(January 2015 to June 2015)
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Eternal #43. A month has passed since Selina kidnapped Stephanie Brown. At the Egyptian Club, Selina interrogates Steph, finally revealing herself as her mystery captor. An hour later, Batman finally obtains a password to gain entry into Selina’s secret Egyptian Club, which is still in a hidden location. He then instructs Red Robin on a plan of action. Red Robin meets with Harper and tells her that she must get caught after curfew and use the password to gain entry to Selina’s club. Once inside, she will be body-scanned with a WayneTech device that will “ping” Batman her location. Two-and-a-half hours later, Selina is still chatting with Stephanie, who still won’t speak. Meanwhile, Harper, having been nabbed after hours and used the password, enters Selina’s club and gets scanned.
–Batman Vol. 2 #28
Batman breaks into the Egyptian Club and joins Harper. Julia sends the schematics of the building to Batman and Harper suits-up as Bluebird. Batman and Bluebird make their dramatic entrance and kick serious ass until Selina enters the room and everyone stands down. (This sequence is also shown in the continued flashback from Batman Eternal #43.) Selina argues with Batman and puts a bullwhip around his throat, but she eventually calms down and takes Batman and Bluebird to visit Stephanie.
–Batman Eternal #43-45
Stephanie, against her own wishes, is taken by Batman and placed in the safe custody of Harper and Cullen at their apartment. At nearly four in the morning, Stephanie finally breaks down and tells Harper that she saw the Big Bad—and that it’s none other than Bruce Wayne! Downtown, a jailed Ten-Eyed Man, Magpie, and Maxie Zeus all finger Professor Achilles Milo as the man they’d been working for. Batman authorizes a citywide manhunt for Milo and the Bat-Family is on it, except for Batwing, who finally begins exorcising his haunted apartment with a piece of nth metal he has just received from Batman. At Harper Row’s apartment, Spoiler tries to fight her way free, hoping to expose Bruce Wayne as the mastermind behind Gotham’s current state. Harper prevents her from leaving. Batman tracks Milo to the airport, where the villain tries to board a plane after a chemical assault on several people. Batman, with help from a drone, takes down Milo, but demonic ghouls, led by Mr. Bygone and the apparent spirits of Martha and Thomas Wayne, rise up from the ground to attack the Dark Knight. A sad Bygone blames the whole thing on Milo. Batman fends off the ghouls and takes Milo into custody, fleeing from GCPD at the same time. Meanwhile, Batwing continues punching ghosts at his apartment, which he’s been doing for three days now apparently. Jim Corrigan, having emerged from the sewers a day prior, visits Batwing. Batman calls them both with the news about Milo. After Corrigan interrogates Milo at the Gotham Cemetery, the heroes learn that Milo was in way over his head, using a magickal “dream” tome that allowed him to control the dead and open a portal for Deacon Blackfire. This occult power was given to him by a “dream bird.” But, as Corrigan explains, he couldn’t have done this by himself. The Big Bad is involved once again. Across town at the Row residence, Harper chats with Stephanie, but ultimately leaves her trapped inside the apartment with an electric gun set to automatically discharge should she move. Is it programmed to let her use the bathroom? In the Batcave, Julia shows Batman that most of Wayne Enterprises has been purchased by distinct group of various holding companies, all of which belong to Ra’s Al Ghul.
–Batman Eternal #46-48
January 20-23. In Gotham, Selina visits her dad at Blackgate, thinking that he’s been responsible for some black market shipments getting shipped through her dockside territory. Satisfied that he isn’t behind the shipments, she asks him to help her find out who is. In the Batcave, Julia gets harassed by Hush while tending to her sleeping dad. Meanwhile, Batman storms a League of Assassins stronghold in Karachi, Pakistan. After wailing on dozens of ninjas, Dr. Ebeneezer Darrk fills the corridor with a smoky drug, inducing a hallucinatory trip where Batman sees possible future versions of the Dark Knight, including himself from Futures End, Terry McGinnis, Dick Grayson, an adult 666-Damian, Paul Pope’s Year 100 Batman (!), and a bunch more. Lord Death Man attacks but is easily dispatched by Batman. Ra’s Al Ghul’s voice echoes through the chamber, lamenting that he was unable to synthesize Lord Death Man’s blood into a working “Lazarus fluid.” After entering a back room, Batman is stunned to see a feeble Ra’s Al Ghul, with IV lines feeding him, in a hospital bed. Ra’s explains that it took him weeks to crawl out of the ravine in Nanda Parbat (where we last saw him in Robin Rises). Ra’s Al Ghul isn’t the Big Bad. He wishes Batman well on his quest and sends him off. Back at Blackgate, Rex Calabrese gets Selina’s info from a snitch, learning that the Big Bad has been smuggling whatever the Joker’s Daughter, Mr. Freeze, Scarecrow, and Poison Ivy ask for, no matter how crazy or dangerous the items might be. Catwoman lights up her Bat-Signal, which Julia Pennyworth responds to, collecting the information about the Big Bad’s smuggling. Batman and Julia order the Bat Family to go on the offensive. Batwing fights Scarecrow. Red Robin fights Clayface. Bluebird stalks Mr. Freeze. Batgirl goes after Joker’s Daughter. And Red Hood walks into the middle of a Bane versus luchadors battle royale exhibition at a Gotham dive bar. Back at Harper’s apartment, Cullen Row chats with Stephanie Brown, who he has let out of Harper’s laser snare trap. Stephanie says they need to contact Vicki Vale. (NOTE: Vicki’s latest article is dated January 22, 2015, giving us the exact date.) In the Batcave, the a shadowy figure (SPOILER: It’s Lincoln March) arrives and frees Hush, who fires Julia out into Gotham Bay via a Bat-torpedo of sorts. Hush then ties-up and blindfolds Alfred while the March activates a self-destruct on the Batplane, sending the Dark Knight plummeting to the ground. Julia swims to the surface of the water to find Gotham ablaze. Meanwhile, Commissioner Bard meets with Mayor Sebastian Hady (incorrectly labeled “William” here, thus proving that these writers and editors clearly don’t give a shit about anything when it comes to this miserable unending mess of what can only jokingly be called a narrative) to plead Jim Gordon’s innocence. Hady turns a deaf ear and helicopters out of the city. At Blackgate, the Big Bad pulls his strings once again, offering Penguin his freedom and all of his money and power back. The Big Bad then orchestrates a full scale prison riot. Meanwhile, in the Batcave, Hush uses the Bat-computer to remotely mess with Bluebird, Batwing, and Red Robin as they fight the Arkham rogues. Hush also remotely detonates some incendiary devices that Red Hood had borrowed from the Batcave to use against Bane. And he squawks Batgirl’s earpiece to give her a disadvantage in battle. Concurrently, Batman crawls out of the Batplane wreckage, borrows an army jet and hightails it back downtown. Spoiler pays Vicki Vale a visit at the Gotham Gazette Building, dropping off a flash drive, before getting pulled out of the building by her dad, Cluemaster. In Blackgate, the riot spirals out of control. On orders from the Big Bad, Penguin and some Neo-Nazi inmates confront Jim Gordon.
–Batman Eternal #49-51
In Blackgate, Jim Gordon fights off Penguin’s goons and locks himself inside a cell with Penguin in order to interrogate him. Hush continues to remotely sabotage the Bat-Family as they continue to fight the Arkham villains. He also remotely sends a Batboat on a collision course with a cargo ship in Gotham Bay, but Julia Pennyworth is able to electronically stop the boat from Red Robin’s Nest. Alfred slips out of the Batcave holding cell and beats the crap out of a surprised Hush. Meanwhile, Spoiler ditches her dad. Not far afield, Batman flies downtown to help Red Hood defeat Bane. Meanwhile, Commissioner Bard, Harvey Bullock, and Maggie Sawyer help quell the GCPD riot as Penguin decides not to obey the Big Bad and flees thanks to assistance from Selina’s top man, Killer Croc. Batman then saves Batwing from Scarecrow and helps Bluebird take down Mr. Freeze. Across Gotham, Firefly starts burning everything in sight while traffic lights go wild and rats begin swarming out of the sewers. Batman saves Red Robin from Clayface and then goes to help Batgirl, but she’s already easily kayoed Joker’s Daughter. Commissioner Bard finally obtains Jim Gordon’s prison release and he rejoins the GCPD to help the crumbling city. The Big Bad sends a message telling Batman to meet him atop the Beacon Tower. There, Batman stands before the shattered Bat-Signal and gets shocked into unconsciousness by Cluemaster. Upon awakening, Bruce is chained to the Bat-Signal and Cluemaster unmasks him while monologuing about how he is the Big Bad and has been all along. (This monologue is also shown in the flash-forward from Batman Eternal #1.) Meanwhile, an exonerated Jim Gordon gives an inspiring pep talk to Commissioner Bard, who rallies his men to take back the city. The Bat-Family saves lives on the streets, but Spoiler decides it is best to get out of town. Atop the Beacon Tower, Batman breaks free of his chains but is too injured to put up a decent fight. Cluemaster batters Batman bloody and is about to kill him, but Lincoln March appears and slits the villain’s throat!
