Nightwing: The New Order #6 – Kyle Higgins, Writer; Taylor McCarthy, Artist; Dean White, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Many Things Work, One Thing Doesn’t
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The concluding issue of Nightwing: The New Order, Kyle Higgins’ alternate reality future where Dick Grayson is an agent of a fascist anti-metahuman government ends pretty much as it began – it’s an absurd concept that doesn’t quite work, but it also could have been handled a lot worse. The problem, once again, is that much of the plot is driven by characters making bad decisions that don’t really make sense. When the issue starts, Luthor is still trying to crack the code to curing the tech that took away the powers, while Jake has a tense relationship with his mother, and Dick is trying to decide whether or not he has a future with the resistance. Ultimately, he decides to cut a deal with Kate and the rest of the Crusaders, giving them the information they need to take down the resistance if he and Jake are allowed to flee the country safely.
The issue devolves into a massive battle, as the Crusaders storm the resistance base, and then, as expected, Dick gets a much-needed pep talk from his son and decides to switch sides for what feels like the twentieth time this series. But this one is actually for good, and he shows up just in time for Luthor to betray everyone out of nowhere. I mean, this was kind of inevitable, but this version of Luthor was actually kind of interesting. Dick’s redemption was sort of inevitable, but I wish the character had pulled a few less heel-turns so it felt more earned. The title never let him be villainized completely like many feared – he was never Hydra Cap or even Injustice Superman. But what he was was a coward, and that makes his son’s eulogy feel a little unearned. Jake was a good character, what we saw of him, and this issue sees him come into his own as a hero. That’s where this series shines, and his narration saved the series to a large extent.
Corrina: So many things work about this book but what prevents it from being great is the main character.
Let me explain.
The supporting characters around Dick Grayson are terrific. I love how Higgins’ reimagined Lois Lane and Superman and his Lex Luthor is so dead-on perfect that I want him to write Superman comics right.this.second. I love the ending, where characters are redeemed and see the error of their ways, and how, when it counted, the heroes all worked together.
But the Dick Grayson at the heart of this series is the problem. He ended the powers of everyone else because Batman died and, more, he spent time hunting them down. To buy that Dick Grayson would be that far gone, that this Dick Grayson would commit the betrayal he does in this series and especially in this issue, I need to see exactly what happened to turn him so cynical. The story never shows that. Similarly, Dick’s quick change of heart is welcome but it seems too fast, as if perhaps Dick should have realized this much sooner in dealing with his son.
And then there’s this version of Kate Kane, yet another version where people seem to believe she has fascist tendencies. (Note: she is a Jewish lesbian, so…I’m not sure where the fascism comes in, as here and in Detective Comics. Perhaps the soldier’s background.)
In the end, it’s a readable and enjoyable series that mishandles the main character enough to prevent it from being great. And it makes me want to read Higgins’ Lois and Clark. So here’s hoping that comes to pass.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.