Marvel Comics has a wide bench of supernatural-themed heroes, and over the years, many of them have come together time and again under the banner of the team known as the Midnight Sons.
Comprised of heroes such as Doctor Strange, Ghost Rider, Blade, and Morbius, with other characters including Daimon Hellstrom, Man-Thing, Moon Knight, and more coming into their ranks over the years, the Midnight Sons remain Marvel's premier line of defense against the darkest supernatural and occult threats the Multiverse has to offer, even in their long periods of dormancy.
Now, Marvel has partnered with XCOM video game developers Firaxis to launch Midnight Suns, a game based on the general concept of a supernatural team of Marvel Heroes, but this time incorporating some of Marvel's best-known non-supernatural characters given their own magical twists.
The game features a roster of Marvel heroes including Wolverine, Captain America, Iron Man, Magik, Doctor Strange, Blade, and Ghost Rider as they unite to take on the "monstrous shadows of the Marvel Universe" in tactical, turn-based combat.
Now that Marvel and Firaxis are bringing together a team of tactical supernatural heroes under the banner Midnight Suns for the game, now available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, it's time to gaze into our crystal ball and reveal the mysteries of the comic book Midnight Sons team.
Who are the Midnight Sons?
The Midnight Sons are one of Marvel's oddest superhero teams. Less a team of tightly connected allies like the Avengers and more a loose collective of heroes who come together for specific goals when the need arises, the Midnight Sons became something of Marvel's go-to occult experts in the '90s.
The Midnight Sons came together under the guidance of Doctor Strange, who was also the organizer of the similar, loosely associated 'non-team' the Defenders. In the story Spirits of Vengeance: Rise of the Midnight Sons (opens in new tab), which lends its inspiration directly to the Midnight Suns game, Strange uncovers the burgeoning threat of the demonic Lilith and her monstrous children the Lilin, along with a prophecy of nine supernatural heroes who must unite to defeat her.
Strange organizes those nine heroes - Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze (then in human form), Ghost Rider Danny Ketch (the Spirit of Vengeance at the time), Blade the vampire hunter, Morbius the Living Vampire, anti-Darkhold mage Victoria Montesi, human occultist Louise Hastings, exorcist/soldier Sam Buchanan, Dracula's descendant Frank Drake, and vampiric private investigator Hannibal King - as the Midnight Sons to take on Lilith and her brood of Lilin before they can spread their demonic influence across the Earth.(opens in new tab)
In Marvel Comics terms, Lilith is adapted from the apocryphal character of the same name from early Judaic writings. As in the Bible-adjacent stories from which she originates, Marvel's Lilith claims to be the first wife of Adam, the first human created by God in Judeo-Christian theology, though in Marvel Comics she purports that she and Adam are survivors of a much more hedonistic world that was destroyed before the Marvel Universe was created.
However, this is debatable in the Marvel Universe, as her true nature is shrouded in mystery thanks to several conflicting origin stories. What remains consistent across these varying tales of Lilith's is that she became the consort of a demon - in some tellings, the prominent villain Mephisto - and bore many monstrous children who became known as the Lilin.
Though her initial attempt to bring her demonic brood to Earth was thwarted by the Midnight Sons, Lilith would continue to be their primary nemesis through most of the team's existence, even going on to team up with Zarathos, the infernal entity who empowers Ghost Rider as the Spirit of Vengeance, and bearing his child.
The Midnight Sons in the Marvel Universe
Throughout their initial run in the anthology title Midnight Sons Unlimited (opens in new tab), the team's roster mostly focuses around the Nine, the heroes initially gathered to fight Lilith. However, the inclusion of diametrically opposed characters such as the vampires Hannibal King and Morbius alongside Blade the vampire hunter meant that the loosely organized team was often at each other's throats (sometimes literally, what with the vampirism and all), even while working against the greater threat of Lilith.
Aside from the initial Midnight Sons collective, organized by Doctor Strange, there have been a few other incarnations of the team over the years. In the story Marvel Zombies 4 (opens in new tab), Morbius gathers Hellstrom, Man-Thing, Werewolf By Night, and the witch Jennifer Kale as a new Midnight Sons to prevent the incursion of undead Marvel heroes from the Marvel Zombies universe, a world overrun by a zombie disease as implied by the name.
(Incidentally, the Marvel Zombies universe has been shown in trailers to be one of the worlds that will appear in the current MCU animated streaming show What If...?).(opens in new tab)
Following the destruction of the city of Las Vegas, Nevada in the story Civil War II (opens in new tab), Doctor Strange attempts to resurrect the razed location through magic - but inadvertently opens the door to Hell in the process, allowing Mephisto to take demonic possession of Strange and several other Marvel heroes who are on the scene.
As a result, Strange's companion Wong and his talking, astral dog Bats bring together a new team of Midnight Sons consisting of classic Midnight Sons member Blade, Moon Knight in his 'Mr. Knight' guise, the monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone, one-time Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Voodoo, the mutated Multiversal guardian the Man-Thing, martial arts master Iron Fist, and finally Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider as the team's leader.
That story, 2018's Doctor Strange: Damnation (opens in new tab), marked the last major adventure of the Midnight Sons in Marvel Comics, though the cult-favorite team remains on the minds of fans of the publisher's supernatural wing, reader and creator alike.(opens in new tab)
However, in 2022, Marvel Comics launched a new version of the team named the Midnight Suns, taking up the spelling from the game along with some of the concept, by adding characters like Wolverine and Magik to the roster alongside several other mainstays of the original Midnight Sons team.
Alongside the new ongoing comic book title, Midnight Suns the game is now out - just in time for the team's 30th anniversary - and key characters such as Doctor Strange and Blade are either already in the MCU or set to be adapted by Marvel Studios.
Original Midnight Sons members Ghost Rider and Doctor Strange are two of the best supernatural superheroes of all time.