Midnighter is tracking down the God Garden in Russia, but he can”t do it alone! Fans have been clamoring for a Dick Grayson/Midnighter reunion and it”s finally here. MIDNIGHTER #4 sees the beginning of a two-issue crossover featuring GRAYSON ANNUAL #1 artist Stephen Mooney. Okay, sure. This reunion wasn”t Grayson”s idea. And sure, maybe Midnighter kidnapped him and absconded to Russia. And he definitely could”ve mentioned they”d be fighting a pack of feral vampires created by mad science for the amusement of drunken patrons. But hey, now that Grayson”s here he might as well help…right?
HitFix Harpy got both an exclusive sneak peek at MIDNIGHTER #4 as well as the chance to talk to the comic's writer, Steve Orlando. Speaking to us over the phone, he discussed what motivates Midnighter and not writing for the straight male gaze.
HITFIX HARPY: Real quick for people who may not be as familiar with him as they are with a Batman or Dick Grayson: where does Midnighter fit in the New 52 continuity?
STEVE ORLANDO: Midnighter worked for a global organization similar to Grayson, but on the other side. The organization was very much 'the ends justify the means.' When Midnighter found out who he was working for, he decided it wasn't for him. He struck out on his own to get back to what he really wanted to be doing. The type of work he always thought he should be doing, which was helping real people.
He's a guy it was turned into a living weapon by mad science. He's got a computer in his brain it tells him how to how to hit anyone he wants, and how to do it the best way. He so he's thought about it a million times in the second before the fight begins. But he also has extreme empathy towards people. Midnighter is the guy who had bad things done to him but he turned it into a positive. He's trying to pay that forward, to make sure no one else has to go through what he had to.
While many heroes deal with global issues, Midnighter is worried about vampires being mistreated in an underground club. It's interesting his empathy extends even to those that would normally be considered villains or monsters.
STEVE: Midnighter is definitely the kind of guy who has his own point of view on what a hero looks like. He doesn't care about stereotypes, he doesn't care about tropes. The people that are being made victims in MIDNIGHTER #4 – the people that are being abused – he wants what's done to them and bring it to the victimizers no matter who is on both sides of that relationship. In the case of Issue #4 in Russia, it's not just the vampires and turning that paradigm around, but it's the idea that they've been made into what they are with science from the God Garden. It's the type of thing Midnighter hates more than anything else. It's about not letting these soulless, cruel experiments continue. Really when you get down to it, Midnighter's mission is to make sure that there's never someone else who gets made into a Midnighter.
Can we talk a little about the art style? Because as a lady I am very grateful for the sequence that is happening as the preview ends. It seems like with Grayson and Midnighter (among other characters), DC is starting to realize you can't just have cheesecake, but beefcake is also very welcome. Is that something you guys you specifically add in visually because of Midnighter's sexual orientation or is it just a natural outcropping of his personality?
STEVE: I think it's part of his personality. If you try to do it too much 'on purpose' it's not going to come off right. But yes, there are some fascinating things for fans of that type of content in MIDNIGHTER #4! But you know, we were also in Russia and it's a classic cultural thing that happens there. So the opportunity was there and I thought 'Why not do it?' Midnighter is a guy that doesn't care who he makes uncomfortable, he's going to say exactly what he thinks and exactly what he's feeling.
You're right though. There are plenty of books that have a certain type of male gaze and it's exciting to update that. Tim Seeley and Tom King started it in Grayson and it's something I think is great. It's bold and unapologetic but it's fun. And it's an exciting friendly competition as Tim, Tom, and I try to outdo each other with flirtation and innuendo between Midnighter and Grayson!