Nightwing revealed Batman’s chronic self-denial

Warning: The following contains spoilers from nightwing #98, now available from DC Comics.

Nightwing has taken many turns recently that relate specifically to his relationship with the Bat Family, from demonstrating his tactical skills to calling on the other members of his adoptive family for help in his final battle against Blockbuster. As he grows more into a hero in his own right and less of a Batman offshoot, Nightwing has endured many of the same trials and tribulations as his grumpier father figure. in the nightwing #98 (by Tom Taylor, Daniele Di Nicuolo, Adriano Lucas and Wes Abbott), the hero faces another challenge formerly faced by Bruce Wayne, a fifth-dimensional goblin who calls himself Nite-Mite in the same vein as Batman’s own Bat Mite.

Though the subject matter is primarily light-hearted, Nite-Mite briefly summons much of the DC Universe to witness a wedding he’s attempting to host, with Batman receiving special attention. The goblin explains that Nightwing is a lot more fun than Batman, who is in a constant state of self-denial and doesn’t allow himself “love, happiness”. [or] Carbohydrates.” While largely a joke like the rest of the issue, it sheds an important light on Batman and his overwhelming self-denial, taking the Dark Knight’s self-denial to yet another new level of darkness. This draws the character’s past actions even further as ones of self-denial and self-loathing, spanning decades and helping to make some of his characterizations in the past clearer.

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Batman is in an eternal state of self-denial


Many of Batman’s recent appearances have focused less on the character as a dark bringer of justice and more on the former billionaire trying to come to terms with his reality through his violent brand of heroism. This has been tackled in many media outlets including Harley Quinn‘s third season. In it, Harley states that Batman needs a therapist and volunteers to act as one. This includes her realizing that the Batman of her universe has a reversely repressed memory of his parents’ deaths, meaning he spends nearly every moment of his life reliving their shootout. This dealt with deep-seated trauma, but there are many elements to it Batman dealing with other aspects of his mental health.

The Dark Knight is known to be obsessed with his mission of justice and revenge, and this fixation is central to several of his live-action adaptations, including 2022’s The Batman and 2016s Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. The killer jokea classic Batman tale by Alan Moore, Brian Bolland, Richard Starkings, John Higgins and Dennis O’Neil, has gone to great lengths to establish that Batman and the Joker are very similar and that one bad day brings the Dark Knight could do terrible things.

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Nite-Mite pokes fun at Batman’s bleak worldview

batman-nite-mite-nightwing (1)

Nite-Mite takes Batman’s dark worldview and obsession with self-denial and puts it center stage, pointing out that the Caped Crusader found himself love (in the form of his shared affection for Catwoman and Talia Al-Ghul), happiness (in being general behavior) and even carbs, something implied even a lithe, gymnastic hero like Nightwing enjoys. Bruce is so obsessed with justice that he resented his investigation being interrupted by Nite-MIte, an enormously powerful being who was clearly obsessed with his son.

Ultimately, Batman’s self-denial is well documented and joked about in DC’s own possessions. However, Nite-Mite, recognizing it as one of Batman’s few character aspects, implies that it goes deeper than many DC heroes realize. As Batman’s mental health continues to be played out in his own titles and referenced in others, fans are no doubt excited to see what will become of the Dark Knight’s fearless but fragile state of mind.


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