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Midnighter & Appollo #1

Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Fernando Blanco
Published by DC Comics

Midnighter is this amazing, hyperviolent Batman character who has a computer brain that tells him how to kill people. That sounds ridiculous and one-note, I know. And DC has plenty of disturbing extremes of violence. But hear me out. Midnighter is actually richly textured, with humor and tragedy and fear. And he’s gay.

Steve Orlando has been writing Midnighter’s amazing solo book in the New 52, and the character has had this terrific open sexuality, hooking up and flirting and punching out bad guys. But the absence of his boyfriend, Superman analogue Apollo, has been looming over the series, and in this new miniseries, Orlando gets to show what he can do with a great gay romance.

This week, the guys stop some pirates and save some kids, then have some friends over for dinner and talk about their views on the necessity of violence. In the background, wicked Dr. Bendix enacts a vengeful plan against the black-leather antihero. And yes, Apollo and Midnighter have a two-page sex scene – for those of you who might be put off by that, there’s no nudity or explicit language; for the rest of us, it’s really, really hot.

So here we have an issue of a comic book combining fight scenes and domestic happiness. It’s amazing, it’s exciting, it’s normal, it’s like every love story and it’s unlike every love story. It’s about being gay, and it’s also not just about that. It’s a book that could not have launched without years of increasing diversity in mainstream comics, and it’s going to make it easier for future books to really represent the breadth of who people are. You are going to love it. When you come to Ultimate Comics to check out the new North Raleigh store or pick up your Comicon tickets (which are selling out fast), give this one a try.

MATT CONNER for Ultimate Comics