Oh my god.
Midnighter/Apollo is OFFICIALLY MY FAVORITE SUPERHERO COUPLE and by that I mean the only superhero couple I like and ABNETT HAS MADE THE AUTHORITY DECENT AGAIN, best writer since Ellis dropped it and indeed the first writer since Ellis who has made me give a damn.
World’s End is the arc that happens after many, many, many talentless assholes have had their turns with The Authority. The world has gone post-apocalyptic after their shiftship the Carrier has hit London and fucked up everything, including causing ruptures in the Bleed that’s fused different realities with Earth and London in particular. An acidic smog has risen up, obscuring most of Earth from the sun. Jack Hawksmoor, king of cities, has broken after all cities have gone kaput and the Carrier–itself a city–has died. EM pulses have disrupted the Engineer’s nanomachines and put them into hibernation. Jenny Quantum, spirit of the 21st century, has disappeared. The latest Doctor, Habib Ben Hassan, has gone mad under the planet’s pain and vanished.
Darker and Edgier, but in a good way. Only the Midnighter and Swift can use their powers as normal; Apollo needs to spend most of his time near the sun or else he dies, see page to the left. This arc is supposed to be about them restoring Earth.
But what it really is about is the great, deep, devoted love the Midnighter has for Apollo. Everything else plays second fiddle to that.
It’s always been remarkable to me that–despite the hacks taking their turns shitting on The Authority, despite worthless maggots like Mark Millar having a go at the series–Apollo and the Midnighter have for the most part remained consistent. Nobody has tried to turn them straight, or even slightly bisexual. There’s an unfortunate tendency to kill Apollo off in alternate Authority realities but their real canon selves stick together through thick and thin. There’s something about them, from the understated moments in the original Ellis run to the panels of them in bed together (with the then-little Jenny Quantum snuggling up with them), that turns just about every panel they show up together into a lovely, touching moment. Including when Apollo fries enemies while the Midnighter rips out their spines, because that’s love.
There’s a reimagined special of them as feudal swordsmen in Japan. In it, Apollo’s analogue dies. The Midnighter’s analogue–and I am really quite glad both of them are made East Asian in that special, not inexplicably white–lures swordsmen to Apollo’s grave and kills them all, then rips out hearts to pile them on the grave. “Every year I bring my lover flowers,” you see. I’m annoyed that Apollo dies again but, man, it’s so sweet!
Right, World’s End arc.
I WISH YOU WERE WITH YOUR HUSBAND TOO, APOLLO ;____;
Because all communication channels have died, the rest of the team can contact Apollo only by sending up Swift, or with balloons. At a certain point Apollo goes missing, so the Midnighter does this:
BALLOONS WILL NEVER BE THE SAME FOR ME AGAIN, NEVER. ;__________; THE HEART-WRENCHING TEAR-JERKING SADNESS OF THIS CANNOT BE PUT IN WORDS.
A bunch of things happen, Apollo gets infected with a super-virus, and the Midnighter spends the rest of the arc finding a way to cure him. It’s so beautiful. And the very last page of the arc ends with them reuniting. Crowning moment of heartwarming, best of, ever. Worth noting is that, throughout all the series, they are really the only people with anything like a functional relationship. The Engineer and Jack are on-and-off and, ehhhh, not exactly what you’d call the closest couple. The rest of the team are more or less romance-free.
Unfortunately, after Abnett’s run the storyline heads in a direction that means Apollo and the Midnighter are dropped from the storyline. Which leaves… er, a bunch of boring people I no longer give a shit about. And downsizes the couple’s screen-time to fuck-all.
Well, better that than one of them being killed, I guess. But you know what? I’d totally read a series featuring just this pair. I would in a bright, hot minute. But in the meantime I will just look upon this and dream of what might one day be.