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Midnighter #16

Posted: Friday, February 8, 2008
By: Michael Colbert

Keith Giffen
Lee Garbett, Rick Burchett (i), Mayor (c)
Midnighter isnít much of a superhero. He's surly, doesnít play well with others, no compunction about killing his enemies and uses a metal stick to it. He really doesnít demonstrate any of the qualities you should find in superheroes except that he doesnít give up and has great fighting skills. Then how is it that this not-much-of-a-superhero has attracted talent the likes of Brian K. Vaughn, Garth Ennis, and Jimmy Palmiotti to his solo run?

Midnighter isnít much of a superhero. That makes him interesting.

VIII (8 for you non-Roman Catholics) is the second story arc from scribe Keith Giffen and it expands and builds off of what he did on the ďAnthemĒ arc. Midnighter is slipping into a more superheroish kinda mode; he now has an alter ego, a small town base of operations, and even a spunky sidekick. All very superhero. Except that itís Midnighter, so his alter ego was fabricated by his adopted daughter, his base of operation is populated by the Anthem organization (who used him as a media boogeyman and tried to kill him last arcÖoh, and now has a truce with them) and he kidnapped his spunky sidekick. All this seems to lighten Midnighter up about 2%, which for him is a lot, but as always trouble is brewing on the next page. An assassin organization built around patricide has been wiping out the Authorityís spy network. Now they are trading up to Midnighter.

To call Keith Giffenís dialogue lean is a bit misleading. The clipped phrasing and single word exchanges are lean but itís so packed with meaning and intent that you can sense everything floating just beneath it might bear another pass just to get everything but since when is reading a comic twice a bad thing? I would love to see the script because there is a lot of information packed into the silent panels and plot points are just sitting calmly in the background waiting to be seen a second time around. To make it short Giffen and company do not spoon feed you and that adds more value to the book.

Lee Garbettís pencils are smooth an detailed he doesnít falter on the action or gore (necessary for Midnighter) but his little touches, a characterís reaction, Mindy (the spunky sidekick) sliding off her perch with a baseball bat, the compositions, all bring fluidity and inner life to the characters. Inks and Colors are top notch especially the color scheme of Harmony (the base of operations) with calm earth tones and small town haze.

Midnighter is not much of a superhero. All the trappings of his job surround him but when you look a bit deeper itís all upside down.

Thatís what makes Midnighter interesting.



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