By Leroy Douresseaux
April 29, 2007 - 09:53
Anyone who’s been reading Garth Ennis for the past decade and a half or so knows that Ennis is the master of writing anti-hero, self-righteous badasses. He doesn’t disappoint in Wildstorm’s The Midnighter, a series launched late last year. Midnighter was Warren Ellis’ spin on the Batman archetype, making the new character super-powered and openly gay. He first appeared in Stormwatch (Vol. 2) #4.
I couldn’t find the first two issues of this comic magazine, so with Midnighter #3 I come in on the middle of a storyline, “Killing Machine,” Part 3. Apparently, someone named Anton Paulus kidnapped Midnighter and planted a bomb in his thorax. This not-quite-elective surgery is incentive to coerce Midnighter to take a trip back in time and assassinate Adolf Hitler as an infant.
However, after procuring an adult Hitler, Midnighter runs into the T.P.D. – Temporal Police from the 96th century who protect the integrity of time. Midnighter delivers some brutal butt-kicking, but led by Sergeant Bonnie Bunsen, the T.P.D. fight back just as roughly. Crash landing in another time, though, might find these foes united.
This comic is just fun to read. Ennis has a sharp and jolly sense of humor, and he has the uncanny ability to mix the genuinely funny with the cruelly violent. Even at $2.99, this single chapter (and thus, incomplete) in a action/sci-fi serial offers more bang for the buck than a $5+ rental of just about 95 percent of Hollywood action flicks.
The art by Chris Sprouse (who apparently only pencils the first six pages) and Joe Phillips perfectly captures Ennis’ story in an unadorned way that emphasizes the action violence. Their cartoonish, non-realist approach to drawing this book captures the over-the-top humor and down-and-dirty fisticuffs.