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In the alternate reality of the Nightwing: New Order series, Dick Grayson began to grow disillusioned with superpowered heroes after his mentor, Batman, was murdered by a Superman corrupted by exposure to black kryptonite. A few years later, a cataclysmic battle between the Justice League and the Legion of Doom in the middle of Metropolis led to the deaths of thousands of civilians. On the fourth day of the battle, Dick ended the fight by using an Apokoliptian weapon from Batman's arsenal that blanketed the Earth and stripped all combatants of their powers, as well as 90% of all superhumans worldwide. For this, Dick was hailed as a hero by the American people, feted by the President and accorded several honors.

New laws were drafted to prohibit the use of superpowers, with all former superhumans ordered to follow a regular regimen of power-inhibiting pills or face incarceration. The Crusaders were formed by Kate Kane, formerly known as Batwoman, who had abandoned vigilantism and become a high-ranking official in the Department of Defense. Dick Grayson was chosen to be the public face of the Crusaders, and the armored suits of the rank-and-file Crusaders were modeled after Batman's outfit. The Crusaders did, however, employ several superpowered beings to enforce their laws, such as John Stewart, Captain Atom and Red Tornado.

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