This futuristic tale takes us to an alternative reality in a world without superheroes, where Dick Grayson AKA Nightwing leads a government task force known as the Crusaders. Dick and the Crusaders are charged with policing meta humans with powers and hunting down any who resist!
NIGHTWING: THE NEW ORDER is the story of a future world without “weapons”–where superpowers have been eliminated and outlawed. The man responsible? None other than Dick Grayson, a.k.a. Nightwing, now leader of a government task force called the Crusaders who are charged with hunting the remaining Supers. But when events transpire which turn the Crusaders’ aim toward Grayson’s own family, the former Boy Wonder must turn against the very system he helped create, with help from the very people he’s been hunting for years–the last metahumans of the DC Universe. Don’t miss this bold new vision from the team behind the New York Times bestseller BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM!
What’s the skinny?
The story opens with a flashback to twelve years earlier from the current time, 2028 in the ruined husk of Metropolis. A battle of epic proportions has taken place and due to the actions Dick has taken Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and countless other heroes and villains lie dead or close to it. We don’t know exactly what Dick did or how he did it, but it’s clear that whatever he did has robbed nearly all meta humans of their powers and saved the world from destruction.
Jumping ahead in time to present day 2040 in Gotham City, we find Dick has retired as Nightwing and now commands a government task force, The Crusaders. It’s now illegal in the United States to possess meta human abilities, so those that naturally do are required to take doses of inhibitor meds that keep their powers dormant. Of course there are those who refuse and this is where the Crusaders come into play. The inhibitor meds aren’t perfect either, so if meds and the Crusaders can’t handle the problem, a stasis pod awaits.
Dick has become a hero to the people of Gotham and is adored by seemingly everyone he meets. In addition to being idolized by the public he’s also the father of Jake, a young teenage boy struggling through adolescence. It’s in Jake that we find our unexpected narrator and focus of the story’s big twist.
What’s the catch?
The only thing that caught my critical eye was Dick’s face. Between some of the panels my perception of his age was jumping up and down the years a bit too much. Trevor McCarthy’s work here is exceptional, so it’s a minor gripe.
Is it good?
McCarthy’s presentation of a dark future devoid of all our favorite super heroes is truly fantastic. It’s difficult to pick one element of his art to focus on because there’s so much going on that you can enjoy. From start to finish there’s a use of strong lines and dark overcast colors which compliment the story’s somber theme. The cover reminded me of a wartime propaganda poster from Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany. My favorite panel though is on page eight where we see the skyscrapers of Gotham city overlooking a lower level and seemingly much poorer section of the city. The progress that those of the higher levels of society have pushed for, is ultimately impacting those at the lowest levels the most and it isn’t pleasant.
Higgins’ story instantly reminded me of Watchmen and as with Moore’s world, Higgins’ isn’t black and white. We don’t know exactly what happened to put the US government and Dick Grayson on a course to outlaw and suppress all meta humans, but there’s a very clear and strong sense that society is united in its disdain for them. There’s a brilliant scene between Alfred and Dick where Alfred tries to talk to Dick about the injustice of forcing people to suppress something that’s natural to them. Without a doubt this is a clear parallel to many of the issues facing our society today and I’m happy to see a writer who can insert this type of message without it being forced and unrelated to the story.
This was a fantastic start to Higgins’ six issue elseworld-esque story and I’m greatly looking forward to seeing what McCarthy can whip up once the action really gets rolling. The plot twist is exciting and guarantees to challenge Dick Grayson’s convictions, morals and the core of who he believes himself to be. The partnership between Higgins and McCarthy promises a six-issue series that you won’t want to miss.