One of the things that bugs me in superhero movies and animated movies is the amount of collateral damage with no conscience that happens. Even Bruce Wayne’s ire in Batman vs Superman loses some of its punch at the film’s conclusion. In the comic book world, Nightwing, seemingly feeling as I do, takes matters into his own hands and pretty much eradicates super powers.
In the near DC future, the world is devoid of super powers, due to Nightwing and the inhibitors that as the name suggests stops those pesky powers from being used. Which is just as well, as in this world, it is illegal to possess metahuman abilities in the United States. Still no regime is perfect’ for those whose powers cannot be inhibited, a stasis pod awaits. From a certain point of view, the book is civil liberty destroyed with the safety of the many impacting on the freedom of the few.
Kyle Higgins is the perfect writer to devolve the character of Dick Grayson, due to his time spent with him in his own book and a raft of Bat books. More than once, I have said that Grayson to me, is DC’s version of Peter Parker; an eternal optimist who strives to do what is right and hates disappointing anyone. Indeed, it could be said that both characters suffer more in their respective personal lives than in their superhero lives. Here, Higgins has Grayson take an ultimate step, arguably to protect those he loves the most. To be honest, I don’t think anyone can argue with that particular goal. The first issue is important in many ways including setting the tone for the mini series and showing us the world in which that which was once so recognisable currently thrive or fall. Higgins’ dark tone shows the weight of the new world on Grayson’s shoulders despite the usual Grayson charm and charisma.
Higgins is joined by one of his past collaborators in Batman: Gates of Gotham artist Trevor McCarthy. McCarty has an old school look to his pencils rather than the smash and grab of some of the bigger named artists on DC books. McCarty has all the range of a top-tier artist; great panel structure, dynamic action, movement through the transition panels and some strong facial elements, even if that is a Tom Welling photo reference in there. For a story that relies more on emotion than event, his work fits well. In addition, McCarthy inks his own work which gives the art a truer feel somehow, as if the pencils are not being diluted by a third person’s attention. The heavy lines and inks are definitely required to make headway against a color scheme by Dean White that personifies the darkness of this new world and ambiguity of the choices the Grayson has to and has yet to make.
It seems that August is “Alternative DC Month” with futures that yet may be making something of a return. Is this an editorial edict from DC as a means to consider bringing back Elseworlds? As a six-issue run, this series serves to challenge Dick Grayson’s convictions in a number of ways. What would someone do when the two guiding ideals by which they live, exist in direct contradiction? What is the right choice? Who’s hurt and disappointment can you live with? All great questions to be sure; which in the answering, should make this book a highly entertaining read.
Writing – 4.5 Stars
Art – 4.5 Stars
Colors – 4.5 Stars
Written by; Kyle Higgins
Art by; Trevor McCarthy
Colors by; Dean White
Published by; DC Comics