Tag Archives: Steve Orlando

DC Comics MIDNIGHTER AND APOLLO :: Go To Hell?!

They are the most out-loud and proud avengers ready to save the day! Midnighter and Apollo continue their stellar run in the latest 6-issue miniseries from DC Comics.

Love transcends all barriers even those guarding the gates of hell! Especially in the case of superpower couple Midnighter and Apollo. The macro-mighted, swift-kicking crimefighter has had his work cut out for him ever since reconciling with his more powerful than the rising son super beau, but after taking on a deadly demon Apollo is struck down and his soul is sent into the afterlife. The latest issue of the 6-issue arc in Midnighter and Apollo #3 written by Steve Orlando with are by Fernando Blanco continues the adventures of two of DC Comics most popular and out-spoken characters.

Ever since the vigilante Mignighter struck out on his own (see the recently wrapped solo title Midnighter also by Orlando) he hasn’t been having the best go of single-hood that you’d imagine or expect from a cat who’s packing a heck of a six-pack and an even more charming roguish attitude. Admittedly, by end of that series’ run, and a couple of pretty harrowing knock-down drag-out fights, including several capers that had him teaming up with none other than Dick Grayson aka Nightwing. Obviously you can’t keep a good man down — though many have tried — and the dark finally saw the light as Apollo returned!

Now this dynamic duo (the comparisons between Batman and Superman aren’t going unnoticed) are back together again, fighting crime and winning hearts as the DC Universe’s most out-loud and proud gay super heroes.

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It appeared that the two heroes had struck the most perfect of balances. Apollo has come to terms with the Midnighter’s penchant for kicking bad guy ass. For someone has powerful as Apollo, whose powers would rival those of perhaps the Man of Steel’s, killing is not an option. Where the Midnighter prefers to strike down his enemies with his own brand of justice, he understands and never underestimates Apollo’s restraint. Grateful that the two, after several break-ups are now rallying to make their way as a couple, trouble is still looming darkly round every corner for these two. Though that’s just another day and night for this pair.

After confronting the archdemon Mawzir Apollo is fatally and ends up in hell at the mercy of the Neron. Desperate to bring his lover back from the precipice of despair, Midnighter learns that the only way he can avenge Apollo’s “death” is by using an ancient weapon an eldritch rifle called the Ace of Winchester. Midnighter learns about the weapon from his colleague the magician Gregorio de la Vega, El Extraño and one-time “New Guardian” a remnant of the Millennium event. Gregorio tells Midnighter he needs to use this weapon to destroy Mawzir and also casts a spell that will help get Midnighter into hell so that he can rescue Apollo.

When I spoke with Orlando about the direction that this latest adventure would be taking for these tier characters, he promised that there would be some very colorful supporting players waiting in the wings that would enhance the story. Given the obscure nature of the hero Extraño who made his debut in the Millennium crossover event published by DC Comics in 1988, the inclusion of this hero also harks to the imprints current company-wide “Rebirth” initiative that is looking to reestablish many of the legacy elements that may have gotten retconned recently.

Apollo faces his own obstacles while held prisoner in hell challenging Neron to a game of his own devising that tempts the hero with doubt — presenting Apollo with an inevitable future hopelessly paved with blood, death and murder — or an eternity as part of a corrupted menagerie. Apollo ever hopeful plays Neron’s game even though the demon continues to plague him with doubts, demonstrating to the “false god” just how vulnerable he really is and how unworthy of a happy ending he is, unaware that Midnighter is on his way to release him from captivity.

Though the nature of the story is magnificently opulent and wrapped up in the sci-fi/fantasy elements of the Midnighter and Apollo format, it is at its base the truest of all heroic adventures where two lovers face the most dangerous of opposition to emerge complete at the other end. That the story is centered on the tale of these two male archetypes is even more compelling and easily the most contemporary. Good on Steve Orlando for giving these heroes a place to carry on their adventures and even better on DC Comics for championing their tale.

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Midnighter and Apollo may only have a six-issue run to unravel this epic, but in the end it will make all the difference especially entering into a particularly uncertain time after the recent election. Many are feeling scared and disenfranchised by what they expect may be some unforeseeable obstructions to basic civil rights and concerns in the structure that the government may be taking given the unpredictable energy of the incoming administration. Fortunately there are heroes out there fighting for us!

No matter how dark it might get in the shadows, we’ve got an avenger prepared to fight for us, and he’s got the brightest light to guide him by. This is why Midnighter and Apollo is a must-read!