–Batman Eternal #52
Batman and Lincoln March fight while Jim Gordon organizes a bunch of Bat-Signals to be shone into the fiery night sky. Gordon then addresses the citizens of Gotham, rallying them to rise up and take back their city. Across the city, heroes, villains, and regular folks heed the call. The Bat Family—including Red Robin, Red Hood, Jim Gordon, Batgirl, Spoiler, Black Canary, Katana, Bluebird, Calvin Rose (with remote backup from Casey Washington), and Batwing—show up to help Batman send a scared March fleeing into the underground.
–Catwoman Vol. 4 Annual #2, Part 2
Eiko Hasigawa, noticing that Catwoman hasn’t been active in months, confers upon herself the mantle of the Cat and becomes the new Catwoman! In a homemade costume, Eiko secretly stalks Selina Kyle and Selina’s cousins Antonia Calabrese and Nick Calabrese as they continue to take over Gotham’s underworld. While Eiko tails Selina, Batman stops the new Catwoman dead in her tracks to introduce himself, saying that she might want to re-think her new line of work.
–Catwoman Vol. 4 #35
Let’s get caught up to speed. Ever since Rex “The Lion” Calabrese gave his daughter the keys to his criminal empire, Selina Kyle and her cousins (including consigliere Ward Calabrese) have made their mark on Gotham via typical mobster methods, while at the same time giving back to the community like Robin Hood. Selina recently united all of the other Gotham crime families, including the Yakuza-linked Hasigawa Family and the remnants of the Falcones, under the Calabrese umbrella. After meeting with Eiko Hasigawa, Selina brokered a strange partnership—not running guns into the city, but shipping them out instead. Cut to now. At a fancy ball held at the Gotham Art Museum, Batman discreetly visits with Selina and warns her that she is treading a dangerous path by consolidating and leading all of Gotham’s gangs. Just outside, Black Mask makes a sinister deal to insert himself back into the top crime playing field in Gotham.
–Catwoman Vol. 4 #38
Nick Calabrese recently turned out to be a police snitch, which prompted Selina to order his execution, carried out by Nick’s own sister Antonia. Now Selina daringly meets with Black Mask face-to-face, showing her brass balls as a mob boss. Later, Selina oversees her big deal that involves trading a large shipment of guns in exchange for heroin and cash. But unknown to the parties involved, Selina has secondary plans to get rid of the drugs. She warns Catwoman (Eiko Hasigawa) and her Yakuzas to stay clear of the harbor. Once her cash is made, Selina calls in an anonymous tip to Detective Carlos Alvarez. Batman swings up to the roof overlooking the docks with the intent of stopping Selina’s guns for drugs deal. Of course, it’s too late, but Selina and Batman fight anyway before Catwoman joins them to see what the fuss is about. Selina guides them both to watch as the cops rush in a make a bunch of busts, arresting all the heroin carriers, including Antonia. Selina has successfully made a ton of money while eliminating heroin and guns from the streets of Gotham. Later, Antonia is interrogated by Detective Alvarez and Detective Tammy Keys before being bailed out. (Tammy’s name is spelled both “Keys” and “Keyes” depending on the writer.) Across town, Black Mask meets with the other crime family heads and asks them to help him bring the Calabrese family down. After the meeting ends, one of the bosses meets with Penguin and fills him in. Penguin says that either Selina or Black Mask must die in order for the syndicate to be united. Meanwhile, a desultory Selina wanders into traffic, but gets pulled to safety by her brother Mason Calabrese.
–Catwoman Vol. 4 #40
Black Mask versus Selina Kyle has sparked a citywide gang war for total control of Gotham’s underworld–a war that includes the Calabreses, Falcones, Maronis, Penitente, Hasigawas, Forster Lane, Rileys, and GCPD. After positioning her pawns, Selina forms an alliance with Penguin. After chatting with Lewis (high ranking member of the Sons of Forster Lane), Selina tells Eiko to give up the mantle of Catwoman for her own safety. Later, Selina rescues Antonia from a murderous Mason, who unsurprisingly turns out to be one evil dude. Selina re-dons her old costume, letting Black Mask know that she’s ready for action. Selina also meets with a smirking Batman, letting him know that the real Catwoman is back! (Thus begins a period of time on our chronology where there are simultaneously two Catwoman—definitely not the first time this has happened in the history of DC Comics.)
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #39. Batman and Julia Pennyworth rig up all of the weapons and Bat-vehicles to detonate should they be removed from the Batcave by an outside force.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #35. Batman, Alfred, and Julia open up a new base of operations in one of the old Court of Owls penthouses.
–Batman Eternal #52 Epilogue
One week has passed since the main action of Batman Eternal #52. Jason Bard resigns as commissioner. Maggie Sawyer becomes the new commissioner. Bard then sits down for a tell-all interview with Vicki Vale, ready to clear his conscience in a public forum. Batman, having learned that Selina stole a bunch of stuff during the Batman Eternal finale, angrily confronts her about it while showing disapproval for her choice in company: Killer Croc and Penguin. Jim Corrigan and Batwing solidify their friendship as they finish exorcising the former site of Arkham Asylum. Corrigan, with Officer Lisa Drake at his side, invites Batwing to join the the “Midnight Shift” AKA Detailed Case Task Force, a police unit which he is currently “putting together.” (The DCTF has already existed for two years, originally created by Jim Gordon—as revealed in Gotham By Midnight #7. When Corrigan says “putting together” he simply means he is now in the process of recruiting a new lineup.) Batwing says he’ll think about it. Jim Gordon celebrates his freedom and new-found extra time by hanging with Babs. Jason rejoins Starfire and Arsenal. Stephanie moves in with Cullen and Harper Row. At the Row apartment, Red Robin shares a tender moment with Harper and then meets Stephanie—with sexual tension filling the air between them. Meanwhile, the Court of Owls, having captured March, puts him on deep freeze. Batman and Jim Gordon then team-up to take on Scarecrow, who unveils a new strand of Fear Toxin (the “Cassandra Strain” that we’ll see referenced at the beginning of “Endgame”).
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 Annual #1, Part 5. While battling Commissioner Gordon and Batman, Scarecrow is able to take a sample of the Dark Knight’s DNA, which he will save for his lady love Haunter.
–REFERENCE: In Gotham By Midnight #1. Batman meets with Jim Corrigan to discuss supernatural crimes in Gotham, specifically how Jim Gordon’s Detailed Case Task Force will respond to them. This current so-called “Midnight Shift” GCPD unit consists of Lieutenant Sam Weaver, Corrigan, Lisa Drake, forensics boffin Dr. Szandor Tarr, and Catholic nun consultant Sister Justine. NOTE: Don’t forget that Gordon approved and set up the Detailed Case Task Force two years ago, but Corrigan only recently began recruiting for the current incarnation of the DCTF (at the end of Batman Eternal #52).
–Gotham By Midnight #1
Batman meets with Jim Gordon and Detective Jim Corrigan to again discuss supernatural crimes in Gotham. Corrigan asks Batman to look into a recent high profile kidnapping case where the young Atwood girls were abducted and returned home quite shell-shocked, clearly affected by some evil spiritual force. While Batman gets some information on the Atwood case for Corrigan, Internal Affairs man Sergeant Rook visits Precinct 13, home of the DCTF, to audit their unbelievable cases. Batman then delivers the paper Atwood file to Corrigan (non-digital because electronics react poorly to his touch). Afterward, Corrigan, Lisa Drake, Sister Justine, Dr. Tarr, and the observing Rook visit the Atwood girls, who only speak in a bizarre arcane language. Corrigan and Rook then visit a haunted school house in Slaughter Swamp State Park where a ghoulish undead schoolmarm teaches a bunch of possessed kidnapped children.
–Gotham By Midnight #5
A massive Spectre wrestles a giant black demon god/collective spirit of a massacred Native American tribe known as Ikkondrid the Corpse (aka Ikkondrid the Betrayed) in the center of Downtown Gotham, prompting diffuse panic and an immediate firebombing response from Batman in the Batplane. The bomb does nothing to the towering demon except cause it to litter black flowers across the city and swat the Batplane to the ground. The Spectre is able to cause Ikkondrid to retreat into the swamp, but only after offering Sister Justine as a sacrifice. Afterward, Batman mourns with the saddened Midnight Shift crew.
