Nightwing #97 ended on a down note with the teased return of Ric Grayson, one of the worst eras for Nightwing’s character. It was the first time in Tom Taylor’s run that I was left not looking forward to the next issue of Nightwing. That said with Nightwing #98 promoted as the debut of Nite-Mite from the Fifth Dimension I expect this entire thing to be one big prank. That is at least what I hope the Ric Grayson ending from the last issue was. Because if it’s not that would be then boy this will be something. Let’s find out with Nightwing #98.
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Daniele Di Nicuolo
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Ric Grayson turns out to be Nite-Mite (Nightwing’s biggest fan from the Fifth Dimension). After making some comments on their relationship Nite-Mite says it’s time to fast forward Nightwing and Oracle’s relationship.
Nite-Mite immediately creates a wedding teleporting the entire Batman Family, Titans (with Jackson Hyde replacing Garth), and both Superman. Nightwing and Oracle are quick to call off the wedding.
Afterward Nite-Mite teleports himself and Nightwing back to Bludhaven. Nite-Mite reveals that Neron has sent demons to collect Blockbuster’s daughter (Olivia) as payment for Blockbuster asking Neron to make him smarter before his death.
Nite-Mite summons Haley and gives her a Bitewing costume and the ability to talk to help them out.
Nightwing, Bitewing, and Nite-Mite rush to rescue Olivia. Using the added mystical powers Nite-Mite gave him Nightwing says “Nightwing Is Awesome” to defeat the demons.
Later Nightwing calls Raven to help with protecting Olivia from Neron. Before leaving with Raven, Olivia thanks Nightwing, Bitewing, and Nite-Mite for saving her.
Afterward, Nightwing convinces Nite-Mite to tell him his real name. After bonding more Nite-Mite mentions that Dick Grayson should fill the holes in the world left by Blockbuster’s death and other things happening. End of issue.
Nightwing #98 went with the best possible direction from what the ending of the previous issue teased. The direction with Nite-Mite’s first appearance did take time to get momentum for it but once it did this issue was a lot of fun.
Right out of the gate there was a bit too much of a focus on having Nite-Mite represent the toxic side of fans, mostly Twitter eggs, which did make Nightwing #98 have an awkward start. Trying to do a parody in a DC Comics title hasn’t been really working as of late, see how bad things got with Dark Crisis: Young Justice. Nite-Mite’s early dialogue definitely felt cringe rather than witty or funny with what Tom Taylor was going for.
It’s not until after Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon called off the wedding when Nite-Mite tried to make them go through with that Nightwing #98 really got going. Nite-Mite really started to shine once he started playing off of what Dick and Barbara were telling him. Having the back-and-forth immediately changed the tone of the story to dive more into the fun the concept of the Fifth Dimension characters brings to a story.
Specifically, what made Nite-Mite stand out is the fact he appeared in order for Nightwing to deal with a bigger crisis in Bludhaven in the aftermath of Blockbuster’s death. Taylor getting into how Nite-Mite’s reason for being Nightwing’s biggest fan is because of how great of a superhero he is was a strong direction to go with. This got Nite-Mite away from being more of a chaotic force than Mister Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite. So while Nite-Mite has similar chaotic energy as his predecessors there is much more heart to who he is.
This made how Taylor balanced out Nite-Mite being a Nightwing fanboy and actually looking to help save Olivia, Blockbuster’s daughter who is also a Nightwing fan, from Neron work well. Because we were able to get fun things like Nite-Mite bringing a talking Haley as Bitewing along with wacky things like giving Nightwing the funny catchphrase power-up. It made how Nightwing, Nite-Mite, and Bitewing saved the day a lot of fun to see happen.
It all lead to a satisfying ending and added greater character development for Nite-Mite and Nightwing. Seeing Nightwing connect with Nite-Mite as a person by giving his Fifth Dimension counterpart a hero moment with help from Olivia was a strong emotional note to hit. This is another great way to help show what makes Nightwing special while also further separating Nite-Mite from being just a copy of Mister Mxyzptlk or Bat-Mite.
All that said the entire story in Nightwing #98 made the previous issue irrelevant. The whole thing with Nightwing and Oracle protecting a mob member from being assassinated is quickly pushed to the side. It does make Nightwing #97 an unnecessary issue as we could have easily got the Ric Grayson joke Nite-Mite makes as an opening page as all the set-up needed.
On the art side of things, Daniele Di Nicuolo was a great fit for this story. Nicuolo delivered the more animated tone to the story that Nite-Mite brings to this story. It made a lot of the comedy like Nite-Mite teleporting the real Batman to Nightwing and Oracle’s wedding a funny joke. That all continued for the rest of the issue as you can’t help but smile at Nite-Mite’s antics and seeing Haley in her first appearance as Bitewing.
While it does takes time for it to find its momentum once Nightwing #98 gets to the heart of what Nite-Mite debut brings to the table this story is a blast to read. Tom Taylor and Daniele Di Nicuolo deliver on creating a fun dynamic between Nightwing and Nite-Mite that will put a smile on fans’ faces.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10