Writer: Kyle Higgins
Colorist: Dean White
Artist: Trevor McCarthy
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Cover: Trevor McCarthy
Last Time: When the resistance began to get the upper hand and rescue Dick’s son from the Crusaders, Dick stood true to his decisions; and contacted Kate Kane, ready to give up their location and end the conflict for good.
What’s Happening? With Reed Strong: The Crusaders clash with the Titans as Dick grabs Jake to run away in the fray, as the Titans last backups of Lex Luthor and Superman plan their final assault. Dick and Jake reminisce about Dick’s days of being Robin and everything a Robin was able to do for a Batman; the kind of support and love Jake wishes he was able to give his dad to keep him on the right path. A last tinge of regret in his veins, Dick and Jake zoom back around to the fray, providing backup to Starfire and the rest of the team, as Kate stands resolute. As Superman steps out of a chamber Lex Luthor built to restore his abilities; the old enemy reveals his true colors as Superman is still powerless, and Jake realizes that Lex doesn’t intend to just renew Superman; he intends to give superpowers to the entire world, not caring about the methods. The device will create a massive explosion that would destroy the entirety of new Gotham, as Superman and Jake set out to bring everyone to get together, and get out. Jake shows the strength of a true hero as everyone listens enough to flee the city, as Jake levitates the whole burg to survive the explosion on its own. Years, years later, Jake sits with his wife and his son; remembering the great days of his father and what he did for him, as little flying boys and girls play ball outside.
Reed Strong’s Strong Read: When this series was announced, it was a difficult time for fascist superheroes. Secret Empire was still right in the middle of its run, comparisons were being made off the fly left and right, and evil Batman laid in the horizon for whatever Metal would hold in store for the DC’s future. But as things wind down, New Order is a story about hope, optimism, and heroes. The twist of Dick’s deeds that killed most of the world’s meta population was the grappling hook for the audience, but as we saw more, more, and more of those characters survive, Dick’s deeds gray origins helped come to light, and heroism was able to shine through. We may never see Jake Grayson again, but we’ll certainly see another conflicted Kate Kane, another beacon of Dick, and another Lex Luthor, ready to f*** everyone over once again.
However: at the end of the day, this started from a place of separation. The notion that Dick really did make the separation between metas and other powered beings; be it Red Tornado or the Green Lanterns, who were still endorsed and encumbered by the crusaders, paints Dick’s redemption too late. He didn’t pick a side; he picked things apart. This is a story about superheroes, and it’s going to have to make compromises; but when Dick starts making the choices that turn metas hated and feared against other superpowered beings, it paints the whole story black and blue.