–FLASHBACK: From Batgirl Vol. 4 #41. Livewire fights Superman in Metropolis once again. Batman and Batgirl assist Superman by building a containment unit that can hold Livewire. Defeated, she is re-jailed on Stryker’s Island.
–Harley Quinn: Road Trip Special #1
Harley Quinn has recently gotten re-acquainted with her mother (Sharon Quinzel) and taken a job working as a therapist at a Coney Island elderly home close to her Brooklyn residence. When Harley receives bad news that her uncle has died, she accepts her mom’s request to collect her uncle’s ashes and take them from Los Angeles to a cemetery in Long Island. Harley immediately calls up Poison Ivy, who is in the middle of fighting Batman atop a vine-covered Gotham skyscraper. Harley asks Poison Ivy to accompany her on a cross-country road trip, which Poison Ivy happily agrees to, leaving the tangled-up Batman behind. Catwoman is invited as well and also agrees to join the ladies. (The rest of the issue has zilch to do with Batman. It features the trio zig-zagging across the country for a week-and-a-half, briefly overlapping with the upcoming Bizarro mini-series.)
Is this canon? Maybe not. Who knows. Bizarro (of Bizarroworld, NOT a clone) has found himself stuck on Earth-0, so who better to show him around than Jimmy Olsen (who takes him across country on a road trip in an attempt to score a book deal by shooting photos of the backwards Man of Steel). After dispatching King Tut and his daughter Queen Tut in Smallville, the strange duo goes to Gotham to eat at a Batman-themed fast food restaurant. There, Batman bonks Bizarro on the noggin with a couple Batarangs while chasing after an escaped Riddler. Jimmy and Bizarro then go on a whirlwind tour of eight more famous DCU cities.
–Justice League Goes Inside the NBA: All Star Edition 2015
February 15. As they were last year, the Justice League is invited to participate in a charity event as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend. Last year, Batman didn’t attend, but this year he does. Former basketball stars pick heroes gym-class-style to compete in a race from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden. Like the non-athletic fat kid, Batman actually gets picked last and gets partnered with Kenny Smith. After a quick race that involves various life-saving stops across New York City, the duos of Superman and Shaquille O’Neal, Flash and Charles Barkley, and Wonder Woman and Ernie Johnson (who borrowed Steve Trevor’s invisible jet) all claim victory at MSG. But a smirking Kenny Smith and Batman emerge from the arena, having already arrived and received winning medals minutes before. Never choose Batman last.
–REFERENCE: In Robin War #1. Technically, this vague noodle incident reference could be attached to literally dozens of stories, so feel free to disregard. Batman simply saves a random woman while patrolling.
While Superman, Supergirl, Steel, and Krypto help divert some lost orcas out of Metropolis Bay, a new blazing fast and nearly undetectable super-villain strikes, killing one of the whales and badly injuring Steel and Krypto. Ditto for a Superman impersonator at a children’s hospital, who them mystery person kills just to get under the Man of Steel’s skin. Batman and Superman question the kids at the hospital and determine that the mystery killer’s weapon is a speedy drone the size of a mosquito but powerful enough to punch a hole in a tank. But who is the killer? At the Batcave, Batman says Superman now has “a Joker,” prompting Superman to ask Batman if he’s killed the still-missing Joker. The Dark Detective and the Man of Steel then try to determine who “Superman’s Joker” could possibly be, quickly ruling out Hector Hammond. The mystery villain then takes over the Bat Computer and speaks directly to the heroes, mocking them by showing live camera feeds of all of Clark’s closest friends. The villain then simultaneously somehow attacks both Lex Luthor and pop star Glory Miau (Felicity Regan), and disrupts a peace conference in Kahndaq by executing armistice broker General Ahmad. (Superman knew both Ahmad and Glory personally.) Superman rushes to Metropolis and saves Lex’s life. Lex, along with bodyguard Hope Taya, explains that the attack on him and concurrent assassinations all serve to shatter global morale, cripple first world economies, keep the Middle East at war, and cause “tangentially related mortalities.” Superman immediately flies to Kahndaq and single-handedly stops the war from re-escalating by forcing back troop movements and smashing up tanks. Superman then flies to South Korea and joins a candlelight vigil being held in Glory’s honor. Superman then travels with Batman to an undersea STAR Labs containment cell at the bottom of the Atlantic, home to Hector Hammond. Superman questions Hammond, who uses his telepathy to determine that the only person capable of doing such attacks currently on the planet is in Metropolis. Superman rushes home to find the man in question tangling with police. The Man of Steel meets Lobo for the first time and they fight! (This svelte Lobo has killed the other old-school Lobo and replaced him, claiming that he is the one true Lobo. However, nobody really knows who the real Lobo is. I’d wager a bet that young Lobo, despite claiming to be the real one, is actually the faker. Also, it’s not so easy to kill real Lobo. He ain’t really dead.) After Batman determines that this Lobo isn’t the culprit, Superman tosses him into outer space. Batman decides the only way to flush out the real killer is to use the person Superman loves the most as inducement. Acting on intuition, Batman visits Lois Lane, who spills the beans on her close relationship with and long reciprocated affection for the Man of Steel. Meanwhile, a desperate Superman goes to reboot the Fortress of Solitude’s crystal AI brain early, but Supergirl stops him, citing that an early reboot could kill it. Batman contacts Zatanna and gets her to cast a short communication-protection spell that allows him to radio Superman without the mystery villain listening in for a few minutes. From the Catskills, Batman and Lois begin their plan. Knowing that the villain is listening, master tactician Batman tells Superman that he is using Lois as bait. Sure enough, the invisible murderer arrives, but switches gears and blasts Batman in the chest instead. A luck would have it, Batman is wearing a Kryptonite vest under his costume and the invisible villain, revealed to be a tiny Kandorian named Kan Ko, is killed on impact. The Atom examines the corpse of Kan Ko inside SHADE’s Ant Farm. There, Superman and Supergirl marvel at the fact that Kan Ko was not only awake (since all Kandorians are comatose), but that Kan Ko was acting as an evil murder machine as well. With the aid of Batman’s tracking devices, the Atom is able to locate the bottle city of Kandor in Iceland. (Kandor had previously been lost after Superman: Doomed.) Unknown to our heroes, Tali Zar and a bunch of Kandorian soldiers have come awake and are evil to the core as well—all controlled by some mysterious force.
The Atom shrinks down Superman, Supergirl, and Batman so they can enter Kandor, which is war-torn and filled with zombified Kryptonian soldiers. After viewing a holographic video that shows a false history of Krypton’s demise where the House of El was evil and Superman was responsible for trapping everyone in Kandor instead of Brainiac, Superman soon learns that all of the mind-warped Kandorians now think this false history to be the unvarnished truth. After fighting to the top of an onyx tower, the mystery Big Bad is finally revealed: The Phantom King, Xa-Du. He unleashes a mind-controlled Mara-Van and Dame Kila-Van (Superman’s aunt and grandmother on his mother’s side) and Tali Zar on the heroes. The Supers are less inclined to fight their family members and friends, but Batman whips out his handheld red sun generator on grandma right away. When the device barely registers an impact, Batman is blasted with heat rays and seemingly killed. An angry Superman takes matters into his own hands and turns into a power-suppressing bomb by smashing it. All of the Kandorians lose their powers and Batman reemerges (having shrunken down even further) with Lois Lane to send Xa-Du back into the Phantom Zone using the Atom’s tech. All of the citizens of Kandor are purged of their false memories and crazed “living death” brainwashing, except, tragically, a select few including Superman’s relatives and Supergirl’s friend, who all remain evil and psychotic. Those still afflicted by Xa-Du’s curse are put into induced comas. Superman wraps this case by visiting Felicity Regan, who is recovering from her attack by the mini-Kandorians.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #35-36. With Dr. Ray Palmer’s help, Batman builds “red giant knuckles”—microscopic red suns, harvested from dead planetary systems, designed to neutralize Superman. These red sun knuckles are added to Batman’s monster anti-JL war-bot, a weapon to be used against the JL should they ever require neutralization. (The recent proven weakness of the handheld red sun generator—and proven efficacy of a bigger bang version—surely would have given Batman cause to harvest more red sun power with Palmer’s assistance.) Thus, with the addition of the knuckles, the anti-JL mech is finally fully completed. For another touch, Batman and Alfred invent “Kryptonite chewing gum,” a synthetic rubber polymer laced with Kryptonite dust, which goes into the war-bot’s helmet as a final anti-Man of Steel fail-safe. And last but not least, Batman also devises “Plan Fenfir,” which, if necessary, calls for gas-bombing downtown Gotham to clear it into an empty “arena” in which to fight his opponents using the war-bot.
–Superman Vol. 3 #38
Twenty-five years ago, scientists Bridget Quinn and Peter Quinn, fearing the destruction of Earth was imminent, sent their only son, Neil, into the unknown realm of the Fourth Dimension. When Neil’s adopted Fourth Dimensional planet began to crumble, the now super-powered Neil (now called Ulysses), returned to Earth with the intention of sacrificing millions to save his adopted home. Of course, Superman wasn’t cool with that and the Fourth Dimensional “Great World” was effaced. Cut to now. Superman fights Ulysses amid the ruins of the Great World and then back in Metropolis, Earth-0. In a depopulated area outside of the city, Superman blasts Ulysses with his heat vision for such a strained, extended interval of time that the Man of Steel’s entire body erupts like a nuclear explosion, knocking-out Ulysses. Superman goes unconscious as well and is retrieved by Batman, who brings him into the Batcave to get healed up. In the morning, Batman details the medical tests and describes Superman’s new “super flare” ability, an evolution of his heat vision. Batman also warns Superman that every time he uses the “super flare” he will be powerless for twenty-four hours afterward. Bruce gives Clark a lift to Metropolis where the latter visits Ulysses at Stryker’s Island Prison. Later that day, Clark turns in a Daily Planet article (he’s recently returned to his old job there) and has lunch with Jimmy Olsen, who reveals that he’s given every penny of a multi-billion dollar inheritance to charity. Clark then reveals to Jimmy his secret identity as Superman!
–Batman/Superman Annual #2
The Phantom King, despite being trapped in the Phantom Zone, is able to use his telepathic ability to make Bane, Killer Croc, and Cheshire (Jade Nguyen) each obsessed with murdering Clark Kent. Clark is currently on assignment, writing a story in the Bahamas about the site of the initial Doomsday Virus battleground. The chain of small islands, for months now, has been like Chernobyl—a cordoned-off radioactive danger zone. When military tests in the area cause a resurgent outbreak of the Doomsday Virus, Superman uses his super flare technique to clear the poison. While this paroxysm of energy eliminates the virus, it shuts off Superman’s powers for the next 24 hours. Unlucky for Clark, Bane, Killer Croc, and Cheshire (with a bunch of League of Assassins man-bat ninjas) make their assassination attempt. Batman rescues Clark with some help from native Bahamians Robbie and Janice, but with the Batplane down thanks to the super flare, they are trapped on the island. The foursome successfully fends-off their attackers until Robbie betrays them to Bane, which results only in Bane immediately killing him anyway. Bane then chases after the powerless Clark. Batman, sensing that the villains are being controlled by an outside force, rides Killer Croc like a pony, tricking the raging hulk to fight Bane for the right to kill Clark. Bane and Croc fight each other right off a cliff before shaking off their mind-control and disappearing into the jungle. Batman tows a captured Cheshire and her man-bats back to the States. From the Phantom Zone, the Phantom King uses one more little telepathic suggestion to make Janice stab Clark with a knife! (Curiously, there is no ending to this story, so we must simply assume that Clark is fine.)
–NOTE: In The New 52: Futures End #47. Batman Tim Drake (from an alternate future timeline) time-travels with his sentient computer assistant ALFRED, appearing here and now on our primary timeline with intentions of destroying Brother Eye to prevent his evil rule in the future. Tim has taken over the mantle of the Bat from his deceased predecessor (an alt-version of Batman Terry McGinnis from 2050 of the same horrible alt-future). Along with the costume, Tim accepts Terry’s mission to stop Brother Eye from taking over the world, which the AI was able to do on their timeline with the assistance of the über version of Brainiac. (If you will think back to one year ago in Justice League International Annual #1, Brother Eye, under the influence of Brainiac, threatened he would eventually do some devious deed. Despite this looming threat, at this point Brother Eye is ostensibly under the control of Mr. Terrific, although, Brainiac would want it to seem that way.) While Tim struggles inside Brother Eye’s satellite body, Mr. Terrific leads thousands of refugees from Earth-2, all victims of a Darkseid assault, into the safety of space with the promise that Brother Eye can open an escape portal to Earth-0. Tim tells Brother Eye what is going on, including the fact that, on his timeline, the Earth-2 refugees landing on Earth-0 was a seminal moment that led to the downward spiral that would eventually see Brother Eye destroy the planet. Brother Eye agrees to bar the Earth-2 refugees from Earth-0 by ignoring Mr. Terrific and cloaking himself. Brother Eye also agrees to self-destruct in order to prevent the dark future from happening. ALFRED doesn’t fully trust Brother Eye so he secretly injects him with a failsafe Veil virus that will offer them some cloaking protection, should Brother Eye trick them—(as mentioned in Batman Beyond Vol. 7 #3). Brother Eye self-destructs, thus seemingly preventing the dark future, simultaneously saving Tim and ALFRED by sending them thirty-five years into the future. NOTE: As per The New 52: Futures End #48 and Batman Beyond Vol. 7 #0, Brother Eye does blow himself up, but the trickery afoot. He survives within Mr. Terrific’s Terrifitech headquarters and continues on, posing as a harmless subservient AI to the unknowing Mr. Terrific. Thus, a version of the evil Brother Eye future will eventually still come to pass.
The über-god Brainiac has “collected” hundreds of cities from previously erased timelines by literally digging them up and putting an impenetrable energy dome around them shortly before they disappeared from existence. These cities have been placed onto the sentient planet Telos, which resides outside of time and space. With über Brainiac defeated and captured (as seen in The New 52: Futures End), Telos took his own initiative and forced all of the hijacked cities to war against one another. Deimos (from a pre-Flashpoint Skartaris) has bested Telos and taken control of the living planetoid and all of his inhabitants. Cut to now. Deimos pilots Telos through the Bleed and into Universe-0, an act which immediately registers an alarm with the Justice League United (Martian Manhunter, Animal Man, Stargirl, Adam Strange, and Equinox). J’onn quickly alerts the Justice League. Superman assembles a task force consisting of Supergirl, Captain K’rot, Green Lantern Jediah Caul, Blue Beetle, and a bunch of Red Lanterns (including a resurrected Zilius Zox). This task force, along with the giant watcher-god Oracle, all stand at attention as Telos comes into full view in deep space. Also monitoring the situation from afar are a rejuvenated non-emanation über Darkseid, the Guardians of the Universe, and Superjudge Nix Uotan! (Darkseid makes mention that Telos matters little to him since he is preparing to go to war against the Anti-Monitor. Of course, his war against the Anti-Monitor won’t actually happen for about nine months.) Meanwhile, on Telos, a grand battle between those allied with Deimos versus a conglomerate of heroes has begun. After scaring off the pre-Zero Hour Extremists, a bunch of displaced heroes from the Modern Age and from the current Earth-2 unite under the leadership of pre-Flashpoint Superman (Modern Age Superman/Clark Kent) and Earth-2 Superman (Val-Zod). Earth-2 Flash (Jay Garrick) meets the pre-Crisis Earth-1 Flash (Silver Age Barry Allen). With the encouragement of Modern Age Superman, Earth-2 Dick Grayson appeals to Telos’ humanity and brokers a peace with him. Telos assembles an army of heroes from various previously deleted chronologies (including timelines from Silver Age Earth-1, Silver Age Earth-4, pre-Flashpoint Earth-0, Silver Age 30th century, and more). This gaggle of warriors, including the pre-Crisis Earth-1 Batman (Silver Age Batman), attacks Deimos head-on. But Deimos already has an army of villains from various previously deleted chronologies (including timelines from Flashpoint, Kingdom Come, pre-Zero Hour Angor, Silver Age Earth-3, and more) at his disposal. A burst of energy erupts from Telos, scaring Earth-0’s heroes (along with the Oracle) out of their wits. Earth-0 Superman rescues Stormwatch members Apollo and Engineer. Earth-0 Superman, Earth-0 Supergirl, and Earth-0 J’onn then see a vision of their prior incarnations flash before their eyes. On Telos, the battle rages on as Telos himself battles Deimos. Yolanda Montez (of Earth-2) tells everyone that Deimos wants to steal everyone’s power by killing them all, including the villains too. This news causes the villains to join with the heroes to fight against Deimos. The pre-Zero Hour Hal Jordan (Parallax Hal Jordan) swiftly executes Deimos. Unfortunately, this act releases all of the time-energy that Deimos has pilfered. A flash of electric red lightning spiderwebs through space. The Oracle crumbles and declares that all reality is breaking apart.
–REFERENCE: In Convergence #8. Seemingly unable to prevent the collapse of the multiverse, Universe-0’s heroes, including Batman, return to their homes to be with their families and loved ones. The über Brainiac, coming to his senses, retakes control of Telos and sends a few heroes—the pre-Flashpoint (Modern Age) Earth-0 Superman, pre-Flashpoint (Modern Age) Earth-0 Lois Lane-Kent, their baby son Jonathan Samuel Kent (conceived and born under the dome), pre-Crisis (Silver Age) Earth-1 Flash, pre-Crisis (Silver Age) Earth-1 Supergirl, and pre-Zero Hour Hal Jordan—on a mission back to the original Silver Age/Golden Age Crisis. Their mission is to change the history of the Crisis so that it didn’t cause multiversial collapse. After the heroes complete their mission, Brainiac is able to return every displaced person to his or her correct time and timeline, shortly before they were gathered up and domed by Brainiac in the first place (thus effectively cancelling out their time spent under the domes). Everyone going back where they belong effectively halts the destruction of the multiverse and “resets” it back to normal. In Telos #1, Brainiac refers to this “pressing of the reset button” as also having the effect of “realigning the Infinite Earths Timeline,” which is his way of saying that it returned the entirety of DC’s current New Age multiverse(s) back to status quo. However, some rather outrageous anomalies do remain. For instance, as seen in Convergence #8 but further fleshed out in Superman: Lois & Clark #1, immediately after the hero squad alters the original Crisis to “reset” continuity (basically erasing the Modern Age, as will be explained below), Brainiac allows these heroes to travel to any place of their choosing on the current New Age timeline. Thus, Modern Age Superman and Modern Age Lois, unable to go to an erased Modern Age and hoping to preserve their baby son’s existence, go to early Year One of this very timeline where they take alternate identities and live a relatively quiet and secretive life with baby Jon. Silver Age Flash, Silver Age Supergirl, and pre-Zero Hour Parallax Hal Jordan disappear into points unknown. But what are the ramifications of all this insanity!? Since the story is so bizarrely poorly constructed, ignoring both the physical parameters of narrative continuity and the Many Worlds Interpretation of physics by which the DC Omniverse has generally operated under for decades, we have two real options, neither of which are particularly satisfying—although, the Real Batman Chronology Project has reluctantly given in and accepted the former option, which will be explained presently. OPTION ONE: By going back to fight in the original Crisis and then choosing to live in the New Age, Modern Age Superman, Modern Age Lois, pre-Zero Hour Hal, Silver Age Supergirl, and Silver Age Flash cause the massive incomprehensible erasure/upheaval of the Modern Age timeline. OPTION TWO: These heroes become mere copies of their former selves in order to NOT mess up any prior timelines. If you should choose to subscribe to the latter copy idea, then we’d need to include the creation of those copies here and now as part of our narrative synopsis.
–Justice League of America Vol. 4 #1-3 (“POWER AND GLORY”)
Our story supposedly starts on June 17, but this merely coincides with the publication date of the first issue and should not be taken at face value since we are actually in May. At the Daily Planet offices, Clark and Lois exchange witty banter before Clark departs to attend a meeting in New York City with the Infinity Corporation, which is aware of his secret ID as Superman. In New York, Superman meets Alexis Martin and Vincent, super-scientists that show him a very disturbing scene—a pile of over sixty dead Supermen from alternate future timelines that have all been destroyed. (SPOILER: The Infinity Corp crew is from the future and Alexis Martin is actually Alexis Luthor, Lex’s daughter.) Superman watches in horror as yet another Superman appears through a portal and dies. Vincent is able to show this horrific scene thanks to a connection to the magickal Kryptonian “Stones of Forever.” Vincent explains that the fatal fate of the other universes will happen to Universe-0 as well, so they must find a way to prevent it. Vincent tells Superman to retire to ensure that he will live and thus further ensure humanity’s continued existence. Superman scoffs at this idea. Meanwhile, Aquaman speaks before the UN, reaffirming that his people will still stay isolated from humanity. He departs early to meet with a mysterious emissary (one of many Dwalu aka “Prophets of Rao”) that heralds news of the coming of a god. In Metropolis, the Justice League (sans Superman and Aquaman) converges on a power plant where an anonymous invitation claims that lives will be lost. There, Parasite is unleashed by Jane Jones (a member of the Infinity Corporation). The villain kicks-ass and grows to large proportions before Superman joins his teammates and helps defeat him. The JL immediately Booms to New York only to find the Infinity Corporation’s HQ completely vanished as if it had never existed. (The HQ can travel through time to hide itself. This is key, but we’ll come back to it.) Shortly thereafter, in the sky above Manhattan, a massive spacecraft appears. Out of the craft emerges a Kryptonian claiming to be the great sun god Rao. Rao instantly sheds an anodyne aura over everybody present, especially Superman. All across New York, people instantly begin feeling deep love and affection and even the blind begin to see. With Superman loyally at his side, Rao begins sending out a message of peace and prosperity. His Prophets begin healing all the sick in every hospital in the city. While Batman and Cyborg return to the Batcave to figure out more about the Infinity Corporation and also where Barry, Hal, and Diana have disappeared to, a star-struck Superman introduces Rao to a bunch of world leaders, including President Obama. A day later, Rao holds a mass gathering inside one of his many massive “cathedral” ships. Everyone is very impressed and open to Rao’s incursion on Earth, except for the skeptics, Batman, Cyborg, and Aquaman. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman wakes up in the decimated ruins of Olympus, from which all the Greco-Roman gods have fled. Simultaneously, Flash and Green Lantern wind up on Krypton 250,000 years in the past where they engage with primitive Kryptonian warriors. Eventually, Flash gets sucked to 1961 New York City by the Infinity Corporation, which has hidden its secret mobile-time-traveling HQ in that era. Days after his arrival, Rao terraforms all of Africa into a verdant fertile landscape and overthrows every single corrupt government on the continent, before threatening an uneasy UN. While Batman surveils Rao’s first convert, a former convict named Arthur Spinks, he also tells Superman about his distrust of the whole scenario. On ancient Krypton, the Kryptonian army settles, recognizing Hal as a benevolent Green Lantern. They offer to take him to Rao.
POWER AND GLORY Continued…
————————––Justice League of America Vol. 4 #4
————————––Justice League of America Vol. 4 #7-8
Batman delivers detailed Superman files to Cyborg and his dad Silas Stone, ordering them to work on an important “Kryptonian Protocols” project. Meanwhile, a shaken Superman hands over a vial of his own blood to the Stones to test for any abnormalities. Batman, using his superior methods of surveillance and detection, learns about Superman’s blood sample as soon as he drops it off. Meanwhile, the UN unanimously votes to open all national borders to Rao. Batman knocks-out Arthur Spinks and takes him to Gotham General Hospital, hoping to run him through a catscan to figure out Rao’s secret healing powers. A snarky doctor that Batman once saved, Dr. Anisa Williams, catches Batman in the act, but agrees to help run a full gamut of tests on Spinks. Meanwhile, on Ancient Krypton, a time-lost Hal Jordan meets with Rao, much more level-headed than the man he will become in a quarter of a million years (and looking quite frail and wizened as well). Ancient Rao, appearing as a 300-year-old pope-like sacerdotal figure, informs the Green Lantern of a civil war between Kandor and Argo. The feeble old Rao asks the Green Lantern to accompany him on a peacekeeping mission to Argo. But before they depart, Rao is gifted youthful energy from his Prophets, immediately turning into the handsome and healthy Rao that we are familiar with. The duo travels to Argo only to find the Infinity Corporation’s HQ, which has just appeared from 1961. Inside, Hal and ancient Rao (aka good Rao) run into evil Rao, who, as we learn in Justice League of America Vol. 4 #8-9, has discovered the Infinity Corporation and learned about Earth, Superman, and another set of stones—the “Stones of Life”—just prior to his first arrival on Earth at the outset of this series. (In fact, it is by this ultimate time paradox that evil Rao has garnered so much extra power and the concept of invading Earth in the first place.) Evil Rao remarks on how he has no recollection of this memory occurring, meaning that a new timeline is being forged due to his temporal finagling. Evil Rao, despite his younger self’s protests, de-powers and throws Green Lantern in a jail cell. On present day Earth, Batman gets Spinks’ results back and learns that Rao’s healing powers are genetically rewiring humans to feel more love and happiness. Cyborg and Dr. Stone relay the results of Superman’s blood test to the Man of Steel. All Kryptonian DNA, including Superman’s, has been genetically reprogrammed in the ancient past (by Rao), specifically in such a way that it made them all more susceptible to the influence of Rao’s indoctrination. At the hospital, one of Rao’s Prophets attacks, prompting Batman and Dr. Williams to flee. In the Fortress of Solitude, Rao and his Prophets angrily confront Superman, fight him, and capture him. Rao’s Prophets also take over Atlantis and expel Aquaman. Batman then has Cyborg hack into one of the Prophets’ staffs. Cyborg sees that all the floating cathedrals are linked to billions of humans and that Rao is harnessing energy from this network of humanity via the combination of the “Stones of Forever” and the “Stones of Life.” Dr. Williams and Dr. Silas Stone deduce that Rao’s tranquil humans are being harvested to give Rao power and immortality. Their healthy and happy state is forced and fatal. Dr. Williams also reveals that defibrillation can sever Rao’s link. Elsewhere, Wonder Woman uses her God of War powers to instantly rebuild all of Olympus. Meanwhile, Rao gloats at a restrained Superman inside one of the cathedrals. Rao tells Superman he will turn all humans into Kryptonians in order to harvest more powerful energy. While the captive Superman is lectured-to, he is secretly contacted by Batman and Cyborg, who initiate a plan to stop Rao and tell Superman to distract the villain. Batman sets up a battlefield at the ruins of the power plant in Metropolis and visits Parasite to offer him freedom if he helps the good guys out. Despite being restrained, Superman is able to use his vast strength to vibrate the cathedral and send it crashing—with both he and Rao inside—into the moon. Superman begins beating the crap out of Rao, but Rao reminds him that he is linked to millions of humans, each of whom feel pain if he feels pain. Unable to fight back, Rao gains the upper hand until Aquaman and Wonder Woman intervene. Batman and Cyborg open a Boom Tube and the heroes push Rao through to the power plant site where Parasite is waiting. He grabs Rao and begins draining his power while Cyborg, Dr. Stone, and Dr. Williams charge up super-electric emitters. Flash, Alexis Martin, and Vincent reappear from the Infinity Corporation’s out-of-time HQ just in time to see Cyborg activate the emitters, which sends a massive electronic shockwave directly through both Rao and Superman (who holds him still). This essentially defibrillates all of Rao’s followers, disconnecting them from his link, but seemingly killing Superman as well. Parasite asks about his promised freedom, to which Batman curb-stomps him and says, “I lied.” Brutal.
