Comic Book Review: Midnighter & Apollo #4
At the end of 2016, writer Steve Orlando landed on many “best of” lists for his work on “Midnighter & Apollo” and with good reason. From the very beginning, this has been a romantic yet action packed superhero story that has appealed to a fanbase that hasn’t always been paid attention to by DC. As the series begins its second act, Midnighter and Apollo are at their breaking points as they try to get back to each other and out of Hell. “Midnighter & Apollo” #4 is thrilling and gorgeously drawn.
Taking the fight directly to Hell, Midnigher finds that everything will not be as simple as punching everything. Freeing Apollo will take hard work and maybe a bit of cleverness. After taking out lots of different enemies, he finally finds himself face to face with a chance to free Apollo.
Midnighter and Apollo are literally in Hell, fighting for each other instead of defending the world and it is the biggest reason I’ve enjoyed this miniseries so far. Orlando’s story is more personal and deeply romantic with each of them doing everything they can to return to each other. Apollo using his wits to try and get out of this ultimately doesn’t work and I like the idea of a sort of role reversal here. Apollo, the Superman-esque powerhouse almost has to fully rely on Midnighter, the brutal fighter, for help.
“Midnighter & Apollo” is a romantic epic wearing superhero clothes. We get to Midnighter let loose on plenty of pitiful demons who dare try to get in his way but at its core, this is about love and how powerful it is and these two men are willing to do anything to ensure that they can hold on to it. This is what the superhero genre should be. It should be deep, explore human emotion and rise above gimmicks, headlines and mindless fights.
Fernando Blanco’s art continues to be next level. He’s doing so much great stuff in this series from character expressions to explosive Midnighter fight scenes. Blanco really understand Midnighter’s powers as his fight scenes entail beautiful step by step breakdowns reflecting his ability to know the fight before it happens. Blanco’s Midnighter is strong and powerful and in this issue, he draws him angrier and more determined. He uses space and speed lines in an effective manner and his hellish characters are supernatural enough to feel like they belong. The Apollo scenes are some of the most breathtaking as he’s able to convey so much hope and defeat in such a small amount of space. Romulo Fajardo Jr. is like the best kept colorist secret. He continues to do amazing work at DC and he pairs with Blanco perfectly. The blood splatterings across Midnighter’s black costume stand out wonderfully and the light emanating from Apollo is just gorgeous.
“Midnighter & Apollo” remains one of the brightest stars in DC’s current line up. It’s everything I want superhero comic books to be and I can’t wait to see what the second half of this miniseries has in store.