Written by Tim Seeley and Tom King.
Midnighter is on leave from Stormwatch after breaking up with Apollo. As it turned out, Lucas wasn’t Midnighter’s real name; he just made it up to feel closer to Apollo, who had an alter ego. Andrew felt lied to, and so the relationship ended.
Now Midnighter is working for the person who took away his name, his past, his everything: The Gardener, an old lady in charge of the God Garden, a refugee for freaks, for monsters made by men. The Gardener hires Midnighter to collect the superpower enhancing organs of Paragon, a metahuman that exploded during mysterious circumstances. It’s not clear, but it’s implied Paragon was destroyed in a fight against Midnighter where he lost. He can see everything before it happens and all he’s gotta do is pick the right option — so when he doesn’t, it plays over and over in his head, haunting his dreams. He needs to fix the Paragon situation, and that’s why he’s working with the Gardener to retrieve his organs. But another organisation is after them: Spyral, because Paragon absorbed the powers of the Justice League and contains their DNA; obtaining them could be the key to revealing the Justice League’s secret identities.
Acting under the codename Black Oak, Midnighter heads to Russia to collect one of Paragon’s organs; this time an implant belonging to Justice League member Cyborg. It has been implanted in a man named Ninel Budov, but The Gardener is not the only group after it — there’s also Russian intelligence and Spyral, employing agent Dick Grayson, ex-Robin. Midnighter and Grayson fight, but before either one can get serious Ninel blasts Midnighter away using Paragon’s powers. At the end of the day, Spyral gets the prize. Midnighter is frustated that he can’t recognise his enemy agent — Spyral employs tech that makes it so that nobody can look at their agent’s faces and focus; their faces always look scrambled.
During agent Grayson’s second mission he pursues Paragon’s stomach, which provides the Flash’s super-speed. It has been implanted in an ex-agent of T.H.E.Y., the British secret intelligence. Grayson follows her to a bomb shelter full of old espionage uniforms; among them we can see Nemesis’ costume. Grayson retrieves the organ. In his third mission he retrieves Paragon’s eyes, derived from Aquaman.
Afterwards, Midnighter is interrogating someone to find out the location of the next organ: Paragon’s Heart, derived from Superman. Apollo shows up, saying the man doesn’t know – and Midnighter lets the man fall to his death. He knows Apollo will catch him, and Apollo knows Midnighter will be gone by the time he gets back. Midnighter later finds the Heart implanted within a woman giving birth. He’s in a chopper with agents Grayson and Bertinelli from Spyral — but an A.R.G.U.S. aircraft hits them with an E.M.P. and the chopper goes down in the desert. The woman with the heart dies giving birth, and the heart ends up with her baby. The three agents and the baby begin to walk in the desert with barely any supplies or hopes of surviving. On the second day of walking Midnighter proposes the unthinkable — killing the baby and using his heart to power themselves. The EMP took down Spyral’s technologies, so he can see Grayson’s face now and he recognises him. However, Grayson won’t listen to him. On the third day Bertinelli falls — and Midnighter promises Grayson he’ll oulast them with his enhancements and then take the baby. Even when Midnighter tries arguing that Spyral will kill the baby anyway, all he gets is a beating from Grayson. Midnighter keeps saying they should just fight for the baby, and he keeps saying it until he finally falls on the seventh day. But Grayson keeps walking. On the tenth day he finally falls, but he’s found by a family who had been praying for a baby. Everyone is rescued, but they report they found the heart dead — and they give the baby to the family; it is very much like Superman’s origin.
Later, Grayson attempts to capture Paragon’s brain, derived from Martain Manhunter, on the island of Gageo-Do. He’s intercepted by Midnighter, who can’t see Grayson’s face, but he can recognise that ass anywhere. Using a Door, Midnighter takes Grayson to the God Garden. He holds a grudge against Grayson because he keeps getting the organs first; Midnighter wants them off the hands of Spyral, which he considers the bad guys. He reveals he researched Grayson; he memorized all his moves and figured out he was the superhero Nightwing. Also, he used the Garden’s medical facilities to remove Grayson’s hypnotizing technology and install it in himself. Meanwhile, Agent Bertinelli finds out the brain is in possession of the First of Cain, and they want to use it to turn a crowd murderous at a rally for peace. Midnighter continues his beating of Grayson, saying he’ll reverse-engineer his technology, find his base and shut down Spyral. But Grayson activates a subliminal post-hypnotic suggestion on Midnighter’s Spyral tech, knocking him out. Grayson is found by the Gardener, who reveals Midnighter was her “first child” and that Paragon was created to destroy her. She informs Grayson of the First of Cain’s plans, but she leaves him trapped behind glass like an animal. She wants the incident to happen, to serve as a lesson to humanity. It will help end the artificial superhuman arms race she has fought to contain all these years. Spyral uploads the information into Midnighter’s implant, and he tries to summon a door and stop the Fist of Cain. Using a moving speech, Grayson manages to change the Gardener’s mind, and she teleports the boys to the peace rally. They arrive too late to stop the brain from being used, but they work together to stop the killing, with Grayson stopping Midnighter from being lethal.
After saving the day, Midnighter decides he can’t be like Grayson – he can’t work for a morally compromised boss. He can see the future, and he sees a better world isn’t coming with the Gardener. They part ways.
Next: “Midnighter” Vol 2 issues 1 – 7, written by Steve Orlando.