–Justice League of America vol. 4 #9-10 (“POWER AND GLORY” Continued…)
A de-powered Hal Jordan sits in an ancient Kryptonian jail cell for two weeks while evil Rao, still from before this arc even began, visits and commiserates with his younger self from ancient times. Back on Earth, in the present, the Infinity Corp members and the Justice League mourn the apparent death of Superman, who has stopped breathing for over fifteen minutes. Wonder Woman calls down a thunder bolt from the heavens that revives Superman. Evil Rao uses the power of the Stones to move ancient Krypton next to modern day Earth. As evil Rao’s minions rise up to attack, good Rao, whose respect for Hal Jordan has only grown since meeting him, tells evil Rao that the Green Lantern will save the day. Re-powered Hal joins his teammates. Silas Stone and STAR Labs, having built two giant anti-Kryptonian mechs (and an army of mini-mech drones) as part of Batman’s Kryptonian Protocols project, sends the machines to the Justice League. As a quarter million ancient Kryptonian Dwalu warriors descend upon Earth, the JL and the drones face them in combat. Cyborg, Vincent, Jane, Alexis, and Batman—in a bat-winged mech—fly to ancient Krypton to access the Forever Stones. Meanwhile, the two Raos go down to Earth to confront Superman. The Infinity Corps team is able to use the Forever Stones to temporarily speed up time around the sun, turning it into a red giant. This causes all the Dwalu to lose their superpowers. Angered at what his future self has done, young Rao murders old Rao in a suicide reminiscent of an act Carter Nichols did to himself way back in Batman #700. Old Rao, using the Forever Stones, returns Krypton (along with himself and the Dwalu) to the its correct place in time and space. The Forever Stones and Life Stones come together where they will be stored inside Infinity Corps HQ. The JL has won the day, but Vincent remarks that his premonition from earlier will still happen. Superman is going to die. It’s true. The Man of Steel will be dead in less than a year. But we’ll get to that when we get to it.
–REFERENCE: In solicitations for cancelled Justice League of America Vol. 4 #11-12 and cancelled Justice League of America Vol. 4 Annual #1. The last three issues of Bryan Hitch’s Justice League of America Vol. 4, facing huge delays, was outright cancelled, leaving only covers and solicitations. Based upon the covers and solicits, here what goes down in the immediate aftermath of “Power and Glory.” After defeating Rao, a mystery villain takes control of Hal Jordan’s power ring and uses the Green Lantern as a weapon against his friends. Hal regains control over his powers, but not before the mystery villain releases a bunch of JL foes from prison. The JL defeats them all and saves the day.
–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 3 #40. Superman begins testing his super flare technique in the most remote locations on Earth. Batman becomes his taxi service, picking him up after he becomes de-powered. These tests will start now, happening randomly (but invisibly) on our timeline below, and continue through Superman Vol. 3 #40.
–Superman Vol. 3 #40
Batman picks up Superman in the Batplane after Superman tests the limits of his super flare technique in Outer Mongolia. Twenty four hours later, testing continues aboard the Watchtower before Superman sets-off another super flare (as also shown in a single panel flashback from Superman/Wonder Woman #18). Superman learns that his ability to fly has permanently disappeared! He can now only “jump buildings in a single bound” just like in the early 1940s. After that, Clark gets dinner with Bruce, Diana, Arthur, and Barry. Without any powers, Clark gets drunk for the first time ever! Cyborg checks in and tells Bruce that the super flares can power the entire Watchtower. The next day, Superman—still not 100% recharged and with his power actually fading even more—takes on three crooks with high-tech weaponry. Superman defeats the bad guys but gets a bruised and bloodied. Shortly thereafter, Lois Lane spots a bruised up Clark and realizes that he is Superman!
–Superman Vol. 3 #43
Superman wakes up at Lois Lane’s apartment, having recently super flared to destroy a complex run by the crime syndicate/Google-esque tech company Hordr. Lois, Jimmy Olsen, and Condesa (an ex-Hordr employee)—who all know Superman’s secret ID now—nurse Clark back to health, but his powers remain diminished. Lois and Clark have a heart-to-heart before the leader of Hordr, Hordr_Root, delivers a remote message—he has video of Clark changing into Superman, which he will publicly release, exposing the Man of Steel’s secret ID to the world—and ultimatum—unless the Man of Steel shows up at a remote desert Hordr base doubling as a metahuman torture facility. Superman complies, taking Lois along with him. There, Superman turns himself over to Hordr custody and is strapped into a chair, forced to use his super flare while Quarmer robots analyze the energy blast for evil purposes. Meanwhile, Lois sneaks in and, seeing Superman forced to comply, decides the only way to save him and stop Hordr from analyzing the flare is by simply releasing the video footage exposing Clark herself. With Hordr’s blackmail vanished, Superman trashes the Quarmers and destroys the facility. The whole world instantly knows that Clark is Superman. The Justice League watches uncomfortably—especially Batman—as the video goes viral. A pissed-off Superman tells-off Lois and leaps away just as Sam Lane and US Army helicopters swarm overhead.
–REFERENCE: In Robin War #1. This really could go anywhere. Batman, in conversation with both Red Robin and Red Hood, refers to Red Robin as “the smart Robin.”
–DC Sneak Peek: Cyborg
Batman, Wonder Woman, and Shazam assist Cyborg in a fight against the cyber-suit-wearing Tekbreakers and their vicious little-bastard hairy henchmen. The interdimensional Tekbreakers claim that Cyborg has stolen technology from them and that his death will ensure the salvation of millions. During the fight, one Tekbreaker’s helmet comes off revealing a human teenager underneath. Another Tekbreaker chops Cyborg’s arm off while another stabs Cyborg to death before the villains all teleport away. Mere seconds after being killed, an unknown operating system activates within Cyborg and brings him back to life. Cyborg is immediately endowed with a brand new techno-organic body! (Note that all of this is a precursor to an invasion by the bizarre Technosapiens, who are the ones responsible for providing Cyborg with his new body.)
–FLASHBACK: From Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #2, Part 4. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Power Ring, and Deadman team-up to fight The Galactic Golem. Superman uses his “super flare” technique to defeat the creature.
–second feature to Detective Comics Vol. 2 #50
Batman and Superman swap stories about their past in order to see who has had stranger adventures. Despite the alien nature of Superman’s affairs, Batman has had plenty of weird ones.
