Nightwing: New Order #1 Review
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Trevor McCarthy
Colorist: Dean White
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics
A Review by Greg Brothers
Kyle Higgins has said in interviews leading up to the release of Nightwing: New Order #1 that despite what it might sound like, the book will not be DC’s version of Secret Empire, and Dick Grayson would not become Steve Rogers. There are similarities, so let’s get that out of the way right now. You have a hero who is loved by all, who turns their back to “save” the world. They both think what they are doing is needs to be done, despite how unpopular it makes them. That is where the similarities end, though. Where Secret Empire goes for shock value, Nightwing: New Order goes for depth and emotion.
The year is 2037 and the streets of Metropolis are in ruins as another battle has ended abruptly. Things are different this time, though, as heroes and villains lay unconscious through the streets while Nightwing claims he had to do something to save the world. Three years later, back in Gotham, the results of that fateful day have taken hold. In the United States, it is not illegal for Meta-Humans to use their power. A taskforce lead by the former Nightwing ensures the law is obeyed.
Sounds bleak, right? Honestly, it could have been, except for one important choice that Higgins made in telling the story. Instead of having Dick Grayson telling the story of that fateful day and the events that followed, Higgins chooses to have the story told by Dick Grayson’s son, who is about the age of a middle schooler. The narrative takes place in the form of young Jake Grayson’s diary entries. It’s important because the entries deal with that change from wide-eyed wonder and adoration of one’s parents to realizing that indeed they are human, and don’t always make choices that the child agrees with.
Having a child tell a story about his father has a greater impact and makes the story much more emotional. On one side, you can feel the adoration that Jake has for his father. At the same time, he is wondering why his father has made the choices he has made. It is something that makes the whole story feel grounded and adds to the reality of it.
I always worry about character designs in these elseworld, futuristic stories. Thankfully McCarthy eliminates those fears quickly. Dick Grayson is drawn in a way that reminds the reader that he’s older, but without being overdone. There are a few more wrinkles, the face a little rounder, and the body more filled out, but not fat. The colors and hues throughout set the mood, as bright colors shine throughout Metropolis and the typical blues and shadows engulf Gotham. The line work is sharp, and make the characters pop, while worry lines represent the stress and pressure engulfing our former boy wonder.
Buy it! Everything that has been done wrong over in another companies’ event, Nightwing: New Order #1 does right. While Dick Grayson has done something that seems against everything he has stood for, the idea of reluctance already is seeping in via his sons’ testimony. Grayson is presented as a sympathetic character and by the end we can see a path of redemption already coming to light for the character.