Nightwing: The New Order has been a solid Elseworld story that has been flying under the radar. That is not surprising given the big events, Dark Nights: Metal and Doomsday Clock, going on at DC right now. That has not kept Kyle Higgins back in developing a compelling alternate DC Universe that has been shaped by Dick Grayson. Now that world has completely turned it’s back on the former Robin and Nightwing after discovering his son is a metahuman. Dick Grayson may or may not get help from his old teammates led by Starfire and Wally West, whose status quo has been left up in the air given the new world order. Let’s see if what else we find out with Nightwing: The New Order #4.
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Trevor McCarthy
Colorist: Dean White
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Kate Kane’s scientist finish running test to find out that Dick Grayson’s son, Jake Grayson, is in fact metahuman.
Kate meets Jake and tries to ensure the kid she is there to help him. Jake doesn’t fully believe Kate is looking out for him but Kate says it would be best for him to rest for what is coming next.
Elsewhere Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg, Flash (Wally West) and Lois Lane (who is now a Blue Lantern) talk about what they should do next with Dick Grayson.
Dick wakes up in a hospital bed to see his old friends standing around him. Dick sarcastically talks to everyone and reminds them that he isn’t suddenly on the Titans Resistance side because of recent events. Flash reveals to Dick that they only saved him because Starfire told them to.
Dick talks about his concern for Jake. Cyborg reveals that Dick and Starfire’s son is being held in Central City by Brady. Starfire tells Dick to help them for their son.
At the Crusader’s Headquarters Brady and Liz talk about what recently happened with Dick and the Titans Resistance showing up. Liz questions if Kate should be in charge of everything but Brady says they should trust her.
After Brady walks away Liz finds some information that make her concerned.
Back at the Titans Resistance base the team discusses Kate’s recent show of force against Dick and how it does not make sense. As they walk through the base Dick recognizes the place as Lockhaven, a place in Bludhaven. Flash mentions that it is the last place Dick would look for them.
Cyborg then shows Dick scans that show the real reason Kate is afraid of Jake is that he is not only immune to the metahuman depowering device but his body is actively counteracting its effects. Flash sees this as a sign that they could cure everyone with Jake’s help.
Dick tells everyone they are not going to do anything with their son and he is not helping the Titans Resistance tear down what he has built.
As Dick and Flash go back and forth in their argument Lois uses her Blue Lantern ring to create a pleasant situation where Dick is back with his son and a younger Starfire.
The entire thing freaks Dick out and he ends up leaving the room.
While he walks around Dick remembers his history with Starfire and how they were able to overcome all the hardships put in front of them until his decisions caused Starfire to leave him.
Starfire finds Dick at the armory to try to talk things out but Dick reminds her that she walked out on him and Jake. After a bit of silence Dick says he and Jake miss Starfire a lot. That said Dick says he will not argue what happened in Metropolis again because he stands by his decision and thought Starfire understood. Starfire she did but her feelings have changed, which confuses Dick.
Starfire reveals that while she initially understood the Metropolis event after Dick built his Crusaders and he started policing the metahuman community she felt like she was a slave in the Citadel all over again. While Dick understands Starfire he says that the world was becoming something that was uncontrollable and he had to do something. They go back and forth about their concerns, especially for their son.
A little later Dick goes back to the control room and shows the team where he believes Kate would hold Jake if he really is the game changer they think he is.
Sometime later Dick, in his old Nightwing gear, leads the Titans Resistance through the security of the building he was being held earlier. After Flash takes out all the guards Dick shows the team a secret location that he believes Jake is in. Starfire does not wait for the door to be cracked open and uses her gauntlets to destroy the entire wall.
Inside the facility Dick and Starfire find Jake. At the same time Lois uses her ring to take some items from the facility.
Before they can finish their missing Mr. Freeze shows up and quickly takes out the entire Titans Resistance. End of issue.
The Good: The world building continues on with Nightwing: The New Order #4 giving us a better idea of what Dick Grayson’s Crusaders have been fighting against with the Titans Resistance. By giving the Titans Resistance the focus we are able to see how the kingdom that Dick Grayson and Kate Kane created has some chinks in the system. In the process we get a better idea of the history between Dick Grayson taking the majority of metahumans down and the present.
The big thing that Higgins is able to accomplish with Nightwing: The New Order #4 is why Jake Grayson is such an important metahuman. The opening scene where Jake’s blood is being tested does a good job implanting the idea that Jake is special. The future Jake’s dialogue helps in showing how the kid is not as naive as everyone thinks he is as he clearly knows that something bigger is going on now.
