Zilla and the Comics Junkies

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Midnighter

At today’s Wildstorm/Vertigo joint panel at WizardWorld LA, two Garth Ennis projects set in the Wildstorm Universe were officially announced: The Boys (October) and The Midnighter (November).

As for The Boys, they’re a team of super-powered operatives working for the
US government, and the last people you ever want to – or more likely – will meet if they’re chasing you. Ennis is joined by artist Darick Robertson on the series, and we’ll have more on it from Ennis coming early next week.

As for The Midnighter, the new, ongoing series, set in the Wildstorm Universe, is illustrated by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story, and well…is the Midnighter.

“He’s utterly lethal and he tells it like it is,” Ennis said when asked about his appreciation for the character. “He’s got a nice dark sense of humor, too.”

A quick flashback for the character – Midnighter (along with Apollo) were among the super-powered beings banded together by the first Weatherman of StormWatch, Henry Bendix into a covert team which was used for pursuit of Bendix’s own agenda. While the rest of the team was killed on its first mission, Apollo and Midnighter – the only survivors, went underground, staying out of the limelight and off the radar until they were later discovered by Christine Trelane, who found their files, and sent a recovery team to bring them in.

Since coming back aboveground, Apollo and Midnighter (who were later married) have played a vital role with The Authority, even adopting the reincarnated child version of Jenny Sparks.

More than human, Midnighter’s central nervous system has been augmented wioth cybernetics to the point where he can calculate hundreds of thiousadnsd of combat scenarios in seconds, allowing him to choose the one with the best outcome (“best” often meaning the one which causes his opponent the most pain). Midnighter’s muscles and bones have also been enhanced to the point of giving him superhuman speed and strength. Additionally, he has a second heart, an enhanced immune system, and a penchant for ultraviolence.

Since nearly his first appearance in Stormwatch (v2) #4 alongside the Superman analogue Apollo, Midnighter has been seen as…well…”the gay Batman,” given his similarities to Gotham City’s hero. It’s a definition that Ennis doesn’t mind at all…although…

“I always thought Batman was the gay Batman, but there you go,” the writer said. “I think the Midnighter is very much his own man; his sexuality is just one part of that. Never mind the fact that he doesn’t kill people, would Batman do the things we’ve seen the Midnighter do? Batman fights for the status quo, the Midnighter fights to make the world better. Simple as that.”

Speaking of his sexuality, and the fact that this will be the first ongoing comic from either Marvel or DC starring a gay hero in the title role, Ennis isn’t shying away from it at all.

“His opening monologue touches on his sexuality, but not in the way people might expect,” Ennis said. “His sexuality is not a complex issue: he likes fucking men. He likes fucking one man in particular - but that doesn’t mean he wants to be around the guy 24/7, hence the solo book. He has no more questions about himself in that regard, so why should we? As for any controversy this may bring, well, if Brokeback Mountain proved anything, it’s this: gay characters piss off all the right people.”

That aside for a moment, Ennis explained that, in his view, even though he was literally built as a killing machine, Midnighter has a distinct reason for doing what he does. “Midnighter has a sense of fairness that leads him to fight for a better world, but his tactics are direct, brutal and merciless.

“The arc I’m writing starts out in the real world but immediately turns into a time travel story, with bad people attempting to harness our hero’s skills for their own nefarious purposes. I also have an odd little one parter I’d like to do, an alternate universe thing. If I do more than six issues I’ll try to maintain it as a solo book, without any major appearances by The Authority in general (superteam, yawn) or Apollo in particular (boring blond twat). And no crossovers. They can get someone else in for that.”

Finally, yes, Ennis knows that his DC work of late has been limited to Wildstorm, and yes, there’s a reason for that.

“I’m dying to get out to San Diego,” the writer said, speaking of the location of WildStorm’s offices. “Brian Vaughn’s been there nearly three years and he’s in full-on “Where’s the tower, where’s the gun” mode. Although I have visited the Wildstorm guys in La Jolla and they have a pretty sweet set-up there: sun-kissed paradise, commanding view of the beach and its various charms, etc etc. They’re a good bunch, easy going, more interested in doing good work than the company line. And no, they’re not too uptight about their characters, given that no one’s pumping out Midnighter cartoon shows or Jack Hawksmoor underwear.

“I’ve been enjoying working with [editor] Ben Abernathy on Kev for some time now, and I get on well with Scott Dunbier. It was over lunch at Wildstorm that all this started; I wanted to do Battler Britton and another Kev series, and well aware that these would hardly set the world on fire, Scott asked if I could do something a bit more commercial in return. A couple of odds and sods were mentioned, but I suggested we just go straight for the jugular and give the best character they’ve got his own book. And off we went…”

I've never read Stormwatch or The Authority (I know, shame on me), but this is Garth fucking Ennis writing what [sounds like] he writes best; gritty action, violence, and black comedy. The fact that the character of Midnighter is gay without there being any complexity on the matter also is appealing. I'll be picking this up in November, most definately.


21 March, 2006 09:11, Blogger zilla said...

I'm all over "The Boys" but not sure i have any interest in Midnighter. Authority was good (esp the first trade)... but not up to the hype it has recieved i don't think (personally). I also got to admit i'm not a big fan of "love" or relationsips (for their sake) in my comics whether it's man-on-man or man-on-woman (i can make an exception for woman-on woman... j/k ;) There def do seem to be a lot of gay superheroes these days...


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Criminal, The Goon, Daredevil, Exterminators, Punisher, Hellboy/B.P.R.D (All), Powers, Godland, Usagi Yojimbo, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Conan, Ex Machina, DMZ, Desolation Jones, Fell, 100 Bullets, All-Star Superman, Ultimates 2, Loveless, and Fear Agent.

I'm recently back reading after a 15 year comics hiatus.

Zilla is not my real name.

I'm from Tejas living in VA. I'm married w/ 2 dogs. I'm an IT security consultant cranking the wheel for a big consulting firm in "real" life.

I watch the History Channel, Nat'l Geo, TLC, Mil Channel, ESPN and NFL Network, CourtTV (forensic files, etc.) and the Cartoon Network (love Genndy T's Samurai Jack and Clone Wars Adventures). My taste in movies: Gladiator, Last Samurai, Braveheart, Godfather, Tarantino (whatever), Kung-Fu (whatever), Westerns, Top Gun, Big Lebowski.

I love the outdoors and bs'ing around w/ my dogs.

In addition to being a comics junkie, i'm also a sports junkie especially when it comes to the Texas Longhorns and the Dallas Cowboys.

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