Written by: Kyle Higgins
Art by: Trevor McCarthy
Colours by: Dean White
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Cover by: Trevor McCarthy
Published by: DC Comics
DC clearly had me in mind and knew every button to press when they made this comic. Speculative fiction? Check. Dystopian Future? Check. One of most complex characters in the DCU? Check. The same creative team behind the fabulous Gates of Gotham? Check. It’s no surprise then that this is one of my favourite #1’s of 2017. It’s the classic “What If” storyline. What if the future outlaws metahuman activity? What if the only solution to this is self-medicating or genocide? What if one man betrays his friends to help the government achieve this aim? The man in question is obviously Dick Grayson – one of the most beloved characters in the DCU and one who has had his fair share of ups and downs throughout history. It is a big move to portray Nightwing, at least temporarily as the villain of the piece but in Kyle Higgins we have a veteran of the character who will undoubtedly provide us with a tense, thrilling and satisfying story.
The first few pages are clearly designed to shock as a flashback scene shows us the bodies of Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and many others sprawled across the streets of Metropolis with Nightwing walking away, weapon in hand. I’m really intrigued to see how this came to be and hopefully we will gain more insight into this in the remaining five issues. We then spend the rest of the issue in the year 2040 with an older Dick Grayson, head of the Crusader Division and sporting an uncanny resemblance to Tom Welling! At least we know who’s going to star if this ever becomes a film… Dick Grayson is still pretty popular among the people but mostly as Nightwing. Again, this idea of being a superhero in a world without powers is a fantastic element for Higgins to explore in future issues. Grayson clearly still wants to be out on the street doing good even though he should be a pencil pusher for a government agency. It’s great to see Alfred return to Gotham, a much older man but clearly enjoying the sun from his new home Arizona. His wisdom is still as precise as always and the best part of the issue comes from two pages of dialogue between Alfred and Dick, both putting across reasonable points of view on the metahuman ban but ultimately ending with hurt on both sides. The issue ends with a massive twist and one that is going to make Dick Grayson question everything he has done for the past twenty years. Higgins could definitely spin this into an ongoing and I would absolutely keep buying it. The benefit of the mini though is that we know there will be a satisfying conclusion. Even though it’s not technically out of continuity, it is far enough away so has not to have to link to any rebirth story. This gives the team complete creative control to tell a story that won’t ever impact the rest of the DCU.
The art was always going to be great given that it’s by Trevor McCarthy. He has this perfect mix of realistic and stylised art that makes you stare at every panel that bit longer. The panelling is fairly simple but this allows plenty of inset panels to push the story along over the main thematic panel per page. The colours are by Dean White who I think is one of if not the best colourist in the business at the moment. The depth he creates is phenomenal. He’s just that good. Add to the mix the consistency excellent Clayton Cowles and you have, in my opinion an almost perfect creative team.
Simply put, this is one of the best #1’s this year. Everyone should be reading it. Higgins, McCarthy and White are creating a story for the ages and I cannot wait to see where it goes next.