–FLASHBACK: From Cyborg #9. This flashback starts 45 days before the main action of Cyborg #9 and lasts a lengthy 22 days. Cyborg has recently thwarted the Technosapien invasion, the side-effects of which have resulted in the creation of a bunch of new Cyborg-like metahumans. In response, Congress proposes the Cybernetic Regulation Act, which will detain, register, and legalize experimentation on said metahumans. With the NSA already kidnapping these folks before the Cybernetic Regulation Act has even passed, a panicked Cyborg meets with the Justice League to discuss a plan of action. Five days later, Cyborg meets with Batman in the Batcave to tell him that a private company called Cyber-Tech has been lobbying hard for the passing of the Act and has also been directly involved in capturing metahumans. After hacking into government files regarding the Act, Cyborg shows Batman the files, which prove that all metahumans with cybernetics will have to have them replaced with regulation technology, all of which will be manufactured by Cyber-Tech and contain an override control chip capable of fully controlling its user. With all of this firmly in mind, Batman and Cyborg come up with a plan should the Act come to fruition. Their plan involves Cyborg taking a dive and getting arrested and detained so as to infiltrate one of Cyber-Tech’s detainment camps. Sure enough, the Act passes in Congress ten days later. Cyborg relays the plan he has concocted with Batman to the rest of the Justice League. The JL doesn’t like Batman’s risky plan, but they vow to back Cyborg no matter what. (It won’t be another 27 days before Cyborg’s plan is initiated and he gets arrested and detained.)
–Aquaman Vol. 7 #47-48
The monster folk of the secret interdimensional land of Thule attack all over the planet, including Amnesty Bay, Maine, where a dethroned Aquaman has been exiled to. Aquaman defends his adopted surface home alongside Wonder Woman, who is wearing her new more-covered-up long-sleeved alternate costume. The Thule attack prompts the Justice League to descend upon Amnesty Bay to help in the fight. The JL learns, from Aquaman’s spy Extriax, that the current ruler of Atlantis, Aquaman’s girlfriend Mera, is actually an evil impostor—Mera’s evil sister Hila (aka Siren). The real Mera is actually being held prisoner in Atlantis’ dungeons. Across the bay, the Atlantean superhero team known as The Drift—Swatt, Tula, Murk, and Garth (formerly Aqualad)—spies on the heroes. While Aquaman challenges the fake Mera’s troops deep in Atlantis, the rest of the JL travels into Thule to fight goblins, orcs, and other beasts. The Lord of the Rings-style clash even involves Batman riding a dragon. Meanwhile, the Drift confronts and tries to arrest Aquaman, who tries to tell them they are working for a fake Mera. The Drift sees the error of its ways when Mera escapes from her prison and expels her evil sis. Aquaman, Mera, and the Drift then fight against Thule, which starts to bleed into Earth’s surface world. Aquaman uses the magick of Poseidon to defeat the army of Thule, saving the day. With his throne returned to him, Aquaman meets with the Justice League to thank them for their help. Aquaman then worryingly greets several thousand refugees from Thule, all of whom will live in Atlantis.
–REFERENCE: In Robin: Son of Batman #9. Bruce has Bat-Cow moved from California back to the Batcave.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #43. Bruce initiates a huge new plan, which will, if completed, ensure that there will always be a Batman when needed in the future. Using technology lifted from Niles Caulder, Bruce begins building a cloning machine. Bruce plans to clone himself and give the clone memory implants of everything he himself experienced from his own birth until when he decided to become Batman at age 25. Thus, when the clone is eventually switched-on, he will be an almost perfect replica of Bruce with the same animus to become a hero. This would, in theory, start a chain of never ending Batman clones, thus giving birth to the idea that there will never not be a Batman in the future. The details of this cloning process were first fleshed-out in the non-canon Detective Comics Vol. 2 #27, Part 7 and non-canon Batman: Futures End #1.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #43 and Batman Vol. 2 #49. Bruce—ignoring the strong disapproval of Alfred—continues working on his big cloning project. Once the machine is up and running, Bruce hooks himself in and uploads his memories of all of his experiences from birth until when he decided to become Batman at age 25. Before attempting a real live clone, Bruce runs dozens of computer simulation safety tests, all of which result in failure as each host dies. Alfred watches as Bruce goes through various scenarios featuring alternate versions of himself. With each host dying again and again, Bruce abandons the project.
Cyborg has a family talk with his dad, Dr. Silas Stone, and “Elinore,” a sentient holographic simulation with memory and personality trait implants of Cyborg’s deceased mother. In private, Silas tells Cyborg that Elinore has been acting peculiar and maybe shouldn’t be trusted. Afterward, Cyborg enacts the anti-Cyber-Tech plan he devised with Batman 27 days ago. With Shazam by his side, Cyborg capitulates to authorities and turns himself over to Cyber-Tech in order to voluntarily undergo scanning, during which he will attempt to hack into the company’s system. Shazam vid-phones the Justice League Watchtower to update Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman on the situation. During Cyborg’s scanning, Cyber-Tech security takes down Shazam. Government agent Holmes locks Cyborg in his scanning chamber and amps up the pain factor. As Agent Holmes reveals that Cyber-Tech created the Elinore AI, Cyborg’s hacking program mines information from Cyber-Tech that shows that Holmes works for the Technosapiens, who are set to attack the planet. Cyborg uploads all of the incriminating evidence to the Internet for the world to see. Cyborg also hacks into computers all over the world, all of which have been infected with a virus that will allow the Technosapiens to invade. In one stroke, Cyborg deletes the Technosapien virus. Several Technosapiens are able to breach their way into Cyber-Tech’s labs, but Cyborg and a recovered Shazam easily destroy them. Back at STAR Labs, a teary-eyed Cyborg destroys the last Technosapien on Earth: Elinore.
–REFERENCE: In Legends of Tomorrow #1, Part 3, Legends of Tomorrow #5, Part 3, and Legends of Tomorrow #6, Part 3. Private detectives Sugar Plumm and Spike Wilson, who primarily deal with metahuman affairs, meet the Flash while on a case. With the Justice League’s blessing, Sugar and Spike work out a deal with the heroes where they will work special cases for the team, most of which will involve sweeping past embarrassments under the rug. Should anything too dangerous or messy arise while on cases, the JL will help out and clean up. Sugar and Spike are to report the details of more difficult cases to the JL. Each Justice Leaguer is given Sugar and Spike’s contact info, as are several other heroes, and hero acquaintances, including Alfred. Likewise, Sugar and Spike are trusted with the tentative schedule for JL Watchtower monitor duty. Sugar and Spike seem to know an almost fourth-wall-breaking amount of secret information in regard to the superhero community, which is one of their biggest assets.
–Suicide Squad Most Wanted #4, Part 1
AWOL Suicide Squad member El Diablo and his lover Azucar smash and crash their way into Gotham, stealing an ambulance, which draws the attention of Batman. The Dark Knight does his research on Diablo and Azucar, learning that they are trying to bring down the super-villain group known as Beowulf while simultaneously fleeing from Amanda Waller and Checkmate. Batman investigates Beowulf and finds a pattern of “tech-dark areas” in Texas connected to the group. Wanting to help anyone who is anti-Amanda Waller, Batman uploads information about Beowulf onto a flash drive and sets-up a getaway van for Diablo. When Diablo and Azucar face-off against Beowulf’s Sin Tzu—who has turned several people into metahuman monsters using a mix of Joker Venom, Man-Bat Serum, Venom, Fear Gas, and Lazarus Pit fluid—Batman shows up and helps them defeat the bad guys. The Caped Crusader delivers the flash drive and getaway van. Diablo and Azucar then flee to Texas after finding their friend Professor Strzelecki murdered by Deadshot. In the hot Texas desert, the duo meets with Xolotl, the Martian-Atzec God of Death and Dogs. The meeting is interrupted by the arrival of Amanda Waller’s metahuman troops: Bloodletter, Zizz, Leviathan, Behemoth, and Zoomax.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #17. Arkham Asylum employee Dr. Simon Echs, likely scarred from having suffered through the events of Batman Eternal last year, becomes the super-villain Dr. Double-X, who is able to create a doppelgänger of himself. Challenging Batman, Echs winds up on the other side of the bars in Arkham.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #50. Bruce tailors a new Batman costume, and he builds some new Bat-toys to go with it. The new suit is grey with a yellow highlighted utility belt and a black Bat-symbol with a yellow outline around it. He doesn’t switch to this costume yet, but instead stores it in the Batcave with the other Bat-costumes.