Visit The Fanzite for a special look at the upcoming Midnighter and Apollo #4 on sale next week!

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The “Rebirth” Continues… iReview: SUPERGIRL #1

It’s the Maid of Might’s turn at the “Rebirth” carousel. Just what can fans expect from accomplished comics scribe Steve Orlando as he takes the wheel of the new ongoing title…

When Supergirl premiered as part of “The New 52” reboot at DC Comics the character was among the most dramatically overhauled to fit in with the new, more contemporary wave that the imprint was riding. In an effort to bring in more savvy audiences, Superman’s famous cousin was given a much edgier persona and a more fleshed out background. Kara Zor-El had a life on Krypton before it was environmentally destroyed, and was actually resistant about being part of her father’s plan to be rocketed away from her family in her planet’s final days, with a mission to keep her infant cousin Kal safe on their voyage to a new alien world.

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Kara arrives on Earth much later than anyone anticipated and crash lands in Russia. Her cousin Kal El has grown up and become Superman emerging in an era where people are sceptical about these so-called “super-heroes”, gods on earth, that walk among them. With no understanding of Earth’s customs or language, Kara’s arrival is met with a flurry of firepower from a military organization that is investigating her arrival. Fortunately Superman arrives just in time to intervene before Kara, who is just learning to control her new found powers, unleashes her own attack on her assailants. That was just the beginning of Supergirl’s introduction to the modern DC Comics multiverse.

For the rest of the Maid of Steel’s run she often found herself at odds with her cousin, and battling as furiously as any angry, average and rebellious teenage girl would. It made for a dramatically different take on a beloved character that in a much simplier time sacrificed herself in the midst of a major crisis to save Superman and the entirety of the multiverse. This new modern-era Supergirl certainly had her shining moments, joining forces with other disenfranchised heroes to help form the Justice League United and take the battle to the stars. She even joined the Red Lanterns Corp for a short time to work out those anger issues.

Now most recently, Supergirl is enjoying an entirely new popularity having joined the primetime universe as one of the successful series of DC Comics based action series on The CW. Returning to the optimism and hopefulness that made the heroine’s journey so attractive, the television series takes a classic approach to evolving Kara’s personality although making her a completely contemporary young millennial charmingly played by Melissa Benoist in the hour-long series Supergirl. The series has proven so popular that when obviously when the publishing imprint at DC Comics decided to return to a more character driven base with “Rebirth” the decision was made to pattern the relaunch after the show.

Overseeing the effort is veteran Comics writer Steve Orlando most notable known for his notorious turn on the recent Midnighter book that put the vigilante front and center. Now Orlando has a turn on working the same magic with Supergirl: Rebirth #1 which puts Kara Zoe-El/Danvers (her new Earth-born surname and cover) and to work for the DOE – the Department of Extra-Normal Operations. Sound familiar? It should. Although the DOE was introduced toward the final issues of “The New 52” Supergirl book’s run, the agency was enlisted to help Kara with her recent power loss. When Kara’s cousin Superman faced his “final days” it became imperative that Kara return to full strength.

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The Rebirth issue addresses that immediately as the DEO Director Cameron Chase assigned to be assist Supergirl with her case sends the Maid of Might rocketing straight ahead into the heart of our yellow sun! At the same time, a breach at the launch site releases a prisoner from the Krytonian Phantom Zone, a scientist and enemy of Zor-El, Kara’s father, who is sick with red krptonite poisoning. Rather than help him find a cure the man is imprisoned in the Phantom Zone until a remedy for his condition could be found.

What gets unleashed on Earth is a Kryptonian werewolf!

Another item co-opted from the television series are Kara’s Earth-bound foster parents. Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers are both very much an active part of their alien ward’s life, as well as active scientific agents under the employ of the DOE and under Chase’s direction. Whether her foster sister, Alex — who is her closest relative on the primetime series — appears on the page still remains to be seen, but whether this direct adaptation will refine Supergirl’s legacy going forward readers will have to stay tuned.

Supergirl is a title that has changed often over the years; the decision to have killed her off during the Crisis on Infinite Earths reboot of the DC Universe rocked Superman’s world and it wasn’t until recently that the “real” Supergirl was reintergrated into the DC Universe — and boy was she missed! Whether “Rebirth” does the Girl of Steel justice in the long wrong, we’ll hold out and hope. Orlando has proven a gifted auteur with great skill at telling unique stories and nuturing character personalities.