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Midnighter
MDNTR-Cv1 solicit.png
Art for cover B of Midnighter #1, by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story
Publication information
Publisher Wildstorm
First appearance Stormwatch vol. 2 #4
Created by Warren Ellis
Bryan Hitch
In-story information
Alter ego Lucas Trent (presumed)
Species Human with artificial enhancements
Team affiliations The Authority
Stormwatch
Notable aliases Lucas Trent
Abilities The Midnighter possesses enhanced physical attributes, an auxiliary heart and the ability to anticipate the moves of his opponents.

Midnighter is a fictional comic book superhero, best known as a member of the rogue superhero team The Authority. Created by writer Warren Ellis and artist Bryan Hitch, he first appeared in Stormwatch (vol. 2) #4, before appearing in various Authority books and series and his own eponymous ongoing series. He and his partner, Apollo, have also been interpreted as a parallel of the Batman/Superman "World's Finest" partnership.[1] Unlike Batman, Midnighter has superhuman abilities, and regularly kills his opponents. In an interview for Comic Values Annual (1999), edited by Alex G. Malloy, Warren Ellis described Midnighter as "the Shadow by way of John Woo". Midnighter is rarely seen without his costume and mask.[2]

Midnighter is gay, and is married to fellow Authority member Apollo.[1] The two of them have adopted Jenny Quantum as a daughter[3].

Contents

Fictional character history

Stormwatch

Warren Ellis created and introduced the character in 1998, soon after his appointment as writer on the Stormwatch title. Stormwatch volume 2, issue 4, introduced Midnighter and Apollo as former Stormwatch agents from a secret "black ops" team known only to the first Weatherman, Henry Bendix. In the first issue of the arc, collected in trade paperback as A Finer World, Christine Trelane had cracked the files of the recently-deposed Bendix and discovered Apollo and Midnighter's existence. The new Weatherman, Jackson King, intercepted them on a mission to seize weapons made in the "Nevada Garden", a bioengineering facility created by the first Engineer. Flashback sequences showed Midnighter and Apollo, the sole survivors of their seven-member team's sinister first mission, escaping Bendix and going rogue to spend five years fighting crime on the streets of America. Midnighter and Apollo initially resisted their capture, believing Stormwatch still to be under Bendix's command; on learning of his death they ended their opposition and accepted a mission from King to destroy the Nevada Garden. To repay their assistance Trelane granted Midnighter and Apollo new civilian identities and lives away from Stormwatch. This story arc introduced Midnighter's trademark enhancements, his superpowered healing and ability to anticipate an opponent's moves so quickly as to win any fight, as the product of bioengineering commissioned by Bendix.

The Authority

In 1999 Warren Ellis concluded his run on Stormwatch with the Final Orbit storyline, which saw the team destroyed. Midnighter was one of several Stormwatch characters Ellis retained for his new Wildstorm title, The Authority. In it, Midnighter (along with Apollo) was recruited by Jenny Sparks for a new team, The Authority, under her leadership. The new series picked up themes Ellis had explored in Stormwatch, including the political potential of a team more powerful than world governments and the United Nations.

A formidable fighter with a sardonic attitude, Midnighter epitomized the new team's commitment to fighting for a finer world, including against vested interests and world governments. Midnighter and Apollo's relationship, though hinted in previous issues, was revealed in The Authority #8. Midnighter was the architect of the team's first significant victory, the defeat of autocratic dictator Kaizen Gamorra, which he achieved by dropping the 50-mile-long Carrier on to Gamorra's island base.

During the Transfer of Power storyline, Midnighter was the only Authority member to evade capture when the US government had the team attacked and replaced with manipulable substitutes. Presumed dead, Midnighter had in fact escaped the Carrier with baby Jenny Quantum. He returned to overthrow the puppet team and rescue Apollo from imprisonment and abuse at the hands of their replacements. Shortly thereafter Midnighter and Apollo were married and adopted Jenny.

Midnighter had a central role in Ed Brubaker and Dustin Nguyen's Revolution maxiseries. A visitation, apparently from a future Apollo, convinced Midnighter that he was on the path to becoming a malign dictator. To avoid this fate Midnighter quit the team, precipitating its break-up, and returned to life fighting solo on the streets. Raised alone by Apollo, Jenny exploited her powers to age herself to young adulthood and reformed the Authority. Having convinced Midnighter to rejoin the team Jenny discovered he was being manipulated by a dimension-hopping Henry Bendix, hitherto assumed dead. Midnighter fought for Bendix before the Engineer was able to break the mind-control; Midnighter then killed Bendix by ripping out his spine.

