By Steve Orlando, ACO, Hugo Petrus, and Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Issue #6 ended with a complete gut punch of a reveal, and with that twist, this issue brings us the resolution of the opening arc. The emotional fallout, as we see later in this issue, is just as (if not more) important than the physical climax. And that’s where this issue begins, with a faceoff between Midnighter and Prometheus. Before Midnighter can do what he does best, which is kick some ass, Prometheus has to explain everything to us. But once the fisticuffs begin, Orlando slams on the accelerator, treating the reader to a lengthy and gratifying altercation.
Midnighter’s grit and brutality, while always delightful, are not the heart of this issue. The heart of this issue is, well, M’s heart itself. When the pure testerone-driven physical action come to an end, the real punch of this story comes from Midnighter’s emotional fallout from the betrayal revealed in issue #6. This is highlighted by a momentary glimpse at Opal City and Apollo, MIdnighter’s long time significant other. This emotional resonance emphasizes why Steve Orlando is writing the best book in all of superhero comics. It’s a best of both worlds. He gives us the over-the-top action and the truly warranted heartfelt moments. Nothing in this book is cheaply earned.
ACO, Hugo Petrus, and Romulo Fajardo Jr., as usual, elevate Orlando’s plot. ACO’s intricately detailed line work and precise panel layout make for an awesomely satisfying visual experience. Fajardo Jr.’s work is nothing short of brilliant as well, as he brings Midnighter’s brutality and physicality to life with varying hues of blue and green. This is best displayed on a double-splash page that concludes the confrontation between Midnighter and Prometheus. It’s a truly beautiful page in every sense, from design, to lines, to panels, to colors. If there’s a better match between creative team and character in superhero comics, good luck finding it.
That being said, this issue is not flawless in its execution. While Orlando’s script excels in both physical and emotional aspects, the conclusion to the epic showdown between Midnighter and Prometheus feels a bit rushed. Perhaps this is due for the overwhelming desire for more. The climax not only leaves the reader craving more, but it gives Midnighter a deeply personal nemesis (dare I say an arch-nemesis?). Orlando’s first arc was bombastic and beautiful, and he has now moved the pieces on the chess board to create a potentially masterful lengthy epic.