Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Trevor McCarthy
Colors: Dean White
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Better late than never, but I just finished the first issue of this Nightwing Elseworld-esque series and had to give my thoughts.
As Marvel recently found out, taking a kind-hearted and beloved character and turning them into a fascist analog doesn’t always sit well with fans. But Nightwing: The New Order is a different type of beast altogether. It feels far too personal to be an event, yet it puts Dick Grayson on a bigger stage than he’s ever been. The methodical pacing and steady stream of revelations makes the first issue of this mini-series a fascinating read.
The story takes place in a future timeline where superpowers are outlawed. Dick Grayson leads his police force called “crusaders,” in suppressing metahuman superpowers. In the opening panels we see Nightwing twelve years in the past with a weapon, looking over a bloodied Superman. What lead to Nightwing detonating a bomb that takes superpowers away is never fully explained but the event clearly weighs on his conscience throughout the issue. It doesn’t make seeing Grayson casually force superpower suppressants on someone any easier to read, even though it’s a super villain who he was forcing it on.
The dinner with Alfred and Dick’s son Jake leads to more questions than answers, but it’s the intimate moments that really made this comic shine. Rather than starting off by throwing readers straight into the fire, this story kicks off as a slow-burn with subtle hints at what had happened to Batman and the other superheroes along the way. Writer Kyle Higgins understands exactly what makes Nightwing so great, it’s Dick’s compassion and empathy for others. No one would easily accept Dick going super cop so easily, instead we are being brought along slowly to see what he has become before revealing what got him there in the first place. Nightwing appears to be going against his nature yet the story stays true to the character in a bizzare heartbreaking way. It just makes what forced his hand all the more interesting a revelation.
Trevor McCarthy was born to draw Nightwing. Though this issue lacks a big fight scene, each panel was drawn beautifully. Each page had different and creative panel designs that kept the story exciting despite being so dialogue driven. The older versions of characters looked amazing, and the crusaders look like they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with. A Higgins and McCarthy team-up is exactly what Nightwing fans needed. The colors were surprisingly dark for such a bright character. It makes sense given the tone of story an older beaten Dick Grayson, but it feels very Batman.
Nightwing: The New Order #1 is an intelligent and gripping “what if” story that features wonderful artwork. This is a must read for any Batman or Nightwing fans.