Kev

Midnighter featured in the first three of Garth Ennis's Kev miniseries, featuring Kev Hawkins, a homophobic former SAS soldier. Kev was introduced in the semi-parody The Authority: Kev, in which he killed Midnighter, Apollo and the rest of the Authority, though the Carrier resurrected them. On their last meeting they took down MI5's Royal Oak project, an attempt to replicate Bendix's experiments. Kev later featured without the Authority in the final book of his series, A Man Called Kev.

Midnighter (series)

On November 1, 2006, an ongoing Midnighter solo series began, with an initial creative partnership of Garth Ennis and Chris Sprouse. The book was part of the 2006 "Worldstorm" soft reboot of the Wildstorm universe, which saw several books relaunched, but which faltered when flagship titles The Authority and Wildcats suffered serious delays and were cancelled after two and one issues respectively.[4] The series was originally intended as a six issue mini-series[5] but ran for 20 issues and was cancelled in June 2008.

The first story arc saw Midnighter attacked and kidnapped by agents of a man named Paulus while passing through the Carrier's teleportation portal. Paulus told Midnighter that he had replaced Midnighter's secondary heart with a remote-detonated bomb, and challenged him on pain of death to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Time-travelling back to the First World War trenches, Midnighter encountered Hitler as a young corporal in the German army, but was apprehended by 'time police' officers from the 95th century before carrying out his mission. In his struggle to escape, he crashed the officers' time machine at the year 1945, shortly before Hitler's expected suicide. Eventually Midnighter allied himself with the police and returned to his own time, where he threatened to erase Paulus from history by killing his kidnapped younger self; he secured Paulus's surrender without having to kill the child. Midnighter then returned to the Carrier, but was apparently just as listless as before, immediately sending himself on another mission in Iraq.

This first arc was followed by four single-issue stories. Midnighter #6 featured an apparent alternate-universe Samurai Midnighter. Midnighter #7, by Brian K. Vaughan and Darick Robertson, explored the way Midnighter's brain processes combat by running the story backwards. Midnighter #8, by Christos Gage and John Paul Leon, dealt with Midnighter's attempts to connect better with humans after a graphic and public battle with the Suicide King.

A second story arc (issues #10-16), under new creative team Keith Giffen and Jon Landry, with ChrisCross pencilling later issues), detailed Midnighter's attempts to rediscover his life before becoming superhuman. Files given to him by Jenny Quantum identified him as Lucas Trent, born July 14, 1967 (making him 40 years old in 2007), a native of Harmony, Indiana. On visiting the town he found it was the hub of a paramilitary patriotic organization named Anthem, with ambitions to take over the United States and provide the country with the conscience they felt it had lost. While battling Anthem and its superpowered operatives, including Dawn (a reference to the phrase "dawn's early light" in the "Star-Spangled Banner"), and Rosie (patterned after Rosie the Riveter), he discovered that Jenny had falsified the documents she gave him, and that he had never been Trent - but decided to stay on in Harmony nonetheless.

The final storyline, again by Giffen, featured a Midnighter imposter attacking the Carrier and the Authority, and Midnighter's fight to defeat him.

Grifter & Midnighter

The 2007 mini-series Grifter & Midnighter charted a team-up between Midnighter and Grifter of WildC.A.T.s. It was written by Chuck Dixon with art by Ryan Benjamin. [6]

World's End

The 2008 Number of the Beast Wildstorm limited series described the devastation of Earth, and set the scene for a new Authority ongoing series, by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, part of the World's End storyline. In this series Midnighter appears as one of the last Authority members still able to act in the ruins of London, now called Unlondon. Separated from Apollo, who is confined to the upper atmosphere by sunlight-blocking fog over the planet's surface, Midnighter helps civilians to reach the ruins of the Carrier, now a stronghold for survivors. Midnighter is able to contact Apollo via balloons which he releases high up in the atmosphere.

Powers

Midnighter's abilities are presented from his first appearance, in Stormwatch volume 2 issue 4, as the product of bioengineerined enhancements commissioned by Henry Bendix. It is implied (as in the Midnighter solo series issues 10-16) that he was a normal human before enlisting with Stormwatch Black; several storylines have featured the deactivation[7], overriding[8], or removal[9] of his enhancements to reduce his abilities to those of a normal man. The abortive Team Achilles series suggested that Bendix had 'designed' Midnighter and Apollo in childhood.

