Review – Nightwing: The New Order #5 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Art: Trevor McCarthy, Dean White and Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 27th December 2017

The action is ramping up for the grand finale next month but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is anything like a boring issue. It starts with the Titans in the belly of the beast struggling to escape the clutches of Mr Freeze. The team get out, but not without that constant string of consequence that has been present throughout the in the “New Order” universe.  Consequences of Dick’s decision resulting in his son’s capture; consequences of Kori’s decision to sacrifice her relationship with her son when she joined the resistance, and finally the consequences of what really happened to Bruce all those years ago.

Writer Kyle Higgins has done a fantastic job of drip-feeding the reader details of what actually happened to make Dick choose to rid the world of superpowers.  We’ve definitely seen that he felt it was the right thing to do to ensure the safety of not just his son but that of the entire world, and this issue finally slaps one big puzzle piece on your lap with the return of a de-powered Superman.

The Titans take Jake to metropolis in order to analyse why he seems to be resistant to the regime’s attempts to de-powered him. There they meet a now aged superman decked out in body armour but still sporting his family crest and a torn cape – another stellar job by artist Trevor McCarthy of placing a well-known character into the midst of this dystopian future setting.

While the now allied Lex Luthor runs his tests, Jake and Clark have a chance to talk. And we see in one wordless and powerful panel just what happened to Bruce and how it changed our Nightwing forever.  I must say that I was pretty crushed by finally seeing this. Maybe part of me always hoped that there was some way around what was the obvious conclusion, Higgins I think played the audience with this. He knows that you were expecting Batman to have miraculously escaped, but instead he ends up being the ink underlining that common theme of new order. This is not the world you know.

One thing I don’t necessarily agree with however is Dick’s incessant adherence to stick to the regime despite the constant evidence of the damage it has caused to everyone around him. I understand that it’s a constant internal conflict for him, but it just seems like some of the decisions he makes in this issue may have undone the apparent development he has undergone since issue one. I mean he has literally had to save his son from imprisonment and still thinks that this is what’s best for the rest of the world!?

I understand that this is another loop back to Higgins breaking down the problem of superhero ethics – it’s all about the subjective nature of a ‘greater good’ which is always going to cause more damage than if they stuck to taking down bank robbers.  But I’m a Nightwing fan, so please let him redeem himself mate?

One thing’s for sure though, this issue has set the scene for a finale that I really can’t predict. Will it serve as a warning for us superhero fans to not idolise our heroes so much? Will Dick turn against this new world in a final Frank Miller-esque battle? I honestly can’t wait to find out.

Rating: 4/5.

The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy

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