Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Art: Trevor McCarthy, Dean White and Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 24th December 2018
Change takes time. You have to learn things about the world and about yourself first. Maybe you want that promotion? Maybe you want to have a place of your own or a six-pack to show off? Well, it’s going to take time. Could be years, could be decades. But at the end of the day you’ll hopefully learn what you’re supposed to and walk away either a better person or, in a lot of cases, the person circumstances have led you to become.
These are the thoughts I’m left with after reading the final issue of Nightwing: The New Order, a series which has provided its fair share of surprises while still staying true to these iconic characters. In a similar vein to Sean Murphy’s current White Knight series, Kyle Higgins has taken the characters of the DCU and placed them in his own world to make us think about some of the issues that have been overlooked in our decades of fandom. This is a military state where superpowers have been all but removed from the world, and those who do possess any sort of power have either been detained or driven underground by a police force led by none other than the poster child for righteousness in the DCU, Nightwing.
I was unsure how this would play out when I first picked up issue one, but Higgins eased me into this world with logical moves and believable explanations for Grayson’s (and indeed all the characters,) actions. We learn that after a brainwashed Superman killed Batman, Dick was set on this path to protect the world in the only way he knew how.
We got to learn about this new, older Dick Grayson through the eyes of his son Jake, watching the way Jake views his father with each action that he takes. At first we get to see him propelling him further from the hero of his past, before he reverts to old, familiar habits when his son is taken captive.
This issue is crunch time for Dick. We saw in the last panel of issue five that he has betrayed his former team mates yet again for the promise of safe passage for him and Jake, but will he go through with it and risk the resistance’s plan to restore the world’s powers? Well I’m not going to spoil it for you but I will say that you definitely won’t be disappointed.
The opening panel shows a great flashback of Grayson as Robin, being his old charming self while bringing down Killer Croc with Batman fighting by his side. It’s a great metaphor for Jake. The polarising nature of he and his father’s views on the world emphasise the light and darkness of Robin and Batman from the golden age of comics. It goes further when Jake states how he “was supposed to be your Robin,” to his dad during one particularly heart-wrenching exchange.
The climax of New Order once again featuring some truly beautiful scenes drawn by Trevor McCarthy, goes back to the start in many ways. It’s about the way these characters have changed in this world, how they’ve grown with new responsibilities and events they’ve never had to face before. And while the superhero action is still here, it’s the subtleties of their actions and dialogue, the glimpses of their true nature, which really stand out.
Nightwing: The New Order culminates in an immensely satisfying and, in light of everything that’s happened, realistic end. I got the same feeling reading this issue as I did watching the last episode of the Bruce Timm Justice League series. Highest of recommendations as always.
[Click to Enlarge]
The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy