When Nightwing: The New Order was announced, it ruffled some feathers. Now that the first issue is out, it's time to dive in and find out how Dick Grayson could turn on his friends.
For those who don't know, Nightwing: The New Order #1 is the product of Kyle Higgins and Trevor McCarthy, and it envisions a world where superpowers are outlawed. Not only that, but the government seeks out those who still have them so they can suppress them.
This is all tied to a colossal event teased at the very beginning of the issue, and the mystery of what happened builds out from there.
From this point on, major spoilers incoming, so if you haven't read the issue yet you've been warned.
So the first thing to tackle is the event itself, which is what caused all of this in the first place.
In the opening scenes, you can see multiple shadowy figures on the ground. They all seem to be recovering from some sort of blast or explosion, as rubble is everywhere. The people on the ground are saying things like "What happened...?" and "It all...hurts."
Nightwing stands in the middle with some sort of device in his hands, and as he walks off someone calls out to him. That turns out to be Superman, who is bleeding profusely from several pieces of shrapnel. He asks Dick "what did you do," to which Dick responds "I'm sorry Clark, I had to save the world."
Figures like Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Doomsday, Lex Luthor, Gorilla Grodd, Shazam, Captain Cold, and Starfire can be seen lying on the ground, and if they are in the same position as Superman, it can be assumed the device Grayson is holding is responsible for the loss of their powers.
As to why, Grayson keeps referring to "how bad things got before Metropolis," but he doesn't go into specifics.
Hit the next slide to find out more about the metahumans.
Since Grayson and his agency took over protecting the world, superpowers are outlawed. Now, that doesn't mean that metahumans are banished, it just means there are a few processes in place for them.
Early in the issue, Grayson and his squad can be seen chasing someone that turns out to be Dr. Light. He's not the villain in costume that fans are used to seeing though. During the chase, he uses his powers on several occasions, what little he has left that is.
When Nightwing and his troop catch up with him, Grayson says, "You've been delinquent on your doses for two weeks." Grayson pulls out a syringe filled with a yellow liquid, which Light protests by saying, "This stuff messes with my head..I'm old. I'm not going to start any trouble."
Grayson says the law is the law, and injects him, suppressing his powers once more. That seems to be the case for most metahumans, who get weekly checkups to make sure they aren't showing signs of their powers.
At one point though Alfred reunites with Grayson and hints at something darker. He says, "I hear the stories, Richard. About the facilities where people are put in 'stasis' for nothing more than being different. How is that something you can believe in?"
Grayson defends it by saying it's only a small number of people, and it is only until they can figure out a cure for their powers.
While most metahumans are taking their meds to keep their powers at bay or are in this mysterious "stasis" facility, there are others still out there fighting.
At one point Grayson's team checks out a break in of a medication facility, where three months worth of the meta serum have been stolen. While the camera feeds didn't catch anything, residual scanners picked up a signature in the shape of a W.
It's here that fans finally find out who the mysterious "him" the team referred to earlier is: Wally West. If he still had his powers he could easily flash by the cameras, and the Flash seen earlier at the original event could very well have been Barry Allen, leaving West with his powers intact.
You might also be wondering where Batman is in all this, and unfortunately, Nightwing confirms the worst.
When Alfred stops in for a visit, he challenges Grayson about his choices in all this. It seems like they've had this conversation before according to Grayson's reaction, but Alfred brings it up anyway. As Grayson defends his view, he says, "You saw how bad things got before Bruce died. Before Metropolis. You, who lost so much...can you really not understand why we're doing this?"
That's the last reference to Bruce, and also explains why he isn't in the opening scene. The phrase "sometimes...we make the hardest decisions for the people we care about the most" continues to come up, and of course, has a few meanings, but one of those definitely seems to be related to Bruce.
This one might seem like the easiest to figure out, but the big scene at the end does cast some doubt.
Most would assume Grayson's former wife is Barbara Gordon, as the two have long been one of DC Comics' most beloved are they or aren't they couples. That could still be true, and regardless of who it is, they had a son named Jake who Grayson takes care of.
Some details come to light during Grayson's talk with Alfred, when he asks, "does Jake ask about her?" Grayson says "Not as much anymore. I mean, it's hard on him obviously not having any kind of relationship with her. Maybe one day I'll understand how she could just leave."
Jake does ask about her by issue's end though, asking Grayson to explain why he chose to take powers away from people. Here he says, "So you did hurt people. Like mom."
That indicates his mother had powers, so that would likely cross Barbara Gordon off the list. Grayson has had a bevy of relationships, so the field is a bit open as to who it could be. By issue's end though it is apparent that he was with someone with powers, and removing them is what likely caused them to split apart.
Nightwing: The New Order #1 is written by Kyle Higgins with art by Trevor McCarthy and a variant cover by Paul Pope. The official description can be found below:
NIGHTWING: THE NEW ORDER is the story of a future world without “weapons”—where superpowers have been eliminated and outlawed. The man responsible? None other than Dick Grayson, a.k.a. Nightwing, now leader of a government task force called the Crusaders who are charged with hunting the remaining Supers. But when events transpire which turn the Crusaders’ aim toward Grayson’s own family, the former Boy Wonder must turn against the very system he helped create, with help from the very people he’s been hunting for years—the last metahumans of the DC Universe. Don’t miss this bold new vision from the team behind the New York Times bestseller BATMAN: GATES OF GOTHAM!