Review: Midnighter and Apollo #4

midnighterapollo4coverWatching a fight scene in a Steve Orlando scripted Midnighter comic is a lot like watching Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder get a triple double. He gets one almost every night, but the ride is just as thrilling as he dunks on and corrals rebounds from taller opponents, hits high degree of difficulty jump shots, and makes his teammates look good too. Likewise, Orlando, artist Fernando Blanco, and colorist Romulo Fajardo team up to show the thrilling battle between Midnighter and the Mawzir, the head of the demon gang Lords of the Gun, who sent his boyfriend Apollo to Hell. Foolishly or not so foolishly, Midnighter has decided to bring a single bullet to some kind of quadruple-wielding, first person shooter on steroids gun fight. Apollo also has to bargain for his soul from Neron, and it doesn’t go the greatest, but Orlando continues to bring insight to his past. Fajardo also gives him a golden glow

Exciting layouts has been the bread and butter of Blanco on Midnighter and Apolloand issue 4 is no exception with three fascinating sequences to watch unfold. The board game theme of the previous issue returns, but Midnighter is more of a Candyland than a Carcassone man and instead of juxtaposing images and dialogue, Blanco just shows him bludgeoning demons up and down and around the sides of Neron’s winding castle. However, the fight between Midnighter and Mawzir is Midnighter and Apollo as directed by John Woo without the doves unfortunately. It’s a battle to the death with guns, fists, slow-mo, and Blanco drawing Midnighter dodging bullets in silhouette is an exciting touch too. He is also an artist of the body and shows how Midnighter and Apollo are physically and mentally drained by the end of the issue although they cling onto some kind of hope. And Fajardo is there with plenty of red as Midnighter wreaks havoc on the Mawzir and the other denizens of Hell.

The Apollo scenes provide a lighter in color palette, yet just as heavy in tone counterbalance to the mayhem of midnighterapollo4interiorMidnighter versus the Lords of the Gun and also show his pure soul even if Neron continues to taunt him about his violent methods as a superhero and “sins”. Except this purity means that pulling a John Constantine or Morpheus and trying to bargain and talk his way out of losing his soul is a bad idea. Apollo is way too good for his place, and this is why it takes his more hellish boyfriend, who gets headhunted by one of Hell’s deadliest demon gangs after killing their leader, to save him.

I do feel like I understand Apollo better as a person after Midnighter and Apollo #4 as Blanco dials down the insane layouts, but ups the defiance in his drawing of Apollo. He’s not just a damsel in distress with the powers of Superman that doesn’t work thanks to the abundance of darkness and hellfire. No, Apollo is a survivor beginning with his homophobic father, who went away and continuing with the aliens who abducted and experimented on him. And hopefully, he’ll make it out of this situation if Midnighter has anything to say about it.

Creative fighting, deep introspection, and variety in panel layouts that show comics is the perfect medium for intense action sequences ensure that Apollo and Midnighter #4 continues the series’ momentum into 2017. This issue reads like a great tie-in for a long lost Vertigo/Wildstorm crossover, and Midnighter bathing in the blood in demons just to save his man inspires me so much.

Story: Steve Orlando Art: Fernando Blanco Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review