Review: Midnighter #10
In Midnighter #10, we finally get the long awaited showdown between Midnighter and the Suicide Squad as artist ACO provides some of his most fun layouts yet channeling late-90s bullet time as Deadshot and Midnighter match up. The issue isn’t all punching, kicking, shooting, and trash talk. (Steve Orlando’s dialogue is 90% various anti-heroes and villains trying to roast each other though, and it’s very entertaining.) There are also connections made between Midnighter and Amanda Waller, who admires her ability to turn terrible criminals for weapons to do something good and is especially impressed by the special nano collar that she uses for the Suicide Squad. By the end of the issue, Midnighter has truly proven himself to be the ultimate wildcard in a black ops war fought between Spyral, Task Force X, and even the God Garden for a chance to control the world’s superhumans. This is definitely the skeevy side of the DC Universe, and Midnighter is right at home along with his creative team of Orlando, ACO, Hugo Petrus (who takes penciler duties for half an issue), and colorist Romulo Fajardo, who brings the brutality with his reds.
Orlando makes a case for becoming the writer of the main Suicide Squad series once DC Rebirth rolls around in his writing of Amanda Waller’s character. She’s the queen of all opportunists, and her dressing down of Deadshot citing his low mission performance rate compared to the pre-cog Afterthought may be her finest moment in the New 52. Waller and Midnighter are definitely the proverbial irresistible force and immovable object. Even though he does bust out of her restraints, the so-called Suicide Squad B-team ends up being a better match for him, mostly thanks to Parasite’s absorbing/draining ability and Harley Quinn’s sheer craziness. However, Orlando and ACO give Midnighter a chance for payback for the blowhard Deadshot with his completely logical way of taking him out in the most painful way possible. (Hint: It has to do with the “tools” he uses to play with his favorite toy. Everything is a double entendre with Midnighter.)
Deadshot’s reliance on firearms instead of hand to hand fighting or martial arts moves lets ACO play around with different grids and double page spreads in Midnighter #10. He creates a kind of “bullet time” effect with shots spraying in a pair of eight panel grids on the side of the page while Deadshot faces up against Midnighter and continues to insult him calling him an off-brand Batman even if only one of his rounds hits Midnighter. Letterer Tom Napolitano is truly the secret weapon on this issue, which is filled with shots blasting, bones cracking and even some hammer cracking once Harley Quinn joins the fray. His sound effects are emphatic and draw you into the action while complementing Fajardo’s colors, like orange for gunshots or yellow for hand to hand and finally red for the really painful stuff. If Midnighter was a film, Napolitano would be the sound editor and sound mixer, and he deserves an Oscar/Eisner for his work here.
Midnighter #10 puts the anti-hero in the middle of a kind of superhuman Cold War, and he must weigh his options in working for a variety of morally ambiguous or downright amoral organizations. He picks Spyral for now because they are his employer even if he lines up more ideologically with Amanda Waller. Just like Waller uses supervillains to accomplish good things in messy ways, Midnighter uses his God Garden enhancements to help people in extremely violent ways. Throw in some great humor from Midnighter and the Suicide Squad members, an intersecting narrative involving DC Universe black ops organization and a superhuman arms race, and detail studded pages from ACO and Hugo Petrus, and Midnighter #10 is a shining example of why this title is one of the best comics in the action genre. And it literally goes out with an orange bang courtesy of colorist Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Story: Steve Orlando Art: ACO and Hugo Petrus Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr. Letters: Tom Napolitano
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy