|The Midnight Sons|
|First appearance||Ghost Rider (vol. 3) #28 (August 1992)|
|Base(s)||Cypress Hills Cemetery|
Werewolf by Night
The group was also at one point stated to be the successors to an earlier group, which was never actually seen except in occasional flashbacks, and thus can be considered the second group to be named as the Order of the Midnight Sons.
They appeared in several 1990s multi-issue crossovers of Marvel's supernatural titles. The first, "Rise of the Midnight Sons", launched several books in the Midnight Sons line, including Morbius, Nightstalkers, and Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins.
They also appeared in the nine-issue anthology comic book Midnight Sons Unlimited, which ran from April 1993 to May 1995.
Their final crossover was the seventeen-part "Siege of Darkness" which ran from December 1993 to January 1994. It was featured in two consecutive issues of each Midnight Sons title as well as four issues of Marvel Comics Presents (#143-146), and two issues of Doctor Strange, a title that was newly included in the line. It was advertised with an eight page insert in several comics in October, November, and December 1993. According to the text of the advertisement, written by Jeffrey Lee Simmons, "For the first time in the history of Marvel, one of our family groups is getting its own distinct family imprint and cover treatment. On the outside of the books, this means all titles in the family will share a new cover symbol, the Midnight Sons dagger as well as similar cover treatments. Inside, the Midnight Sons titles will have stronger continuity, making for a more exciting, tightly knit sub-section of the Marvel Universe." The advertisement also claims the Midnight Sons is the "first distinct family group." However, "Siege of Darkness" marked the cancellation of Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins, and the Midnight Sons brand didn’t last much longer. Nightstalkers only lasted three more issues. A Blade and Blaze series failed to catch interest. The Midnight Sons logo was eventually dropped from the remaining titles, cover-dated September 1994, although Morbius, Blade, Blaze, Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider (vol. 3), Marvel Comics Presents and the final three issues of Midnight Sons Unlimited continued on under the normal Marvel logo.
Fictional team biography
Rise of the Midnight Sons
The team was formed by the Ghost Rider and Johnny Blaze after Ghost Rider received a vision in which he learned that Lilith, Mother of Demons (not Dracula's daughter, another Marvel character of the same name) was being resurrected and posed a great threat. She planned to use her demon children, the Lilin, to take over Earth. Though Lilith had many children, she had four children who were very loyal to her. Their names were Pilgrim, Nakota, Meatmarket, and the most powerful of the four, Blackout, Ghost Rider's old enemy (Blackout was not an actual child of Lilith originally, but rather a grandchild. He was later killed and Lilith gave birth to Blackout along with her other children, thus indeed making him one of her actual children). Though she would have a lot more children help her, the rest had forsaken Lilith. After she was imprisoned, many of the Lilin were either scattered or killed. Those who were scattered forgot the ways of Lilith and moved on with their lives, except Lilith's most faithful servants.
The team consisted of the Nightstalkers (Blade, Frank Drake and Hannibal King); Morbius the Living Vampire; the Spirits of Vengeance (Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch), Johnny Blaze, and later Vengeance (Michael Badilino); and the Darkhold Redeemers (Sam Buchanan, Victoria Montesi, Louise Hastings, and later Modred and Jinx). While secretly assembling the team and the sub-teams within, from behind the scenes, Doctor Strange didn't officially join the team until the Siege of Darkness storyline.
The second major meeting between the Midnight Sons occurred when Blade, with a page from the Darkhold, became the demonic creature Switchblade. He killed most of the Midnight Sons, subsequently taking on the power and weapons of each. He was finally stopped when Louise Hastings used a counter spell from the Darkhold.
Siege of Darkness
The “Siege of Darkness” consisted of two subsequent stories in which the Midnight Sons fought groups connected with the two major villains, Lilith and Zarathos. In the first story arc, covers were black with vague outlines, and the Midnight Sons fought the Lilin who were invading the earth in a mysterious smoke emanating from Cypress Hills Cemetery. Lilin included in this arc include Bad Timing, Martine Bancroft, Blackout, Dark Legion, Meatmarket, Nakota, Outcast, Pilgrim, Sister Nil, Stonecold, and Bloodthirst, who was possessing Morbius. In the second story arc, covers featured a dripping blood design, and the Midnight Sons fought The Fallen, a group loyal to Zarathos. The Fallen include Atrocity, Embyrre, Metarchus, Patriarch, and Salomé.
At the beginning of the story, Ghost Rider and Blaze tell The Nightstalkers, The Darkhold Redeemers, and Morbius that they have killed Lilith and Zarathos. The Nightstalkers, who are skeptical, investigate but find mist containing Lilin now emanating from Cypress Hills Cemetery. As the other Midnight Sons join the fight, they discover that, instead of killing Lilith and Zarathos, Ghost Rider and Blaze have opened a portal to Shadowside where the Lilin had been exiled. They split into two groups, one led by Ghost Rider and one led by Morbius. Caretaker, Doctor Strange and Vengeance also join the fight. Caretaker claims Zarathos is more powerful and they must protect the Medallion of Power. Doctor Strange teleports Ghost Rider’s group to his Sanctum Sanctorum. They find out from some Lilin that Morbius’ team has a traitor. The team following Morbius, which includes Louise Hastings, hide out in one of Morbius’ old labs. Louise Hastings finds out Morbius has been infected by Lilin blood, and Morbius secretly kills her. Morbius has been taken over by the Lilin Bloodthirst. He then requests entry into Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum. Unaware that Morbius has been possessed, Doctor Strange allows him to enter which allows other Lilin to follow. Doctor Strange convinces Morbius to fight the control of Bloodthirst. Doctor Strange then casts a spell that causes the Sanctum Sanctorum to explode. The Spirits of Vengeance then confront Lilith and Zarathos in Cypress Hills Cemetery and use the Medallion of Power to send Lilith and the Lilin back to Shadowside. The Medallion of Power disappears.
After Lilith is exiled, it appears as if a group called The Fallen, loyal to Zarathos, has returned from exile. The Fallen are an offshoot of The Blood, the group to which Caretaker belongs. The Fallen left The Blood to follow the wizard Zarathos. The Fallen quickly beat the Midnight Sons and take Caretaker captive. The Midnight Sons regroup at The Nightclub, and Caretaker sends a message that The Fallen plan to recruit or kill surviving members of The Blood. The Midnight Sons then find James Raydar, Patriarch and Truthsayer with varying degrees of success; Patriarch joins Zarathos, Truthsayer is killed by Modred, and James Raydar joins the Midnight Sons along with Embyrre, Raydar’s daughter and one of The Fallen who turns against Zarathos when she sees Morbius’ nobility. Meanwhile, Victoria Montesi finds out that she has been impregnated with Chthon. Doctor Strange helps her just as he is being attacked by Salomé, one of The Fallen, who claims she is the rightful Sorceress Supreme. Doctor Strange disappears into another dimension and places Victoria Montesi in a mystical stasis. In his place appears Strange, a mystical construct Doctor Strange based loosely on himself. Strange joins the rest of the Midnight Sons in the fight against The Fallen. Ghost Rider confronts Zarathos one on one, and Ghost Rider is apparently destroyed and his power absorbed into Zarathos. The Midnight Sons then fight Patriarch, Metarchus, and Atrocity to a standstill, and the Fallen retreat. Caretaker reveals that there is one more member of The Blood they haven’t contacted, Foundry. The Midnight Sons track down Foundry who gives them a sword called Justiciar. She claims it must be tempered in her own blood and sacrifices herself. Blade then uses Justiciar to kill Patriarch, Metarchus and Atrocity with the help of the other Midnight Sons. They believe the destruction of The Fallen will weaken Zarathos. They attack Zarathos directly. Embyrre and James Raydar also attack and are killed. Ghost Rider, whose spirit was absorbed by Zarathos, now apparently attacks him from within and Blade stabs Zarathos with Justiciar. Zarathos, with the sword through his chest, turns to stone. Johnny Blaze, Vengeance, Morbius, Blade, Hannibal King, Strange, and Caretaker then go through a ceremony in which they are branded with the symbol of the flaming dagger. Caretaker says they have become the successors to the original 'Order of the Midnight Sons' This brand is placed on the arms of all the members of the new team aside from Frank Drake, a member of the Nightstalkers and a human descendant of Dracula and the Ghost Rider who had apparently been destroyed. Drake was disallowed from taking the brand due to his relative normalcy compared to the other members who were supernaturally afflicted and destined to be outsiders. He was allowed, however, to be an associate member.
The Ghost Rider eventually returned, but it seems Marvel never intended to reveal whether or not the Rider had accepted the brand. The brand appears and causes pain to the bearer of the brand whenever there is great danger to the world, and the brand would continue to cause pain until the bearers of the brand answered the summons. With the disappearance of Noble Kale (Ghost Rider), as well as Michael Badilino (Vengeance), it seemed the idea was dropped entirely and no other mentioning of the Midnight Sons has been made. Most of the members of the team have since faded back into obscurity.
Originally consisting of "The Nine," (and once referred to as "The Circle of Nine") mystical characters necessary to maintain the magical borders between realms, the team stopped Lilith and became what was to be the Marvel Universe's primary line of defense against magical and mystical threats. Lilith is still at large, though she has only been seen once (in Witches), since the apparent demise of Zarathos. At one point, she claimed to be pregnant with a child of Zarathos himself, but her single subsequent appearance showed no signs of this pregnancy. However, even when claiming to be pregnant with Zarathos' child, she did not show signs of the pregnancy. So she may still be pregnant, or may have already given birth.
