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DC's New Nightwing Comic Explores A Powerless, Authoritarian Future

"I wanted to explore something much more complex that had resonance of the time we're living in now."


DC's upcoming miniseries Nightwing: The New Order completely changes the dynamic of the comic book universe. The majority of heroes and villains alike had their powers stripped from them, and the man leading the charge, while working with the government, to hunt down the remaining metahumans is Dick Grayson, also known as Nightwing.

Kyle Higgins, the writer of The New Order, first worked on the New 52's Nightwing series back in 2011, and his return to the character was exciting for him, to say the least, "It feels familiar but different," Higgins told GameSpot. "I can write him in my sleep though. He's my all-time favorite character. It's more exciting than anything. I've already written the series, and now that I'm done, it's a bit sad. Even though it was for a very specific story, he was my guy again."

The six-issue miniseries follows Dick Grayson in 2040. "Dick's like 45 years old and he has a 12-year-old son," explained Higgins. "We're living in a world where about 12 years earlier, Dick detonated a device that neutralized 90% of the world's superpowers. There had been a proliferation and spread of superpowers in the world. They were as easy to get as a loaf of bread at the supermarket. You could walk into a bodega and pick up telekinesis. In a lot of ways, it's an allegory for the gun issue in our country right now but through the lens of DC superheroes and superpowers. The spread and incidents that escalated in the world finally culminated with something that's like the Armageddon war of Metropolis."

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The New Order miniseries--you can see a preview of the first issue above--is a very different tale for the character many people know as Batman's former sidekick, Robin. "This is a unique situation because it's my take on Nightwing out of continuity. It's like an Elseworlds, and it takes place far enough in the future that I'm defining the character. I'm not playing off of established continuity that's happening in the mainline right now or anything like that." Higgins and artist Trevor McCarthy have carte blanche with the character and the world he inhabits, leading to this unique take on characters losing their powers.

By neutralizing the world's metahumans, Nightwing's actions lead to an authoritarian state: "The world did get safer, but similar to what we see in our country, things went too far. Laws passed that made superpowers illegal, and if you were part of the 10% that had superpowers, you had to register, and go on inhibitor medication, and if the inhibitor medication didn't work, which was very, very rare, then you're put into stasis until the doctor can figure out a way to take them away."

The story of a superhero losing their powers has been done before but never on such a large scope as this. There are many changes to the world around characters people know and love and with that, come redesigns of characters. Higgins explained that McCarthy did many redesigns of popular characters, and McCarthy's take on Superman was the writer's favorite.

Higgins closed by discussing the relationship between Dick Grayson and his son, Jake, and the dynamic's affect on the story: "It's Jake [in the future] narrating the book, looking back asking the question that we as readers are asking, 'How does my dad, who a lot of people said was the heart and soul of the DC Universe come to believe that this was best for the world? Was the world really that bad that this was the only way for the world to move forward?'"

Higgins and McCarthy's Nightwing: The New Order comes to comic shops and digital formats on August 23.

Mat Elfring on Google+

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