If you told me Hell existed in the DC universe I’d call you crazy. Usually publishers change the name (Marvel calls it Hel for instance), but no, Midnighter is entering Hell to get his boyfriend back. Seems dramatic, but is it good?
Midnighter and Apollo #3 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The full summary reads:
With Henry Bendix’s trap sprung, it’ll be a long road for Midnighter to be reunited with Apollo—and the path will take him straight through the gates of Hell itself!
Why does this book matter?
I’m not sure how much crazier the personal stakes can get for Midnighter when he’s entering Hell to save the love of his life, which makes this extra exciting. On top of that, writer Steve Orlando is playing around with magic in the DCU, which you don’t see every day. Plus, who doesn’t like a good romp in Hell?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Time for some magic.
This issue cuts between Apollo playing a game with Neron in Hell (and it’s not a nice one) and Midnighter getting his ducks in a row to save Apollo. Both stories do well to capture the lengths they’re going to stay alive and fight. The Apollo storyline ramps up the tension and increases the urgency of Midnighter’s story quite well. Together the entire issue does well to pace things and get you excited for the next issue.
Midnighter gets to have some violent fun and his steadfast determination is valiant. Orlando and artist Fernando Blanco give him a workmanlike personality where no feat is impossible and nothing is off the table. Plus he looks great punching holes in demons’ heads.
Hell and the demons that come with it are the best elements of this issue, from Apollo’s dealings with Neron to Midnighter uncovering a surprise. Blanco does a good job making these creatures look horrific and weird, especially later in the issue when we see the average streets of the place. There’s a haunting atmosphere (in part due to Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s colors) in its introduction “Elsewhere” that fans of Hell in stories should check out. I’m getting some Hellraiser vibes that fans should enjoy. On top of all this, the layouts are inventive and tell a mean story.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There were minor visual things that hung me up here and there, like when Midnighter meets with Gregorio. It’s only a single panel, but Gregario’s hand looks unfinished and his entire body looks as if he was pasted into the scene. For the most part the art is excellent, but minor things like this might pull you out.
Another issue I had is how often Midnighter needs to remind us his brain is a computer. It comes up more than once in this issue, and it certainly came up in the last two, which makes him come off as almost braggy. Another minor element, but seriously Midnighter, stop telling us what we already know.
What’s with your hand dude?
Is It Good?
This is an entertaining issue as tensions flare and the urgency rises to save Apollo. Midnighter gets to be the badass as he enters Hell where his strengths may not be enough.