Book Review - Midnighter, Vol. 2

Midnighter, Vol. 2Midnighter, Vol. 2 by Steve Orlando
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Yeah... no. This half of the series was utterly disappointing. Not even the return of Apollo could save it. It's a confused mess, with the subplots varied and unnecessary. Some guy is doing a documentary on Midnighter - freaking random choice as it is - but, he constantly uses a dictaphone and not a camera. So... not a documentary then, an article. The speech bubbles and panel placement were baffling; the first half of this series had a few gaffs that confused me, but this one's just crazy.

Spyral joins the fray, as do the Suicide Squad, none of whom add to the plot that much. It could have been any ol' mysterious organisation and kill squad, as they're that incidental to the plot. And since they're syndicated characters from outside the Midnighter universe, they bring with them DC's troubling art. Harley Quinn is a real clown and I don't really know how anyone puts up with reading the comics the artists draw her in. It's an eye sore.

Spyral is a grand total of two women (or it might be three, hard to tell because they're all interchangeable), both of whom look young enough to be Midnighter's daughters. They're also super-skinny, which is outrageous given that they're supposed to be saving the world with big guns and fighting skills - they don't have any muscle to hold a gun. The ladies include Helena Bartinelli, and all of them are written as nothing more than cheerleaders. They call in Midnighter for assignments, which he botches and wreaks havoc. He then dismisses their concerns and talks down to them - occasionally mansplaining their own jobs to them. Like... why is it that a male character is seriously awesome, but the moment he's in the proximity of women, suddenly he's a jerk?

Throughout, the behaviour of the characters made you wonder what the point of Spyral was, or why these people were hired to work in it. Unbelievable.

Midnighter and all the male characters are disrespectful to Amanda Waller (head of ARGUS) as well; she is also drawn as a skinny 25-year-old. It baffles me. I get that neither Waller, not Spyral are favourites of DC heroes, but there's a difference between writing a character's dislike of something as opposed to a writer's dislike of that thing. It felt like the writers didn't like these women characters, because they're the only ones who were belittled and cut down to size constantly.

This half of the series was also overly gory - didn't need that. Midnighter doesn't need to be sadistic, he just needs to get the job done. The writers overdid it here. I don't remember him being so vicious in the other stuff I've read.

There's plenty of body horror going on, which is another thing I don't get. It's not something I choose to read, and didn't care for it turning up so many times in this half of the series.

I like Midnighter as a character, and it's evident writer Steve Orlando is fond of him as well. His Midnighter and Apollo series was far more readable, coherent and fun. Its violence was balanced with some excellent emotional and human moments. Wherever Midnighter appears next, I hope it's as a much more respectful and respectable character - exactly as he's meant to be.

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