That is further driven home by the shady nature of Kate Kane’s dialogue as she tries to act nurturing but comes off as someone you cannot trust. Placing Kate in such a position comes off as incredibly natural given how she has always been portrayed as combative by nature. That combativeness makes it not all that surprising to see that she does not hesitate to fully take over the Crusaders from Dick’s control. And in positioning Kate in this way Higgins is able to create a strong figurehead for the Crusaders that Dick is now up against.
On the other side of the story, Higgins spends a considerable amount of time building up who the Titans Resistance are. Not having either Dick or the Titans jumping into each other’s arms was a good choice in showing how much of a divide the former created by eliminating the majority of metahumans’ powers. It’s a small thing but this lack of care from either side also gave us a better idea of how there is a rich history in this universe that we don’t know about.
This continues the narrative that while Dick is the leader of the new world and is the one who brought order to Earth his choices led him to be the most hated person in the metahuman community. It’s a stark contrast from how we know Dick Grayson is perceived in the present DC Universe. Having Dick not change his attitude whatsoever, even in light of his son being in danger, shows that there was no one controlling him when he made his choice. Everything Dick has done is because he decided it was for the best of the DCU and understood the consequences of his actions.
Dick’s attitude at the beginning also helped emphasize the underground nature Higgins has crafted for the Titans Resistance. Though the team is underground I absolutely loved the dig on Dick as they had their homebase in Bludhaven, Nightwing’s old stomping ground. It showed that even though they were sticking to the shadows in breaking the Crusaders down they weren’t afraid of spitting in their face. This resonated the most with Wally’s attitude towards his former best friend. Higgins was able to make Wally’s sarcastic attitude have that tinge of animosity that drove home that Dick ruined all of his friendships.
Though the Titans Resistance was made up of mostly old teammates it was good to see characters like Lois Lane as part of the team. This inclusion, along with Lois now serving the Blue Lantern Corps, furthered the idea that Dick’s decision affected the entire DC Universe. Lois being a Blue Lantern gave an interesting twist to an iconic character that completely made sense. It was also smart decision by Higgins to use Lois’ ring to help remind Dick of his previous life as a superhero and remind him what Starfire and the rest of the team meant to him.
Speaking of Starfire, it was good to see that Higgins didn’t go for the outright hatred route for the current standing of standing of Dick and Starfire’s relationship. Instead Higgins treated both characters as adults whose decisions were made on where they each fell in the post-non-metahuman world. Higgins using Starfire’s history as a slave before joining the Teen Titans was a perfect way to illustrate why she would leave Dick and Jake behind. It maintained the fact that while she loved them both but Starfire knew that what Dick did was wrong.
This all made Dick’s decision to work with the Titans at the end of issue make more sense to the overall story. The infiltration scene that closed out the issue was a solid way to show that things are turning around for the Titans Resistance and remaining metahumans. At the same time the Resistance has a long way to go even with Dick Grayson now on their side. Having Mr. Freeze attack the Resistance gave the Crusaders yet another strong ally along with Green Lantern John Stewart to show how powerful they are.
Trevor McCarthy continues to do good job making the world of Nightwing: The New Order have a darkness that we don’t have in the normal DCU. With the full introduction of the Titans Resistance, McCarthy got give each of the members an updated design to match the world and show their age. That was probably best shown with Beast Boy and Starfire’s designs that were much more adult and military-oriented than their iconic look.
The Bad: The one spot that continues to be a struggle point for Nightwing: The New Order is not making the new characters introduced, like Brady and Liz, seem unique. Higgins still has not found the right voice for these new characters that make them particularly intriguing. Instead they come off as stale supporting characters we normally see from this type of future setting. Without creating a connection to Brady, Liz or anyone on the Crusaders outside of Dick and Kate it is hard to care for the organization as it currently stands or falls by the end of this story.
The flashback to Dick and Starfire’s history together also felt unnecessary and did not particularly flow well with its placement in this issue. Higgins did a good enough job with the discussion that Dick and Starfire had in the present to give off a sense of their history without having to actually show it to us. But by showing us we get two pages that could’ve been better used to developed the previously mentioned side characters, Kate Kane or others in the Titans Resistance.
Overall: Nightwing: The New Order #4 is another solid issue that further developed the world into a place a ton of history. The full introduction of the Titans Resistance and Dick Grayson’s standing with them provided us with plenty of intriguing scenes, specifically when it came to those shared by Dick Grayson and Starfire. Now as Kyle Higgins and Trevor McCarthy move forward it will be interesting to see how things end up with what we learn about the game changing character in Nightwing: The New Order #4.