Note: There are spoilers for WildStorm 30th Anniversary Special #1 towards the end of this article.
DC Comics’ 30th anniversary celebration of Wildstorm’s creation has gotten even more momentous with the release of the WildStorm 30th Anniversary Special #1. The anthology special spotlights the numerous fan-favorite characters that made Jim Lee’s publishing company great, with an all-star roster of comic book creators highlighting different superheroes from across WildStorm’s extensive history. Among the short stories included in the anthology is a tale starring the superhero couple Midnighter and Apollo as they acclimate to life back on Earth after their ordeal on Warworld prior to becoming involved in Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths.
Apart from Grifter, Midnighter and Apollo have become the most prominent WildStorm characters to appear throughout the DC Universe since it merged with the WildStorm Universe in 2011. Here’s how the super-powered couple first came together, how they separated during their initial integration into the DCU, and how they eventually found their way back into each other’s arms as the entire universe recalibrated.
The Wildstorm Years
Midnighter and Apollo were created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch in 1998’s Stormwatch #4 (vol. 2) as the sole survivors of a black ops team in the WildStorm Universe under the command of Henry Bendix. Ellis brought the characters back as part of the superhero team The Authority, with The Authority #8 revealing that Apollo and Midnighter were a romantic couple enjoying a cohabiting relationship. In The Authority #29, the final initial of the issue volume, written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Gary Erskine, Midnighter and Apollo married and adopted Jenny Sparks, with the team celebrating their blissful matrimony.
Though largely a happily married couple, Apollo and Midnighter’s greatest challenge to their relationship in the WildStorm Universe came when Midnighter admitted to kissing another man in the original graphic novel The Authority: Human on the Inside by John Ridley and Ben Oliver. Jealously enraged, Apollo struck his husband, sending Midnighter through several walls, with Midnighter’s genetic enhancements keeping him from suffering further bodily harm. Though the couple eventually reconciled, the incident is the darkest moment in their relationship history to date.
New 52 Pick-Up
When the entire DCU’s continuity was rebooted during the New 52 publishing initiative in 2011, the WildStorm Universe merged into the DCU. This led to new origins for Apollo and Midnighter, with the two heroes meeting for the first time in the relaunched Stormwatch title rather than being established as a married couple. Once again operating as a black ops superhero team, Apollo and Midnighter fell in love in this new continuity over the course of the series while acknowledging a passing awareness of being a couple in an alternate timeline.
Midnighter received his own solo comic book series in 2015, written by Steve Orlando and initially illustrated by Aco. The series opens with Midnighter on the dating scene again, this time spending much of his time in Oakland and Boston. Midnighter reveals that his violent nature eventually led Apollo to break off their relationship, and Midnighter instead strikes up a romance with a man named Matt. Matt is eventually revealed to be the supervillain Prometheus who had been manipulating Midnighter to gain access to extraterrestrial technology which could help him destroy all superheroes. As leverage, Prometheus downloads Midnighter’s secret history directly into his brain, confident that Midnighter would not kill him lest he risk losing the information forever. This proves not to be an issue for Midnighter who nearly kills Prometheus, with the villain barely escaping with his life after enduring a savage beating.
Following the end of Midnighter’s solo series, the character co-headlined a six-issue miniseries in 2016 with Apollo, written by Orlando and illustrated by Fernando Blanco. Apollo and Midnighter resume their relationship, though Apollo still questions Midnighter’s his apparent love of violence and penchant for openly employing lethal force to get the job done. This reconciliation was nearly derailed when the demonic supervillain Neron stole Apollo’s soul. But Midnighter literally goes to hell and back to save Apollo, cementing their love for each other beyond a reasonable doubt.
Superman and the Authority
Midnighter and Apollo reunited with several of their old Authority teammates in a big way in Grant Morrison and Mikel Janin’s four-issue miniseries Superman and the Authority, which featured an older Man of Tomorrow growing weaker. Determined to save the world from Ultra-Humanite, Superman recruited the two onto his version of the team, with Apollo admitting to being a huge Superman fan in a direct nod to the character being an analog to DC’s flagship superhero.
This ensemble would remain together into Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s Action Comics run, with Superman leading the Authority to Warworld to liberate the faraway planet from the intergalactic despot Mongul. This plan initially went disastrously, with the Authority ambushed shortly after arriving on Warworld and put into captivity, with Apollo corrupted by Mongul’s advanced technology. Superman would rally a valiant resistance against Mongul and rescue Apollo, resulting in the successful liberation of Warworld, but Apollo would remain haunted by the experience.
The WildStorm 30th Anniversary Special has Apollo and Midnighter taking on the supervillain couple Hammer & Sickle as the DCU is gripped by the chaos and destruction of Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths. As the fight escalates, Apollo overcomes the trauma and anxiety he endured on Warworld to defeat the two supervillains in a brilliant display of power that leaves even Midnighter impressed. In the immediate aftermath, the two heroes receive Nightwing’s call to arms against the Dark Army from the Hall of Justice and join the epic fray to lend some vital assistance.
Along with Grifter, Apollo and Midnighter are the WildStorm heroes who have made the transition to become characters within the DCU the most seamlessly. Through their time mixing it up with DC’s established heroes, the two characters have proven that there can be a clear analog to Superman and Batman existing alongside the genuine articles, with several creative teams having fun with that juxtaposition. More importantly, Apollo and Midnighter are one of the highest profile same-sex superhero couples in mainstream comic book publishing and certainly one of the most prominent across DC’s entire publishing line.
As WildStorm celebrates its landmark anniversary while teasing wider integration in the DCU, hopefully Apollo and Midnighter will gain a greater place in the spotlight as WildStorm and DC’s ultimate power couple, here to stay and evolve in the wider superhero universe.
'Together' is included in the WildStorm 30th Anniversary Special #1, on sale now from DC Comics. The short story is written by Meghan Fitzmartin, illustrated by Will Conrad, colored by Romulo Fajardo, Jr., and lettered by Wes Abbott.
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