Typically, Midnighter is presented as superhumanly strong, quick, and resilient. He is shown moving faster than the human and even superhuman eye, and with a healing factor that allows him rapidly to recover from injury and illness. Storylines have shown him surviving a broken neck, broken limbs, holes through his chest, the tearing out of his back-up heart, and burning; he also claims to have "beat(en) AIDS in six weeks". He can survive in anaerobic environments for short periods and possesses a secondary heart should the first one be rendered unusable.

Many writers have referenced Midnighter's trademark ability to predict the unfolding of a battle before it starts. Early in Ellis's run on The Authority, the character was described as having a mental combat computer, with neural-inductive implants, which he uses to run through a given combat situation millions of times in his mind, almost instantly covering nearly every possible result before the first punch is even thrown. This allows for the perfect response and counter attack. Ellis portrayed the Midnighter delivering a monologue on this ability in order to intimidate opponents; Keith Giffen later had the character distribute a business card to this effect, in order to save time. Issue #7 of the Midnighter solo series, written by Brian K. Vaughan, showed the character using this ability regressively, to visualise the desired outcome of a battle and work backwards logically to achieve it. The stand-alone Authority graphic novel Human on the Inside, by John Ridley, suggested the ability was reactive, and required an opponent to make a first move to define the possibilities for a response. Though this is contradicted by numerous earlier, and later comics.

Alternate versions

In Wildstorm Winter Special 2005, a story called Apollo & Midnighter: Two Dangerous Ideas features their alternate reality analogues, Pluto and Daylighter, with inverted color schemes to match. At first the real Apollo and Midnighter believed that they were their homophobic counterparts, but later learned that they were a former couple and had broken up.

Issue #6 of Midnighter's solo series starred a nameless, super-skilled swordsman from feudal Japan who fell in love with a peace-seeking Chinese warrior much like Apollo. This swordsman had powers similar to the Midnighter's future-sight and super-strength.

In Gen¹³ (volume 4) #11, a teenage version of Midnighter is a part of a team called "The Authori-teens" named Daybreaker. While he and the Apollo analogue Kid Apollo would not appear to be openly gay, their feelings for one another are apparent; Kid Apollo is said to be "overly protective" of Daybreaker.

See also

Collections

Midnighter solo series:

  1. Midnighter: Killing Machine (collects Midnighter #1-6; 144 pages, November 2007, ISBN 1401214770)[10]
  2. Midnighter: Anthem (collects Midnighter #7, 10-15; 160 pages, August 2008, ISBN 1401214770)[11]
  3. Midnighter: Assassin8 (168 pages, December 2008, ISBN 1-4012-2001-0)[12]

Other collections:

  • Grifter & Midnighter (144 pages, January 2008, ISBN 1401216276)[13]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Lendrum, Rob. "Queering Super-Manhood: The Gay Superhero in Contemporary Mainstream Comic Books". Concordia University. http://66.102.1.104/scholar?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&client=firefox-a&q=cache:_2muu35FMd4J:www.grconsortium.org/pdf/V.2-2PDF/v22_lendrum.pdf+Superman+Batman+Apollo+Midnighter. Retrieved 2007-10-07. "When Batman and Superman team up they are called "the World's Finest." Midnighter and Apollo are constructed with this bit of comic history in mind.".  
  2. ^ One instance was in his first appearance, in Stormwatch (volume 2) #4.
  3. ^ Midnighter #1 (January 2007).
  4. ^ Graeme McMillan, 'When superheroes fail to save the world.' August 17 2008
  5. ^ Dezago, Todd; Eric Nolen-Weathington (June 2009). Modern Masters Volume Twenty-one: Chris Sprouse. 21. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 73.  
  6. ^ Newsarama.com's DC COMICS solicitations for March 2007
  7. ^ Micah Ian Wright Stormatch: Team Achilles, 2004
  8. ^ Ed Brubaker The Authority: Revolution volume 2, 2006
  9. ^ Mark Millar The Authority: Transfer of Power 2002; Garth Ennis, Midnighter issue 1, 2007
  10. ^ Midnighter: Killing Machine trade details at DC
  11. ^ Midnighter: Anthem trade details at DC
  12. ^ Midnighter: Assassin8 trade details, at DC
  13. ^ Grifter & Midnighter trade details

References

External links

Interviews

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