Nightwing #98 – Tom Taylor, Writer; Daniele Di Nicuolo, Artist; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: Tom Taylor’s Nightwing has been a fairly serious affair so far, dealing with organized crime, gentrification, and police brutality—and now, magical imps from the 5th dimension. Last issue ended with the bizarre cliffhanger of Dick’s controversial alter ego Ric Grayson showing up, but this is just an easter egg for the reveal of Nite-Mite—Dick’s personal superfan from Mxyzptlk’s dimension. But this imp doesn’t seem to have the mean streak of Superman or Batman’s annoyances, and he desperately wants to make Nightwing’s life better. He doesn’t quite know how to do this—summoning an ad hoc wedding for Dick and Barbara that they awkwardly turn down—but he soon reveals that he has something much more important to talk about, and he needs Dick’s help to save a little girl from eternal damnation. That little girl just so happens to be the daughter of Dick’s nemesis—the late Blockbuster.
This is such a clever storyline, because it calls back to the obscure 1990s event Underworld Unleashed. That saw Blockbuster, then a dim strongman of a villain, making a deal with Neron that turned him into the intelligent, ruthless kingpin he is today. This was one of the few long-lasting effects from that event, and it turns out that Blockbuster got out of that deal for his soul by selling his daughter’s instead—and now that Blockbuster is dead, Neron’s minions are here to collect. Daniele Di Nicuolo’s guest art is distinctly more cartoony than Redondo’s, but it really works for this issue. Dick and Bite-Wing becoming a demon-fighting team is such a blast to watch, and there’s a powerful message about discovering your own identity. Nite-Mite might seem like a bit of a silly character, but he serves a great narrative purpose in the issue as we head toward issue #100. This continues to be one of DC’s best books.
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