Character Profiles: Midnighter

Name: Midnighter    Real Name: Lucas Trent

Created By: Warren Ellis (writer) and Bryan Hitch (artist).

First Appearance: Stormwatch (vol. 2) #4; February 1998 (Wildstorm)
Affiliations: The Authority, Stormwatch, Spyral

In an interview for Comic Values Annual (1999), edited by Alex G. Malloy, Warren Ellis described Midnighter as “The Shadow by way of John Woo”. Midnighter is rarely seen without his costume and mask. Recurring themes in Midnighter’s adventures are his love of violence and killing, as well as comments on his sexuality. In 2013, ComicsAlliance ranked Midnighter as #17 on their list of the “50 Sexiest Male Characters in Comics”.

In fall 2011, DC relaunched its production with 52 new titles, including Stormwatch (written by Paul Cornell and drawn by Miguel Sepulveda). Cornell’s Stormwatch No. 1 debuted a radically new version of the team, which lasted until spring 2013. Featuring longtime DC character Martian Manhunter and a number of new creations, Stormwatch was posited as a modern-day version of DC’s Demon Knights, and Midnighter and Apollo were introduced at the start of their careers, unaware of one another’s sexualities and their mutual attraction to one another. The first issue depicts the group’s attempt at recruiting Midnighter and Apollo. Lucas Trent was presented for the first time as Midnighter’s actual name, and his costume was redesigned drastically. When Harry Tanner (who at the time was disguised as one of the Shadow Lords) framed Midnighter, he escaped taking Projectionist along with him. Eventually, when the team managed to capture him, Harry’s ruse was revealed and Midnighter’s innocence was proven. After Engineer, who had been slowly losing her humanity attacked them, Midnighter managed to escapes with Apollo and with the help of his ally Zealot, attacked the base. After Jenny destoryoed the base and killed Engineer the team mostly disassembled and Midnighter and Apollo’s realized that they had feelings for one another. For Jim Starlin’s run on the title with the following issue, No. 19, a time travel incident returned Midnighter and Apollo to their original designs and status as long-time lovers, before the New 52’s status quo for the characters was restored in the final issue.

In summer 2014, he’s regularly featured in the comic book series Grayson as he works to stop Spyral in collecting the body parts of a dead villain in which endows those who have it the powers of the Justice League.

The character began appearing in his own ongoing DC Comics series in June 2015, written by Steve Orlando. In it, Midnighter, having broken up with Apollo, has to come to terms with being newly single, as well as tracking down a thief who stole exotic technology from the God Garden and is openly selling it to different individuals. Amongst the items stolen are files containing the origin of who Midnighter really was before the Gardener abducted and created him. After teaming up with Spyral agent Dick Grayson to track down Russian vampire thrill-killers, Midnighter accompanies his new boyfriend to the latter’s hometown to track down those who attacked his father, and encounters the mastermind behind the theft of the God Garden technology -Prometheus.

DC Rebirth: Midnighter and Apollo (2016-present)    Edit
The character appears again along with his former boyfriend, Apollo for a six issue miniseries titled, Midnighter and Apollo, continuing in the New 52 canon, the two of them have gotten back together as a couple. Apollo is attacked, and his soul trapped in a hell dimension, and Midnighter plans to rescue him. He learns by Extrano where Apollo is trapped. He then go in search of the Ace of Winchesters, killing a demon called Vodyanar to get one bullet and then going in hell to take from the Lords of the Gun.

Midnighter is also referenced in the newly renumbered Detective Comics as a Bat-family ally; it is mentioned that Nightwing reaches out to him to access Door technology.[8] This implies that they have maintained their professional friendship from Grayson and the DCYou Midnighter series.

Powers and abilities 

Midnighter’s abilities are presented in the character’s first appearance, occurring in Stormwatch (volume 2, issue 4). Midnighter is the product of bioengineered enhancements commissioned by the character of Henry Bendix. It is implied (as in the Midnighter solo series (issues 10–16)) that Midnighter was a normal human before enlisting with Stormwatch Black. Several storylines have featured the deactivation, over-riding, or removal of the character’s enhancements to reduce Midnighter’s abilities to those of a normal man. The abortive Team Achilles series suggested that Bendix had “designed” Midnighter and Apollo during his childhood.

Typically, Midnighter is presented with superhuman strength, speed and resilience. The character is shown moving faster than both the human and superhuman eye, and in possession of a healing factor that allows him to rapidly recover from injury and illness. Storylines have shown Midnighter surviving a broken neck, broken limbs, holes through his chest and burning; the character is also portrayed clearing “AIDS in six weeks”. Midnighter is capable of surviving in anaerobic environments for short time periods and possesses a secondary replacement heart. He also has the power to suppress pain so he can keep fighting when pain would stop a normal person.

Many writers have referenced Midnighter’s trademark ability to predict the unfolding of a battle before it starts. Early in Ellis’s run on The Authority, the character was described as having a mental combat computer, with neural-inductive implants, which he uses to run through a given combat situation millions of times in his mind, almost instantly covering nearly every possible result before the first punch is even thrown. This allows for the perfect response and counterattack, such that if Midnighter can possibly win a battle, he will. Ellis portrayed the Midnighter delivering a monologue on this ability to intimidate opponents; Keith Giffen later had the character distribute a business card to this effect, to save time. Issue No. 7 of the Midnighter solo series, written by Brian K. Vaughan, showed the character using this ability regressively, to visualise the desired outcome of a battle and work backwards logically to achieve it. The stand-alone Authority graphic novel Human on the Inside, by John Ridley, suggested the ability was reactive, and required an opponent to make a first move to define the possibilities for a response. Though this is contradicted by numerous earlier, and later comics. Midnighter was also unable to use this ability against the Joker due to the latter’s extreme insanity.

In the new 52 Midnighter’s ability are slightly different. His power to predict the outcome of any situation still exists, but appears to have been supplemented by a form of precognition as well as enhanced knowledge. He is able to finish other people’s sentences before they have thought about it, and when Stormwatch’s map of alien threats to Earth materialised in front of him and Apollo, he instantly knew what it was. He has significant resistance to telepathic attacks, as he was able to resist the Scourge of Worlds’ attempt to use the Martian Manhunter’s telepathy on him. He mentions that he has carbon-fibre muscles that presumably enhance his strength. Harry Tanner, reputed to be the world’s greatest swordsman, struggled to land even a single blow on Midnighter since the latter could predict every move he would make. After a few seconds of fighting, Midnighter immediately knew what Harry’s power was. He has demonstrated the ability to move so stealthily that the Manhunter and Hawksmoor could not hear or sense his stalking them until it was too late. His suit enhances his durability; he was able to survive unaided in hyperspace for a while.

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