Joy, Pain, or Joy in Pain?
Gleefully Attacking Evil
The 1st volume of Midnighter is cheekily titled, "Out," and the 2nd volume of Midnighter is even more tongue-in-cheek with the label, "Hard," and follows our hero as he does what I just described, beating up bad guys and sleeping with good guys. In his effort to help the innocent, our hero fights a ton of people and kills many of them without a second's hesitation. We aren't necessarily supposed to support this as a reader, but it is for sure made quite clear anyone Midnighter kills is very evil, so he never feels bad either. When it turns out someone he thought he had a connection with and who was maybe going to be a potential boyfriend was in fact a villain named Prometheus the whole time in the first volume, Midnighter doesn't let it get him down. Even when Prometheus taunts Midnighter with the possibility of learning who he really is our protagonist states that he knows exactly who he is. It's self-assured and a very positive statement of individuality .
Justice League of America," so the publisher clearly knows the man has talent.
Bad People Doing Bad Things
how I liked the critically-maligned run of Daniel Way on, "Thunderbolts," that later had some other writers come on board and lighten the tone until the book was repeatedly re-launched as Marvel of course loves to do. The biggest complaint people seemed to have was that all the heroes on this team of Thunderbolts seemed angry, dour, and otherwise unhappy except for Deadpool who injected a bit of enthusiasm into the story and was clearly there to provide at least a modicum of comic-relief. I didn't get the hatred for the series during the time when Way was doing it, because I could clearly see he was giving us a book about bad people doing bad things--but not because they liked it, it was because they felt they had to.
In the first volume collection of Way's run, titled, "No Quarter," this team made-up of folk like the Red Hulk (AKA General Thunderbolt Ross), the Punisher, Deadpool, Elektra, and other heroes known for their violence and sorrow (Deadpool may be really funny, but does have some depressing history without a doubt) goes around killing people they think are even worse than them in order to keep the World safe. They take no pleasure from doing so (besides the aforementioned outlier Deadpool), but know it must be done. These are, "Heroes," in the loosest sense of the word and while they are committing just as much violence as our previously discussed Midnighter they clearly approach it from a much different perspective. The whole thing is depressing, nasty, and shows violence as something sad and horrific.
Context Is Key