Nightwing: New Order #1
Written By: Kyle Higgens
Pencilled By: Trevor McCarthy
Inked By: Trevor McCarthy
Coloured By: Dean White
Cover By: Trevor McCarthy
Nothing, really. It’s an alternate universe. But even in the Elsewords, Dick Grayson is the emotional heart of the DC universe; son of Batman, inspired by Superman, with the heart of Wonder Woman. And when taking down a universe, no one has a better opportunity than the heart itself.
We’re greeted by building up to a massacre; the likes of Superman impaled on devastated city streets through metal poles, the Flash and Green Lantern sprawled out in pain, and many more fallen but seemingly alive heroes to follow. A calm and slightly bloodied Nightwing informs everyone that help is coming, and that this is going to hurt for a while. When asked why he did this by Superman himself, Dick says that while sorry, he had to save the world. We cut forward twelve years to an older Dick in police garb running through the streets, chasing a frantic Arthur Light as he reminds him that he broke the law, and that he can give himself up any moment. As Dick captures him and puts him in cuffs, we get narration from Dick’s son talking about how the world changed, and how terribly Dick changed it. Dick took down 90As Dick explains to Doctor Light his rights, we cut to Dick giving a press conference, discussing the suppressants that all metas are required to take by law to repress their powers, and how Light willingly disobeyed authority and knew what was coming to him. Dick meets with a few of his officers in the Crusaders Headquarters, where his employees nag at him for putting himself in the field too often, when he’s supposed to be the one keeping their law enforcement together. We see a news flash over on a facility that was producing suppressants being destroyed, as Dick’s son narrates about how Nightwing was a lot of things to a lot of people, but became a traitor when he had to do whatever it was he did.
When Dick gets home, he’s greeted by an old friend; Alfred, visiting from retirement to help make dinner with Dick’s son, Jake. Dick and Alfred catch up as Jake talks about the typical school drama, and Dick sends him up to finish his homework after he wolfs down his meal. We found out Alfred wasn’t that happy about what Dick had to do or what Dick’s currently doing; using his position to enforce laws to suppress abilities that naturally occur in people, while Dick remains steadfast on being confident in his decisions. We get a little tease of Jake’s mother, only being told that she’s out of the picture, and Dick doesn’t care to talk about it. When Alfred turns the conversation to putting particularly powerful metas in stasis as deterrent, Dick reminds Alfred of how much everyone lost from ‘the incident’ that made Dick do what he had to do, and Alfred reminds Dick that even in that situation, he doesn’t understand why things had to go the way they did.
Dick goes up to talk with Jake before he goes to sleep, and Jake asks again about why Dick did what he did, and Dick tells him that you have to make the hardest decisions about the people you care for the most. Dick meets with the Crusaders at the vandalized facility the next day, finding residual energy waves that show the one culprit of found their site: Wally West. The issue wraps down with Dick being called to Jake’s junior high by one of his teachers, as Jake narrates that everyone knows where this story is going. A hero who was the heart of the community, making the hardest decisions of his life would have to face one more, as the teacher opens the door, and Dick sees his son with a red, Psylocke-esque aura around his head- a metahuman.
Reed Strong’s Strong Read:
Kyle Higgins is a guy who has a lot of experience with Nightwing and Dick Grayson, both through the first New 52 Nightwing series, and the character’s exposure in Batman Beyond 2.0. With what we have to look at so far in Nightwing: The New Order, Dick seems to be himself. It’s an Elseworlds story and certainly a dark one, but Dick Grayson is always a character who has been about benefit. He’s well-adjusted, knows what he has to do for his city; and when presented with whatever situation lead him to depowering ninety perecent of the world’s metas, it’s believable that Dick would follow through on the mission. It’s a difficult time to write a story about an empowered regime taking down a particular group, but especially with the scene of Dick and Alfred not remotely being on the same level with what Dick had to do, it’s an interesting start to lead through the rest of whatever we get in this what-if. Dean White and Clayton Cowles give the book a very pleasing dystopic-future style, strongly defining an identifiable Dick Grayson, but allowing him the wear of age, and the ways he holds himself that show this is someone who’s been through some of the toughest challenges in his life more than usual, with more to come. The particular premise of metas as the target rings true to many an X-Men story, and Dick’s attitude of somewhat scorned but firm recognition of what he did should help this story stick to its roots, and find out how Dick Grayson made his choice.