Meet the Midnight Suns, the Supernatural Protectors of the Marvel Universe
Who are the Midnight Suns? Read on to learn more about this team of supernatural heroes, who have protected the Marvel Universe from demons, zombies, and more.
Heroes like the Avengers and the Fantastic Four may have saved the world countless times, but some threats require a darker kind of hero. When monstrous supernatural forces threaten the Marvel Universe, the Midnight Suns rise to save the day. Across the team’s incarnations, the Midnight Suns have brought together fierce heroes like Ghost Rider, Morbius, and Blade to tackle truly hellish threats.
To celebrate Ethan Sacks and Luigi Zagaria’s new MIDNIGHT SUNS (2022) series and to prepare for the release of Marvel’s Midnight Suns, a new tactical RPG by Firaxis Games and 2K, we’re taking a deep dive into the history of the Midnight Suns and what dark forces brought the team together.
RISE OF THE MIDNIGHT SONS
Shortly after Danny Ketch became a Ghost Rider, the Midnight Sons debuted in GHOST RIDER (1990) #28 by Howard Mackie, Andy Kubert, and Joe Kubert. In the “Rise of the Midnight Sons” storyline, Lilith, the Mother of Demons, and her demonic offspring, the Lilin, tried to take over the world and open a portal to Hell. When Doctor Strange and Ghost Rider realized her plan, both took steps to assemble the Midnight Sons, who were known as the Nine at the time.
Especially in this incarnation, the Midnight Sons were little more affiliates with a common cause instead of a traditional team. Since Doctor Strange couldn’t confront Lilith directly, Ghost Rider formed the group's core with Johnny Blaze, a former Spirit of Vengeance and his frequent partner. Strange recruited Morbius and Blade, and Blade’s vampire-hunting allies Frank Drake and Hannibal King joined the team too. The Midnight Sons also included Victoria Montesi, Louise Hastings, and Sam Buchanan, a group that was dedicated to tracking down the lost pages of the Darkhold in DARKHOLD: PAGES FROM THE BOOK OF SINS (1992).
After some scuffling with each other, the Midnight Sons fought the Lilin at a mystically significant site in Greenland known as “the land of the midnight sun.” When Lilith opened a portal to another dimension, Ghost Rider threw her into it head-first and defeated her.
MIDNIGHT MASSACRE AND THE SIEGE OF DARKNESS
Following the Midnight Sons’ first gathering, the supernatural heroes assembled once again to fight a corrupted version of Blade in 1993’s “Midnight Massacre” crossover event. After taking hold of one particularly powerful page from the Darkhold, Blade was transformed into Switchblade. With a relentless focus on wiping out all supernatural beings, Switchblade killed Demogoblin, Werewolf by Night, and several members of the Midnight Sons and absorbed their powers. However, Hastings was able to use the Darkhold to restore Blade’s true personality, then resurrect everyone he killed.
Although Lilith returned and teamed up with the ancient demon Zarathos, Ghost Rider and Blaze seemingly defeated them with help from Vengeance, a former villain who sold his soul to Mephisto to become another Spirit of Vengeance. However, this merely set the stage for 1994’s “Siege of Darkness” event.
When Ghost Rider and Blaze summoned the rest of the Midnight Sons to tell them about Lilith’s apparent defeat, the Lilin emerged from a mist that surrounded them. As the Lilin spread, Lilith and Zarathos revealed themselves and attacked the Midnight Sons, with one of the Lilin briefly turning Morbius against his allies. Other heroes like Devil-Slayer, Venom, Silver Sable, and the Scarlet Witch also had their own encounters with the Lilin as the mist spread.
With mystical help from the Caretaker, the Midnight Sons defeated Lilith and her children, but Zarathos continued his attack with the Fallen, an ancient group that was loyal to him. One of the Fallen was Salomé, a one-time Sorcerer Supreme who turned evil. When Salomé attacked in DOCTOR STRANGE, SORCERER SUPREME (1988) #61 by David Quinn and Melvin Borillo Rubi, a weakened Doctor Strange retreated and split his soul into the powerless Vincent Stevens and the masked Paradox, who was simply called Strange.
Together with Paradox and Vengeance, the Midnight Sons took on Zarathos, with Danny Ketch’s Ghost Rider seemingly sacrificing himself in the process. Blade ultimately struck the killing blow by stabbing Zarathos with the Justiciar sword, which turned the demon to stone. Blade, Johnny Blaze, Morbius, Strange, the Caretaker, Vengeance, and Hannibal King were officially named the new Order of the Midnight Sons, taking their name from a group that fought Zarathos centuries earlier. While Doctor Strange eventually returned in full and defeated Salomé, the Midnight Sons largely went their separate ways after this ordeal.
MIDNIGHT SONS VS. MARVEL ZOMBIES
Although many of the Midnight Sons continued to occasionally work together in the wake of “Siege of Darkness,” the team’s next major mission wouldn’t come until MARVEL ZOMBIES 4 (2009) by Fred Van Lente and Kev Walker. After helping to stop an invasion from the Marvel Zombies universe in MARVEL ZOMBIES 3 (2008), Morbius – working as a scientist for the interdimensional defense agency A.R.M.O.R. – assembled a new team of Midnight Sons to take on another zombie attack on Earth-616. This incarnation of the Midnight Sons featured an all-new lineup of supernatural heroes, including Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing, the exorcist Hellstorm, and sorceress Jennifer Kale.
After Simon Garth’s noble Zombie and the head of Zombie Deadpool were teleported to the bottom of the ocean, the zombified Wade Wilson infected several Mer-Men and the undersea villain Piranha, who attacked a nearby cruise ship. While the Midnight Sons responded to that attack, Garth took the so-called 'Headpool' to the island of the mystical Avengers villain Black Talon, who approached the Hood about using the zombie virus as a tool in his criminal empire. Eventually, Morbius’ anti-zombie vaccine backfired and created a killer airborne version of the zombie contagion that turned anyone caught in its deadly rain into a vicious zombie. After Hellstorm helped Kale exorcise Dormammu’s influence over her, she and Black Talon contained the zombie plague harmlessly within Garth as the Hood and the Midnight Sons took on the rest of the zombies.
Victoria Montesi eventually resurfaced as the leader of a new Order of the Midnight Sun in CARNAGE (2015) #6 by Gerry Conway and Mike Perkins. After Carnage took possession of the Darkhold, Montesi and her partner Yuvraj Singh worked with the Anti-Carnage Task Force to stop the symbiote serial killer from summoning the dark Elder God Chthon. Although Singh died, Montesi ultimately used the Darkhold to both defeat Chthon and separate Carnage from Cletus Kasady.
WONG’S MIDNIGHT SONS
In the wake of SECRET INVASION (2008), Mephisto set up a base at the Hotel Inferno in Las Vegas, where he corrupted the city’s residents and captured the souls of several Avengers. After Doctor Strange made a failed attempt to confront Mephisto directly and fell under his spell, Wong assembled a new team of Midnight Sons to save Strange and the city in DOCTOR STRANGE: DAMNATION (2018) #2 by Donny Cates, Nick Spencer, and Szymon Kudranski. Along with Strange’s ghost dog Bats, Wong brought Blade, Elsa Bloodstone, Iron Fist, Moon Knight, Doctor Voodoo, Man-Thing, and Johnny Blaze’s Ghost Rider together to take on Mephisto and the possessed Avengers. Once the group arrived in Vegas, Ben Reilly’s Scarlet Spider joined them to defend his adopted home.
As part of Wong’s plan, Ghost Rider confronted Mephisto, who immediately made the cursed hero human and killed him. But while Mephisto was busy in Vegas, Blaze usurped Mephisto’s underworld throne to become the King of Hell. With his new power and position, the former Ghost Rider freed the souls of the Avengers, which Strange used to strike the final blow against the weakened Mephisto. In the aftermath of this event, Strange kept Blade, Bloodstone, Moon Knight, and Voodoo together as a group to serve as a potential future Midnight Sons team.
The latest incarnation of the Midnight Suns just assembled for the first time in MIDNIGHT SUNS (2022) #1 by Ethan Sacks and Luigi Zagaria. As Blade gave a guest lecture to the mystical students of Strange Academy, everyone in the school was rocked by an apocalyptic vision involving student Zoe Laveau, a magician and living zombie. Since Wolverine was also in the vision, Magik immediately teleported him to Strange Academy, and her fellow instructors – Nico Minoru and Agatha Harkness – took on the ethereal shadow creatures that were targeting Zoe. Finally, Kushala the Spirit Rider, a former Ghost Rider and Sorcerer Supreme from the 1800s, raced to the school, where she declared Zoe to be under her protection.
While the heroes of MIDNIGHT SUNS successfully kept Zoe safe, Nico discovered the world would end in four days – and that Doctor Doom has his sights set on the Strange Academy student, too. Like the supernatural heroes that came before them, the Midnight Suns must now rise up to stop darkness from eclipsing the Marvel Universe.
Don't miss the new adventures of the Midnight Suns! Pick up MIDNIGHT SUNS (2022) #2, on sale October 19, and check out Marvel's Midnight Suns when it launches on Windows PC, Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5 starting December 2.
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