It has all been leading to this, quite literally, as Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, and Michael Avon Oeming close out their Midnighter story. So far we’ve gotten shorter backup chapters, but now it’s all about Midnighter in this extra-sized annual issue. For a story that is playing with time travel, paradoxes to the nth degree, and the violent delights of Midnighter, it’s been fun, but time to wrap this up!
This issue is basically one long action sequence with an epilogue and cliffhanger to close things off. It opens where we left off in Action Comics #1034. Apollo is standing in Midnighter and Mister Miracle’s way, but can Midnighter use his words or will he have to beat up the love of his life?
This is of course a ridiculous question, but Conrad and Cloonan do a good job putting in the work to make Apollo’s choice an earned one. As Midnighter and Mister Miracle fight mindless cyborgs, explanations are given, and Midnighter’s second personality in his head keeps chattering on. That latter element creates a lot of chaos which gives the book a layer of character development on top of the action.
The key to all of this is stopping Andrej Trojan, who gets a good character backstory here and serves as the ultimate enemy at the end. Along the way, Trojan gets to go full villain on his henchmen, drawn incredibly well by Oeming and serves as a good addition to the rich smart guy with no power villain at DC Comics. This character’s end feels fitting and it should be interesting to see more of him in the future.
The fact that Midnighter does something very violent to Trojan on the credits page midway through the book is a great choice that speaks to the cinematic quality of the issue. Stylistically there’s nothing else like this book, with weird wavy lines to convey head trauma in one scene, or well-timed Dutch angles to increase the weirdness of the book. Multiple times Oeming uses layered art with transparency to create interesting effects.
Taki Soma’s colors are super fun, adding to the retro stylings of the book. In fact, the paradoxes and sci-fi ideas in the book paired with these colors help create an old, but new again vibe.
Letters by Dave Sharpe do a lot of lifting to get heavier dialogue across in a crisp and clear way. The sound effects in one scene, which are given a shaky digital look, help create more chaos around the heroes, for instance.
This is a solid finish to a trippy story for Midnighter. With extra pages to spare for the annual, Conrad, Cloonan, and Oeming have delivered a non-stop action sequence with heartfelt moments and satisfying conclusions. Midnighter 2021 Annual will make you want more from this creative team.
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