Midnighter has come to serve a unique function in the DC Universe, as well as occupying a unique place in the current topography of DC publications.  It is a book that consciously explores the social and psychological identity of a gay superhero.  It also is a touchstone for the former WildStorm properties with the current DC books.  But, one would not have expected a book serving those functions to be linked, however loosely, with the Batman Universe, especially through the mediation of Grayson and its star, the former Nightwing.

The main reason this is so interesting is that Midnighter himself was originally created as an echo of Batman, and joining him with Dick Grayson is a daring gamble that might have collapsed under the weight of meta-text.  Steve Orlando takes yet another such gamble in Midnighter #6, and it succeeds brilliantly.  At this point anyone who does not want to be thoroughly spoiled with regard to the major plot development in this issue should quit reading.   Before discussing that, we should note that the bulk of this issue involves Midnighter continuing his mission to discover who stole technology from the God Garden.  That mastermind has targeted Midnighter’s boyfriend, Matt Dell, and Matt’s aged father, a move that encourages Midnighter to new heights of violence.

As it turns out, the threat is closer than he realizes.  Matt’s father turns out to be a synthetic construct, and Matt himself to be the technology thief.  Beyond that, Matt is actually the villain Prometheus, the second Prometheus created by Grant Morrison and made famous in his storyline NEW YEAR’S EVIL (and later made infamous in James Robinson’s much despised A CRY FOR JUSTICE).  The extremely fascinating aspect of this is that Prometheus, like Midnighter, was deliberately created to be a twisted version of Batman.  Like Bruce Wayne, he is a genius motivated by the death of his parents, but his mother and father were criminals gunned down by the police, leaving him with a steely determination to bring the forces of order to ruin.

Grade

B+

Conclusion

As Midnighter and Prometheus are reflections of Batman, they are also reflections of each other. Orlando is creating the literary effect of a funhouse in which images multiply and oppose one another in increasingly distorted forms. But his great risk is adding this atop the intense personal element of Midnighter's sexual relationship with Prometheus and the layer of betrayal added atop the reflection. In unskilled hands, this construct would implode. But Orlando's deft touch has shaped the revelation so skillfully that what might have been melodramatic may, in the end, become iconic.