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Superman is a Bearded Warrior in DC's Dark Future

WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Nightwing: The New Order #5

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A new Superman has joined the DC Universe, embracing an ancient warrior look to fight the grim future of Nightwing: The New Order. To this point in the story the action has focused on the Batman Family - specifically Dick Grayson and his son, Jake. But with the Grayson family's outlook now as uncertain and terrifying as the rest of New Order's possible future, things have changed. Grayson was once in charge, but is now on the run. And where Superman used to be a shining beacon of hope, this future has turned him into something more... intimidating. And the beard is only the beginning.

Fear not, fans of the Man of Steel. This version of Clark Kent is as heroic as ever, even if he's swapped his Supersuit and superstrength for a sword and shield. But it's not every day that a new version of Superman is added to the DC canon. And as satisfying as it may be to see this 'warrior' version cooked up by writer Kyle Higgins and artists Trevor McCarthy and Dean White, it poses a problem.

This is Nightwing's story, after all. And since the series is racing towards its conclusion, we can only hope that this new Superman is a sign that the best is yet to come.

RELATED: Lois Lane Gets a Blue Lantern Ring in DC's New Order

Nightwing Depowered Superman (and Every Superhuman)

For those who may have missed the beginning of The New Order, allow us to break the news: in this vision of DC's future, almost every single superhuman has lost their powers. And to make that bombshell sting even more, it was Dick Grayson who pulled the trigger (detonated the bomb, but we're speaking metaphorically). It was a grisly way for Higgins to open his epic, but drove home the point of just how much Nightwing was willing to sacrifice for what he felt was humanity's best interest. Standing over a beaten, bloodied Superman - run through with half a dozen pieces of rebar - it wasn't even clear if Superman could survive his injuries. Not with his Kryptonian benefits stripped from him... along with the rest of the heroes whose bodies littered the streets of Metropolis.

In the story that followed, a much older Dick Grayson leads the titular "new order," a semi-police state in which people who exhibit superhuman abilities are either cured or incarcerated (or cryogenically frozen). But when his son begins to show powers inherited from his mother, Koriand'r (a.k.a. Starfire), and Alfred Pennyworth is killed protecting him, Dick has no choice but to go on the run.

He's eventually forced to team up with the Titans he once called friends, but turned into fugitives. Wally West, Cyborg, a Blue Lantern Lois Lane and more managed to retain their powers. Yet it's Metropolis they're headed toward, and in Issue #5, their backup is finally revealed...

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Superman is a Bearded Warrior in DC's Dark Future