Written by Steve Orlando
The story begins with Midnighter trying to rescue some kidnapped kids from Captain Half-beard’s Subway Pirates. When he catches Half-Beard, he explains he’s using the kids to fuel his God-Train, which runs on innocence and turns into a giant robot. Luckily, Midnighter brought Apollo, who deals with it. Afterwards, they go to Apollo’s place in Opal City, where they celebrate with friends. Midnighter hasn’t moved in yet, after months of dating, because they want to take it as it comes. Everything is swell, but Apollo is concerned — Midnighter was particularly brutal in taking care of the pirates, perhaps because the kidnapped children reminded him of himself. Apollo wonders if killing is always the solution.
Meanwhile, Bendix is still around. To try and kill Midnighter, he attempts to recruit several magic users, but he only strikes luck with the Lords of the Gun. To help them, he gifts them the Ace of Winchesters, a special gun. At the same time, Midnighter starts beating up criminals who have been empowered by Bendix, until one of them gives away Bendix’s location. He visits Bendix, but the villain disables the Doors and shows Midnighter his plan: a Lord of the Gun, Mawzir, is killing Apollo in Opal City. Midnighter’s only way to help him is to fight to the surface through a gauntlet Bendix designed. Midnighter can’t spare the time to kill Bendix, but he still stabs him with a stapler. Middy beats the gauntlet easily enough, but when he reaches Mawzir it leaves. Midnighter is left with an allegedly dead Apollo, but he knows deep inside he’s still alive. Middy spends the next three days bathing him in sunlight.
Later, Midnighter visits Extraño, a magician, to ask him about the possible whereabouts of Apollo’s soul. His soul is actually in Hell, being tortured by Neron. Extraño arranges for Midnighter to visit; he modifies his body so that he can harm infernal flesh, but if he activates its power it will kill Midnighter in seven minutes. To make things worse, the only thing capable of killing the Mawzir is the Ace of Winchesters, which Middy doesn’t have. He visits the Ace’s previous owner, Vodyanar, a demon. He doesn’t have it, but Middy does obtain a bullet from the gun. Afterwards, he is transported to hell, where the Lords of the Gun willingly lead him to the Mawzir. They’ve broken the Ace of Winchesters; there’s nothing that can harm them now. A tough fight follows, since Midnighter can’t use his enhancements or fight computer in hell, but he defeats the Mawzir by piercing the bullet from the Ace of Winchester through his skull.
Meanwhile, Neron has been debating with Apollo; trying to convince him he belongs in hell, to break his will and get Apollo to give away his soul willingly. Apollo offers a bet: if Neron can answer one question correctly, he earns his soul. “Why does Apollo really calls himself Apollo?” Neron thinks it is because Apollo considers himself a God, thinks he deserves more power. We don’t know if he guessed right… and by the time Midnighter reaches Neron, he’s captured Apollo’s soul.
Midnighter and Neron fight, and Midnighter unleashes the full power of his spell and defeats Neron. However, it takes seven minutes, so his body breaks fully. Then the terrible truth comes to light: Neron had guessed wrong, so he had set Apollo free; Midnighter was fighting for an illusion, and he never defeated Neron. Apollo comes to the rescue, and Neron promised to let him go, so he leaves them. However, all of Apollo and Midnighter’s victims reunite to stop them. The fly away, reaching the portal to escape seconds after it closes. Apollo and Midnighter have succesfully kicked the devil’s ass.
Days later, Midnighter moves in with Apollo, but he gives him a speech about how he’ll never stop killing. He can’t change. But Apollo disagrees; he’ll never stop trying to bring Middy into the light.
Next: “Dark Knights Rising – The Wild Hunt” issue 1, written by Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison, James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson.