Midnighter: "I'm a fighter. I fight for normal people but will never be one. I'm not a hero. Some people can't handle that."
Then he slaps a GPS/Communication patch on Jason so he can be one of his "assets", reporting to Midnighter if they see anything out of the ordinary. Jason understandably reacts a little freaked out at being tagged and asked if his last boyfriend had this done to him.
Midnighter says no, because it was Apollo a superhuman who he clicked with right from the start. But Apollo hated Midnighter's involvement with The Gardener and the loyalty he felt to her. Midnighter, twisted as it is, still considers her family. Then he is called away by her.
|The God Gardener.|
Midnighter: "And someone walked out of here with it. Good. He won't be walking for long."
Back in Oakland a woman called Marina is mourning the loss of her husband. Then a mysterious figure gives her one of the weapons from the God Garden. He tells her "Windcrest foods" knew about the fact they might poison people with a rare exotic allergy, like her husband, but they pushed for release anyway. "Acceptable risk" they said, now with her new weapon she can get revenge.
Back at Al's Masse, Midnighter and Al are playing pool, Midnighter says Jason friend-zoned him after the whole tagging incident. Then he is called away again. Marina has been given the power of the "six killing words" and is storming Windcrest foods taking out security on her way to the boardroom. Midnighter confronts her and she knocks him out briefly with one of the words. She reaches the boardroom and stands on the table ranting at them.
Marina: "You intimidate. You settle out of court. But this is how I settle. Here and now. There are always faces at the end of your business conditions."
|Marina out for revenge.|
He then tells Matt how he dealt with Marina and we return to the day before. She tries to use one of the words on him but he has blocked his ears (by ripping his eardrums out). He knocks her down and the Windcrest board thank him and ask him to restrain her.
He however, starts breaking their limbs saying they will pay for everyone who she hurt today's medical bills, they will seek the lightest sentence against her and they will publically accept responsibility for why this happened, "because if you don't, I'll know, and I'll bring her back." Then he cuffs her and takes her away.
|On a date with Matt.|
Matt: "We're owning moments together. Do them with someone before? They're ours now. Hostile takeover."
He goes on to say anyone not impressed by what the Midnighter means is the real idiot. "It can lose it's lustre" says Midnighter. We flashback to him fighting with Apollo. He admits his civilian identity "Lucas Trent" is just something he made up, he has no knowledge of his past before The Gardener erased his memories. Apollo is furious that he has been lying to him, but Midnighter kisses him then leaves saying he knows how this fight will end.
|Fighting with Apollo.|
The beings introduce themselves as "Multiplex" and Midnighter gets ready to fight them. Cut to a few hours earlier. Midnighter is in a nightclub with Jason, Al and Matt. Matt is dancing and Jason encourages him to join him, but Midnighter chickens out and stays at the bar with Al. Al says Matt is a good guy, and "it's good to see you back on track." Midnighter grins.
He finds a human trafficker and tortures the information on who took the girl out of him. "The Zardiis" screams the man. The stolen God Garden technology is being used to transfer the "life force" from one body to another, powered by the "raw material" who is the girl. Midnighter busts in and crushes them all and frees the girl who is scared of him. Midnighter says no one will hurt her now, but "what about the old man and the costume guy?" she asks.
The costume guy turns out to be Multiplex who Midnighter destroys every body of. He discovers the old man there as well, he begs Midnighter to leave his face intact for his grandchildren's sake. "They already know you're a prick" retorts Midnighter and kills him.
|Multiplex no match for Midnighter.|
Midnighter and Matt do some nearly naked cuddling. Midnighter asks Matt if the blood still on him puts him off. Matt says his mother was a doctor, "I don't run at the sight of blood." Later they are dressed and standing on the top of the building. Matt says he chose to contact Midnighter and he'd do it again.
Matt: "Think I didn't expect baggage? You are programmed for only fighting. You give a damn. That's why I'm here. Not for sugar coating. And not everything has to be a fight."
Midnighter remembers the last time he saw Apollo. He says to him that "I don't know how to be me without you". He says he still loves him, he just needs time. Apollo turns his back and leaves. We return to Matt and Midnighter who says he wants the file on his past.
|Apollo and Midnighter's last coversation.|
Some drunken Russian douchebros go to a secret location to pay top price to stake a "vampire". A being chained, starved and pleading. When they kill it they hi-five each other and say they are heroes. Midnighter, Grayson meet another of Midnighter's assets, a man called "Evengeny Maxsimovich Baraanok" who tells them about "Noi Akakyevich" and his "thrill-kill" club.
Later Midnighter and Grayson go into a Russian sauna where the young men are. Midnighter wants to know who attended the "Inn of Guire Grande". The men attack them but Midnighter and Grayson eaily beat them and they confess to having gone. As they leave Grayson says didn't they know this already? "Not the point Dick. It's the journey" says Midnighter.
Midnighter: "Thing is you might not be a vampire, but you can die like one".
He smashes the vampire in the head, it summons a hoard of rats that Midnighter deals with. Grayson appears and warns Midnighter the vampire is back up and Midnighter slices it's head in half which finally takes it down.
|Rescuing the "vampires".|
In a Russian bar, Grayson says he managed to ping Akakyevich's nano-signature and knows where the cells were made. We cut to Akakyevich talking to some military looking types, he says his vampires were a lure that worked perfectly, what he is really after to sell is Midnighter's computer brain, "coming soon" he says.
After a jog, Matt speaks with Midnighter over the phone. Midnighter and Grayson are taking out some of Akakyevich's goons. "You bought back up?" says Matt in surprise. "He's an intern at best" responds Midnighter. Akakyevich meanwhile is down in his labs with his human/animal hybrids being tested. He says that Midnighter and Grayson are "behnd schedule" so he uses the device from the God Garden that controls the teleportation doors to switch on but block an area round where the lab is.
|Battling the beasts.|
Grayson: "Look at these things. If I die handcuffed to you I'm going to kill you."
Midnighter says these are mutated humans but have no higher brain functions anymore, "gruesome golems." Grayson wonders why they have been sent to greet them if Akakyevich wants them to come right to him. "It's called showing off" says Midnighter and they kill all the monsters ending with a huge "werewolf". Then they bust down the lab door.
Akakyevich greets them and shows them the telekinesis powers he got from the God Garden. He makes Grayson and Midnighter fly up and smash through the ceiling into the room above which breaks the cuffs. Midnighter says he detected Akakyevich's TK implant and used his ego to get him to throw them exactly where he wanted. He is able to disable the door block and teleports down behind Akakyevich and kicks him in the head, smashing the TK implant to bits.
|Taking down Akakyevich.|
Later in their hotel room, Grayson and Midnighter have a drink. Midnighter says that he respects Grayson even if he doesn't like all his rules. Grayson admits he admires the way Midnighter never gives up pursuing something he wants. Back in the USA Matt has prepared a Thanksgiving dinner for them both. Midnighter says it's his first one but as they tuck in an ominous helicopter hovers behind them and a sniper takes aim at their heads.
Midnighter senses the threat and throws himself on top of Matt to protect him. Matt kisses him and says "go get them." Midnighter leaps through the shattered window and grabs onto the helicopter which is being flown by more of Multiplex. He murderises them, and lands the 'copter on the building roof.
|More Multiplexes get taken out.|
The door to his house in a rural area, Matt calls it a "white picket death-trap". Matt and his father Grant hug, then Grant says to Midnighter it's good to meet "the man who is making my son so happy". Midnighter says he shouldn't have been hurt, "that's not a reality I can allow." We then cut to Midnighter quizzing some local thuggish types who he lays a beatdown on, finally one screams they just don't know who did it.
|Midnighter chats with Grant.|
Midnighter: "If I'm not keeping as many people safe as possible, I'm not doing my job."
Grant says as long as Grant keeps his son safe he is content. Matt though is having a wobble, maybe Midnighter can't protect him. Midnighter is still confused at how clean the area is:
Midnighter: "This never happened. Something is wrong here, everything's too perfect and I can't.. I don't.. I don't know what's going to happen."
Then a bus tries to run them down. Midnighter tells Matt to go home and jumps aboard. He fights with the thugs and they end up melting. They aren't real peope, "Holt-Griffin skin" from the God Garden. "How long have I been blind?" says Midnighter to himself. Then he returns to Grant's house and punches the old man's head off, it explodes in green gooey liquid.
Prometheus: "You want to protect people? Be the sword for the unheard? So self important. So confident. Look at you now. Time for some fire".
We get some backstory on Prometheus whose parents were gangsters who were killed in a shoot out with the cops.
Prometheus: "My parents loved me. Justice killed them. There's no justice in that. I had to destroy justice at the roots."
He inherited his parents money and underworld connections, when he got older he did a Batman style training tour of the world. He became Prometheus. He stole the God Garden techology, his body is "hardwired to learn... I can record any skill and install it in my brain". His Holt-Griffin skin cells blind the Midnighter's enhancements, even now. His brain can't predict him, he has the skills of the thirty best fighters in the world including Midnighter.
|Prometheus explains his evil plan.|
Midnighter: "All that time you spent with me. You didn't learn when to talk and when to punch someone in the face?"
|You can't keep Midnighter down.|
Midnighter: "Hmph... pushover. I wouldn't have run."
And in the debris of the house he finds a photo of himself as a teenager. Days later back in Oakland, Midnighter is hanging out with Jason. He is distracted and Jason says he wishes he could punch Matt/Prometheus in the mouth for him.
|Jason reassures Midnighter.|
Jason: "I've known that all along and I'm sticking with you."
Later Midnighter has a chat with Marina who is still in jail, then we see Apollo come home and find the photo of teen Midnighter framed and left on his bed. Then we get what looks like a sneak peak of the next big storyline involving the assassin Deadshot and we wrap up this volume with Midnighter drinking at Al's. Al commiserates with him again, Midnighter says he never saw the betrayal coming, he didn't know that was possible:
Midnighter: "But I do know one thing. There's one thing that will never change. I'm never done fighting".
|He gets knocked down, but he gets up again.|
[OK so I got worried and impatient and googled if it would be continuing and... Oh Son Of A Whore, it isn't. Fuck you DC! All those nice things I said about you in the intro, I take them back! Expect some angrish about the "failure" of the DCYou when I wrap things up with a hoped for volume two, and as this relaunch decision seemed to have come about before the first wave of DCYou TPB's were released I guess I should be angriest at trade waiters like myself, because obviously our patronage means nothing in either the short or long term. Feh.]