By Dustin Cabeal
If DC had a slogan right now, it would be DC: Bold As Fuck. Seriously, they’re just trying whatever which sounds like a dreadful thing, but it’s not. It’s what the industry has always done, but at some point, the big two were like, Nah, continuity, it’s all about what’s happening in the world. Screw that; I want what ifs and alternate timelines in which Nightwing is a total dick, pun intended. And I don’t need it to be part of the multiverse, just fun comics starring familiar characters for a few months is nice and refreshing.
Seriously though, Nightwing is a dick in this story. Up front, I’m not a Nightwing fan. Never really get into him. I find it boring that he’s billed as the better Batman and yet never manages to be better. The last time I liked him was in Joker’s Last Laugh, and even then, he ended up sucking.
This story takes place sometime in the future. A future where having superpowers is highly illegal. It’s like Days of Future Past and Civil War had a baby that got to the point. This is after the fact; there’s no preventing it.
The story is brilliantly narrated from the POV of Dick’s kid. The foreshadowing is obvious, but the writing makes the journey so worthwhile. It’s the best writing of the issue because it genuinely feels as if a young boy is talking to you, almost in the form of a letter. The first issue also gives you the entire scope of the status quo of this possible future. It tells you what events lead to Dick’s decision and everything that came afterward. It’s subtle and layered beautifully. Kyle Higgins perfectly crafts this new world, wait for it, order. Fuck, my puns are on today!
On the flip side of it, all is Trevor McCarthy on the artwork. There are some great flashbacks of old school Nightwing that make this book feel the 70s or 80s inspired, and McCarthy admittedly makes Nightwing look cool. Cool enough that they might want to go back to his Wolfman hair style with the flowing locks. Dick pulls it off. McCarthy does an excellent job of conducting the visuals of the story. The narration is what I call off beat meaning it’s not necessarily tied into what’s happening on the page. It’s more like a simile in that way. The art is gritty, detailed and captures the not so distant future without it just looking like Blade Runner, really tired of that personally so I was glad it wasn’t the case here.
The coloring from Dean White is moody, full of purples, pinks, and blues. It gives the city a personality and makes the world look dreary. The flashback is colored differently and again feel like a different era in DC. Clayton Cowles is one of the best letterers in the business. His work here is clean, fitting and allows for an easy read. The font for the narration is particularly fitting in that it feels childish, much like the child narrating.
Listen, I didn’t expect anything from this story. I half read it just to fuck with a friend that love Nightwing. I ended up liking this book and will be back for the rest of the series. As good as this first issue is, I have a feeling it’s only going to get better with the events revealed and laid out here. If you like Nightwing, you’re already read the issue, but if you’re like, “meh, to that character,” then give this a chance. The creative team knocks it out of the park, and I hope that we see more chances like this taken by DC.
Nightwing: The New Order #1
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Trevor McCarthy
Colorist: Dean White
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: DC Comics