Although it has never been officially stated by Marvel, the motto or perhaps credo of the group was 'to bring light to the darkness', as said by the mysterious Caretaker, a member of an ancient race called The Blood. Caretaker is apparently phenomenally old and may or may not have known the original Order of the Midnight Sons, as he claims. "The Order has a long history. Not all of it clean. But always on the right side." He also claimed to have known an older version of the Ghost Rider. It is highly unlikely that he was speaking of Zarathos, so the Noble Kale version is likely the most logical version to assume he knew, possibly from before the Rider's memories were sealed away, or perhaps just after it, as he claims the Ghost Rider he knew was much more powerful than the one that was active at that period of time. Kale did grow in power towards the end of the series in which he starred, as he began to remember older powers he possessed (such as those that could affect the undead), which can be viewed as lending support to the idea that it was in fact this version of the Rider whom Caretaker claimed to have known.
A new Midnight Sons team is sanctioned by A.R.M.O.R., a government agency that monitors and polices alternate realities from Earth-616. The team is chosen by Morbius, who enlists Daimon "Hellstorm" Hellstrom (aka; the Son of Satan), Jennifer Kale, Man-Thing, and Werewolf by Night to contain the zombie virus outbreak from further spreading into the 616 universe. The team makes a brief appearance at the end of Marvel Zombies 3 and fully appears in Marvel Zombies 4.
- Rise of the Midnight Sons
- Ghost Rider Vol. 3 #28 (Part 1)
- Spirits of Vengeance #1 (part 2)
- Morbius: The Living Vampire #1 (Part 3)
- Darkhold #1 (Part 4)
- Nightstalkers #1 (Part 5)
- Ghost Rider Vol. 3 #31 (Part 6)
- Midnight Massacre
- Nightstalkers #10 (Part 1)
- Ghost Rider Vol. 3 #40 (Part 2)
- Darkhold #11 (Part 3)
- Morbius: The Living Vampire #12 (Part 4)
- Spirits of Vengeance #13 (Part 5)
- Road To Vengeance: Missing Link
- Ghost Rider Vol. 3 #41 (Part 1)
- Spirits of Vengeance #14 (Part 2)
- Ghost Rider Vol. 3 #42 (Part 4)
- Spirits of Vengeance #15 (Part 5)
- Ghost Rider Vol. 3 #43 (Part 6)
- Spirits of Vengeance #16 (Part 7)
- Siege of Darkness
- Nightstalkers #14 (Part 1)
- Ghost Rider Vol. 3 #44 (Part 2)
- Marvel Comics Presents #143 (Part 3)
- Darkhold #15 (Part 4)
- Morbius: The Living Vampire #16 (Part 5)
- Marvel Comics Presents #144 (Part 6)
- Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #60 (Part 7)
- Spirits of Vengeance #17 (Part 8)
- Nightstalkers #15 (Part 9)
- Ghost Rider Vol. 3 #45 (Part 10)
- Marvel Comics Presents #145 (Part 11)
- Darkhold #16 (Part 12) Final Issue of the Series
- Morbius: The Living Vampire #17 (Part 13)
- Marvel Comics Presents #146 (Part 14)
- Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #61 (Part 15)
- Spirits of Vengeance #18 (Part 16)
- Midnight Sons Unlimited #4 (Part 17)
- Rise of the Midnight Sons (Ghost Rider Vol. 3 #28, 31; Spirits of Vengeance #1, Morbius: The Living Vampire #1Darkhold #1, Nightstalkers #1)
- Midnight Sons line at the Comic Book DB
- For example, X-Factor #97 (vol. 1) (Dec. 1993)
- Ekstrom, Steve (March 31, 2009). "Back for Four: Fred Van Lente on Marvel Zombies 4". Newsarama. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
- Nightstalkers (vol. 1) #14 (Dec. 1993)
- Ghost Rider (vol. 2) #44 (Dec. 1993)
- Marvel Comics Presents (vol. 1) #143 (Early December 1993)
- Darkhold (vol. 1) #15 (Dec. 1993)
- Morbius: The Living Vampire (vol. 1) #16 (Dec. 1993)
- Doctor Strange (vol. 3) #60 (Dec. 1993)
- Spirits of Vengeance (vol. 1) #17 (Dec. 1993)
- Nightstalkers (vol. 1) #15 (Jan. 1994)
- Ghost Rider (vol. 2) #45 (Jan. 1994)
- Darkhold (vol. 1) #16 (Jan. 1994)
- Morbius: The Living Vampire (vol. 1) #17 (Jan. 1994)
- Marvel Comics Presents (vol. 1) #145 (Early January 1994)
- Doctor Strange (vol. 3) #60
- Spirits of Vengeance (vol. 1) #18 (Jan. 1994)
- Midnight Sons Unlimited (vol. 1) #4 (Jan. 1994)
- Rise of the Midnight Sons at the Comic Book DB
- Midnight Massacre at the Comic Book DB
- Siege of Darkness at the Comic Book DB
- Midnight Sons Unlimited at the Comic Book DB