|MIDNIGHTER No. 1, August 2015|
Whilst Warren Ellis’ co-creation has often been criticised for being little more than an ultra-violent clone of Batman, especially when drawn alongside the character’s ‘superman-surrogate’ husband Apollo. This solo outing, written by Steve Orlando and “rated teen plus”, depicts the super-hero in a vein which is far more akin to that which was envisaged when the “incredible bad-ass” was first conceived. That is “The Shadow by way of John Woo.”
However having the black-clad vigilante going back “to his roots” isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially when the “Undertow” author decides that the entire storyline for Issue One of “Midnighter” is simply going to be about “lots of punching” as the former Stormwatch member “learns how to be a normal person.” In fact a terrific amount of this magazine’s twenty(ish) pages concern themselves with Lucas Trent simply dining, committing “ritual suicide by cholesterol”, playing pool, dating in Moscow, or rather graphically conducting “a rigorous physical examination” of his new boyfriend, Jason.
Admittedly Orlando makes good on his promise of the “masked ass-kicker” being as brutal as ever by having the artificially enhanced human seriously take down a heavily armed group of killers who foolishly interrupt his evening meal in a restaurant. But frankly the appallingly confusing and overly complicated art of Aco ruins any enjoyment to be had from the scene. Something which is especially disheartening as Midnighter delivers some of his infamously sadistic yet wonderfully witty one-liners during the free-for-all; “I’ll burst your eyeballs and punch my fist into your liver.”
Sadly the "Batman: Future's End" artist is unfortunately responsible for a good deal of this comic’s inaccessibility and in some ways it is actually a relief to see his horrendously busy panels and pages being momentarily overshadowed by an incredibly intruding advertisement for a Twix chocolate bar mid-way through the magazine!?! Those readers willing to pour some significant time pondering Aco’s illustrations will doubtless marvel at the blunt force trauma depicted within the penciller’s minute x-ray montages. But for any casual peruser of this periodical most of the pictures, especially those containing any form of dynamic action, disappointingly appear as something of a mess to be deciphered rather than enjoyed.
|Writer: Steve Orlando, Penciller: Aco, and Inkist: Aco with Hugo Petrus|