Nightwing has long been one of my favorite characters. The original Robin the Boy Wonder who got out of Batman’s shadow and blazed his own trail. Nightwing: The New Order #3 takes Dick Grayson and puts him in an adventure unlike any he has faced before.
Kyle Higgins creates a world very similar to the DC Universe that we know and love, but with one major difference, superpowers are illegal and have mostly been eliminated. Dick himself is the one responsible for taking those powers away from both heroes and villains alike with a device that released a compound into the atmosphere that negated most superpowers.
Things seem to be fine and though Dick shows signs of some guilt over his actions he feels he did the right thing. Heroes and villains clashed in Metropolis in an epic battle that lasted days and cost untold innocent lives. Superpowers were everywhere and easy to acquire. Taking those powers away seemed the only option. Going a step further any new powers were made illegal and anyone who developed powers were forced to take inhibitors meds. The inhibitors do not work on everyone and those that this was the case for were put in stasis until the inhibitors could be altered for them. As Alfred points out, nobody has ever been released from stasis.
A very important difference in this world is that Dick has a son, Jake, with Starfire. Starfire had lost her powers when Dick released the gas and had since left him and Jake to join a resistance group with Flash, Wally West. Starfire may have lost her powers, but that didn’t stop her from passing them on to Jake.
Jake hides his powers for over a year, even from Dick, as he was afraid that his father would think he was bad. The revelation that his son has powers puts Dick’s world into a tailspin, especially since his body is immune to the inhibitor meds.
Before Dick can figure out his next move soldiers from his task force storm into his home to take him and Jake in by force. Alfred, who was still visiting, tries to protect Jake, but is shot and killed. Jake and Dick are both taken into custody.
Former Batwoman Kate Keene is the head honcho of the organization, while Dick was its public face. She had ordered Jake and Dick to be taken in, but to do nothing further until she arrived. One of Dick’s former subordinates, bitter the he helped Dick put his own father into stasis and did not want Jake getting special treatment, ignores orders and attempts to interrogate Dick.
Dick, trained by Batman, gets out of his restraints and overpowers his interrogator. He escapes, but has no idea where Jake was taken. He goes to former Robin and computer whiz Tim Drake for help. They see Jake was sent to a facility in Central City, but it turns out to be a trap and one that Dick falls right into after a trip to the Batcave, now a tourist attraction, for supplies.
Green Lantern John Stewart ambushes Dick, who holds his own for most of the fight. Just when it seems Dick’s luck has run out he is whisked away by a familiar streak of lightning and is reunited with his old friend Wally West and the mother of his son, Starfire. There is obvious animosity despite the rescue.
Higgins does a masterful job of showing the emotional turmoil that Dick goes through especially when he deludes himself that he can fix things. Morality gets muddied when it’s your own child that faces the consequences of your actions.
Trevor McCarthy gives us a Gotham that has a different feel, but is still Gotham. The city has always been a character itself and that stays true here. We also get some great character designs, especially for the Flash. The colors of Dean White also gives Gotham a lighter feel at first that darkens as does Dick’s situation.
I love a good elseworlds type story and seeing familiar characters in situations we wouldn’t get to in continuity and this is among the best I’ve read.
Story: 4.5 Stars
Art: 4 Stars
Overall Rating: 4.25 Stars
(W) Kyle Higgins (A/CA) Trevor McCarthy