I don’t know of many homosexual superheros, I mean let’s face it, gay superheroes in comics are not as prolific as straight superheroes so when they do appear in comics, they usually show up in small cameo roles, or character ‘filler’. Midnighter on the other hand is one of the main characters of The Authority. The Authority is (in my opinion) one of the most interesting, exciting ‘superhero’ groups to have been created in the last 20 years. Created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, The Authority represent a kind of, ‘ok we will fix the problem but we will do it our way’ mentality. But with the gloriousness of dysfunction, and individualism. It’s a group of characters that are so different from each other, yet work so well in a group. I won’t go into detail about the Authority, I will save that for another review. But, Midnighter and his male lover Apollo are the gay couple in the Authority.
Midnighter has finally got his own title, in which Garth Ennis, who is probably one of the most intelligent, skilled writers in comics today, is allowed to craft Midnighter into a solo comic. Ennis, reveals Midnighter frustration, a killer by nature, who just can’t sit around doing nothing. He (Midnighter) decides to choose a destination (using The Carrier door portal) to cause havoc, kill some bad guys and return home. We find things kinda go south for the Midnighter, as he is jumped by midway coming back from escapade in Iraq (where he destroyers a US tank patrol), by a rich industrialist and his cronies. The so called industrialist is a guy called Paulus, a con man (claiming he was a persecuted Jew during WW2) and as we learn later, a selfishly arrogant individual. Who uses the Midnighter to go back in time to kill Hitler. He blackmails Midnighter by forcing him to take the mission, the blackmail or leverage was in replacing Midnighter’s second heart with a bomb. Ennis keeps the story interesting with enough twist and turns and a nice mix of humor. Midnighter with some moral value, says he will not kill children, so we have the Midnighter transported to WW1 where a young solider by the name of Hitler is in the trenches fighting the French. Ennis knows how to keep pace in a comic, because the Midnighter character is always at a rapid pace. The violence and humor is mixed into the story, which is keeping close to the style of the character. The whole episode of the assassination of Hitler, drew elements of various ideas, you have the Time Cops (from the future) who try and stop the Midnighter for attempting to change the course of history. The philosophical implications of restructuring time lines, that evidentially effects future events – negatively. Ennis also analyzes the regressive thoughts of confronting the past, or trying to change the past. In which he portrays Paulus as selflessly maniacal in his efforts of reshaping the past. As we learn that the past can’t be changed, Midnighter also discovers that Paulus attempted to change the past for a pitiful, and bizarrely self indulgent reason. So his (Paulus) dad, could have been the dictator of Germany rather than his fathers rival at the time Hitler. Midnighter discovers that Paulus’s father was just as bigoted and power mad.
Yes, Midnighter returns and kills Paulus (trademark – head kicked off decapitation style), and everyone else associated with him, get’s the bomb removed from his chest and returns home. Of course the series doesn’t end there.
(To see my reviews of Garth Ennis’s Midnighter please refer to this link)
Ennis, has brought Midnighter into his own with this series, defined the character, made the character likable, interesting and in some ways complex. Apart from Midnighter’s obvious homosexuality, the is no cliche story in the Midnighter comic. In the sense, you wouldn’t know if Midnighter was gay, apart from the fact he declines to have sex with Bonnie (the head of the Time Cop patrol), by saying he doesn’t swing that way. Ennis writes sexuality in comics with maturity, not sensationalism. It’s like, characters fuck,we see them fuck, but it’s not porn. It’s a higher level of interaction, plus these comics are drama pieces, with sex and violence and humor. They are not depressive, taboo or pointless. There is a strength in the character, a ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude. It’s great to see. It’s a power that characters like Midnighter and the Authority have; it’s attacking the cowardice, and collective insecurity of society that leads to paranoid hysteria. Much like the times we are living in now. Midnighter, kills that, kicks the head of it and walks off.
The Midnighter comic is skillfully managed by Ennis, we even see some inter dimensional past aspects. As a Japanese ( Samurai) version of the Midnighter appeared in a one off comic, within the Midnighter run. Ennis is pushing some boundaries with Midnighter, it can only get better for the character. The Midnighter run also has new writers, more notably Brian K. Vaughan has written issue #7 – in which Vaughan shows his skills in writing a story in reverse engineering style (the story starts backwards), showing Midnighter’s ability to counter any attack before an attack takes place.
Issue #8 of the current run will also introduce Christos Gage to the Midnighter run on Wildstorm.
Also, watch out for Chuck Dixon’s Midnighter and Grifter team up, again a great perspective on the Midnighter character.