It was summer last year when we first talked to Steve Orlando about Midnighter, and during the course of our conversation, we brought up Apollo.
As many Midnighter and Authority fans know, Apollo and Midnighter were one of the best couples comicdom had to offer: they were loving fathers to an infant Jenny Quantum, they were loyal to each other, and they gave each other shit in the most loving way possible. They weren't just "that gay couple" from Wildstorm - they were just a GREAT couple.
Orlando intimated that perhaps, maybe, Apollo would be showing up in Midnighter again. But who knows in what capacity? Well, Steve delivered and more with the newest issue.
In his previous battle with the Suicide Squad, ol' Midnighter seemed to be about to get blown into snarky little pieces. However, all he had to do was signal to Apollo, who dropped everything to go save a badly-beaten Midnighter and help nurse him back to health.
Later in the issue Midnighter takes revenge on Afterthought, Amanda Waller's new golden boy on Task Force X, and the battle is brutal, violent...and clever. It was a bit of brilliance on Orlando's part when it's revealed how the fight eventually goes down, but it pales in comparison to the dialogue that Midnighter and Apollo have.
It's touching when Midnighter opens up to the one of the very few people he trusted - he lays his feelings bare in the same straight forward, no-frills ways he fights. You see that he never lost his connection to Andrew, never had him fully out of his heart and mind. And what was even more gripping was that Apollo seems to have somehow knew he and Midnighter would be together again - he handles that duster-wearing maniac like they've been together forever. Orlando really hits some great beats in this, really conveys emotion in a way that the reader can completely empathize with. It may be some of his strongest writing on the series, in fact.
And there's something magical in how ACO's art affects the pacing of this book. His tight, Miller-esque squares that give quick asides emphasize the tight artwork, and give the book a frenetic sense that makes the action sequences pop adrenaline. He's an absolute treasure for this book, but that's not to say that Hugo Petrus falls short on the pages he performs the artwork. Petrus holds his own very well, and would do well to work with these characters again down the road.
Jeromy Cox also deserves a TON of credit for his color work here. The beautifully rendered skies set wonderful backdrops, and his work on the large ACO spreads that feature the aforementioned tiny panels ramp up the energy to insane levels. Cox's work is nothing short of gorgeous in this issue.
So, we get some kickass fight scenes, some creepy Bendix posturing, a maniacally violent Midnighter using Afterthoughts powers for torture, and a shipping dream come true. The LOWDOWN on this one: 9 out of 10 pelvic thrusts. Buy this book if you love love...and love the sheer pleasure your favorite fight machine derives from destroying opponents.