Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Trevor McCarthy
Colours: Dean White
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Cover: Trevor McCarthy
Publisher: DC Comics
The New Order #1 was probably my favourite #1 of 2017. The premise had me completely hooked. The biggest draw of an elseworlds story is that it’s mainly out of continuity. This means that Kyle Higgins can remove superpowers form 90% of the population, put the rest on inhibitors or stasis and see what happens. The lack of ties puts nothing off limits and helps deliver a powerful story which at times veers into allegory and even parable.
We ended issue #1 with the revelation that Dick’s son Jake has inherited superpowers from his mum (whose identity was confirmed in this issue). This puts Dick in the awkward position of being the leader of the taskforces faced with subduing superpowers who also want his son to stay safe. Obviously this will be the main plot thread going forward as Dick struggles to come to terms with this revelation. He has always stood by what he did in Metropolis to make the world a safer place, but to what end has this resulted in a totalitarian state? This is where the second plot thread comes through. One of allegory…. gun violence, racial discrimination, police brutality…it’s all here under the auspices of a superhero book. As with most great science fiction, this is a sad read but a compelling one. We’re probably not going to get the typical return to status quo happy ending that we so often see in “event” storylines but that’s OK. It offers a deep character study into one of DC’s most enduring protagonists and cast’s him as a villain to the superhero community. It shows the divisiveness of human nature reflecting the current political landscape and how most of us struggle to accommodate other people’s views. Of course all of this stems from the “Metropolis incident” and I’m sure we’ll have more bombastic flashback action in the remaining issues but at the moment I’m really enjoying this introspective look at human nature.
Of course no comic would stand based on its script alone and once again McCarthy creates characters who exude personality and emotion. Alfred has rarely looked as emotionally involved. The colours are once again fantastic and add to the mood of the piece. It’s clear that White has deliberately gone for a more muted palette in contrast to his other work but still puts across a blade runner vibe. Cowles is a lettering master and the simple fact that he’s’ not mentioned more is a testament to how good he is.
Another intriguing instalment of this mini-series has me impatiently waiting for issue 3 to hit stands next month. If you like proper speculative fiction filled with allegory and character driven stories, then I urge you to give Nightwing: The New Order a try.