–Batman Vol. 2 #35-37 (“ENDGAME”)
Mid June. While fighting Scarecrow, Batman gets blasted in the face with the villain’s latest “Cassandra Strain” of Fear Gas. After making it into the care of Alfred, Batman passes out and sees various hallucinations of possible ways he could die in the future. These visions are directly induced by Scarecrow’s new strain, but are also obviously directly based upon Batman’s recent failed simulations from his cloning machine project. After Bruce recovers, Wonder Woman—totally possessed and wearing her old costume—crashes into the Bat-penthouse and attacks Bruce. Bruce initiates “Plan Fenfir.” He immediately suits-up in his anti-JL war-bot and the Pennyworths gas bomb downtown Gotham to clear ten square blocks into an empty “arena” in which to fight. Sure enough, a possessed Flash and Aquaman strike as well, but Batman is able to defeat both of them and Wonder Woman too. Superman comes next, with a rictus grin on his face. Joker is behind it all. Batman and Superman have an all-out war with one another, but ultimately the battle is ended when Batman spits some Kryptonite gum into Superman’s eye. Batman then quickly develops an anti-Jokerization quinolone antidote and delivers both it and the infected Justice Leaguers to ARGUS HQ. (Bear in mind that Superman’s secret ID would be public knowledge at this point, but either the negatives associated with that—including the backlash of being a wanted man—haven’t started yet or ARGUS is taking special secret exception to the the public-at-large’s anti-Clark stance. Also, note that, as referenced in Grayson #13, Luka Netz aka Kathy Kane secretly spies on Batman during this entire “Endgame” affair, starting now.) After regrouping at the penthouse, Batman visits the ruins of Arkham Asylum to look for clues, but instead runs into Eric Border. After a short chat, Border sheds his disguise and reveals the shocker of the year. He’s been Joker all along! Joker, with a fixed-up face, mocks Batman and pulls out the rotten remains of his old face. Joker then locks the caught-off-guard Batman in his old cell and gasses him with a paralytic. Joker then departs, having already stuck it to Batman by gassing the entire city with a new strain of Joker Venom, this one an airborne virus spread by laughter. After being rescued by Alfred and Julia, the latter explains that the new Joker Venom strain is regenerative and deadly. Batman, fearing Lazarus liquid is somehow involved, sends a blood sample of the new Joker Venom strain to Dick at Spyral HQ (likely in some digitized form) for analysis. Batman then calls Jim Gordon, who tells him that the original carrier is at the putatively haunted Gotham Presbyterian Hospital. Batman jet-packs into the city and fights hordes of Jokerized citizens as he enters the hospital. Gordon then shockingly discovers photos of past hospital tragedies (from 1910 and 1946) that seem to have Joker in the background. Gordon is even more disturbed to find Joker in the background of Babs and James Junior’s tonsil picture from over a decade ago. At the hospital, amid a Crime Alley stage-set, Batman finds “patient zero,” none other than Joe Chill! The Thomas Family is ushered onto the proscenium and a drugged-up Chill begins to reenact the night of Bruce’s parent’s deaths (only this time with Duke’s parents instead). Batman manages to save the elder Thomases, but they get Jokerized and swarmed by a mob. Batman flees with Duke in his arms. (Batman flying with Duke in his arms is also shown via flashback in We are Robin #1.) Meanwhile, Joker turns up in Gordon’s apartment and a fight breaks out. Gordon shoots Joker in the chest and happily phones Batman. Joker, however, rises up, takes out Gordon, and says “Hello, Bruce” into the phone. (Prior to this, Joker had mentally blocked out any knowledge regarding Batman’s ID, literally regarding Batman as its own entity, incapable of being anything other than Batman himself.)
–Batman Vol. 2 #38, Part 1 (“ENDGAME” Continued)
Batman and Duke Thomas crash into Jim Gordon’s apartment. Gordon looks bad, with an axe stuck in his chest, but is still alive. Gordon pops-up, taken over by the new Joker Venom strain, and tries to kill Batman, but Julia Pennyworth arrives just in time to sedate him. Batman secures Jim and then phones Dick at Spyral HQ. Dick tells Batman that Joker’s new strain of toxin is regenerative but not Lazarus Pit-based. While Batman fights Joker zombies, Dick chats in his ear and together they deduce that the spreading virus is the inverse strain of a regenerative compound that is flowing through Joker’s veins, making him invulnerable to death. Batman further deduces that Paul Dekker (aka Crazy Quilt) must have helped Joker. Dick confirms that Dekker was released from Arkham a year-and-a-half ago by Eric Border (aka Joker). Batman commandeers a tank and hauls ass to Dekker’s lair. En route, Batman nervously tells Dick that Joker definitely knows that he is Bruce Wayne. At Dekker’s place, various research materials dealing with immortality myths are strewn about, including a painting of Vandal Savage as a caveman, a painting of Ra’s Al Ghul emerging from a Lazarus Pit, and a painting of Barbatos in giant bat form (!). While blasting away at Batman with a machine gun, Dekker calmly monologues, detailing his long obsession with finding the mythical immortality compound “dionesium,” something that was unproven to actually exist until Joker revealed it to him at Arkham. Dekker explains that the cosmic regenerative compound turns each person who encounters it into a “Barbatos,” an immortal. Dekker continues, saying that the chemical compound first granted immortality to Vandal Savage, who encountered it in its “rawest form” (i.e. a dying Hyper-Adapter spiraling backward through time!?). He continues, stating that Ra’s Al Ghul’s Lazarus Pits are filled with the chemical, albeit a weaker “corrupted” version. And last but not least, Dekker tells Batman that Joker encountered it sometime in the late 18th century. According to Dekker, Joker is immortal and has been around since before Gotham was even founded. Dekker even tells Batman that he once suspected Batman himself was a “Barbatos,” but now knows he isn’t. Batman sorties and hangs Dekker out of a window. Julia radios Batman and tells him that she’s done a complex image search on various archives. At least a dozen pictures of Gotham’s greatest disasters feature a figure that looks like Joker standing in the background. Dekker, crazed, injects himself with what he thinks is “dionesium” (a gift from Joker), but it’s actually a deadly solvent that brutally kills him immediately. Shocked at the possibility that Joker might actually be immortal and hundreds of years old, Batman has no other choice other than to visit the Court of Owls labyrinth face-to-face to question them about dionesium.
–REFERENCE: In Batman and Robin Eternal #1 and Batman and Robin Eternal #13. Before Batman can visit the Court of Owls labyrinth, Cassandra Cain reappears in the bedeviled Gotham. Her appearance signals the dire fact that Mother will soon once again rear her vile head. Batman long ago deleted the “Shadow File” related to the Mother case, but he returns to the Batcave and is able to access one remaining thing from the old file, a list of names. He programs a Bat-disk drive that will re-archive and produce the list of names and then records a cryptic message (for Dick) saying that he failed and lied to Dick back when they first started out together. Batman uploads this message onto the disk-drive as well.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #49. While still in the Batcave, and with the idea that his final fight against Joker may truly be at hand, Bruce, without telling Alfred, saves all his memories (beyond just his first 25 years, saving everything from birth until this very moment) on a hidden backup drive in his cloning machine. Bruce adds the aptly named voice-activated access codeword “activate.” This failsafe will ensure that, no matter what happens moving forward, his memory data will be secure. Bruce labels this secret backup program “The Alfred Protocol.” Not only is “The Alfred Protocol” a backup, but it also functions as an alternate server that can run the cloning machine even if it is severely damaged.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman and Robin Eternal #13 and Detective Comics #950—and referenced in Batman and Robin Eternal #1. Batman leaves the Batcave and meets with Cassie Cain. He gives her the Bat-disk drive that contains access to cryptic information about Mother. Batman tells Cassie that he might not survive Joker’s “Endgame” and, if he does not, she is to deliver the flash-drive to Dick. Batman gives Cassie a hug and departs to face his future.
————————––Batman Vol. 2 #38, Part 2
————————––Batman Vol. 2 #39-40
Batman visits the Court of Owls and asks them about dionesium. The Court tells him that they reanimate their Talons with their own imperfect version of the compound, called electrum. The first ever Talon from 400 years ago, Uriah Boone, then tries to execute Batman. While they duel, Batman asks if Joker could possibly be immortal. Boone tells Batman that Joker IS hundreds of years old, but Batman doesn’t believe him. Batman then defeats Boone and trudges back above ground only to learn from Julia that something horrible has occurred. Joker swam into the Batcave and got part of his face shot off by a shotgun-wielding Alfred. However, the immortal Joker then chopped Alfred’s hand clean off with a butcher knife before stealing a bunch of trophies. (Batman Vol. 2 #51, while vague about it, tells us that Julia keeps and preserves her dad’s severed hand.) After hearing that Alfred is safe and in stable condition, Batman turns his attention to a large parade being led by a Joker float in downtown Gotham. The Joker parade contains the giant playing card and the Tyrannosaurus rex (with lipstick on) being pulled by a dune buggy dressed up like the Batmobile. Joker taunts Batman with a cryptic riddle, challenging him to physically remove the dionesium from his spine. With no other options, Batman assembles his team—Red Robin, Batgirl, Bluebird, and Red Hood—at ACE Chemicals, where he lights up an upside-down Bat Signal, which brings the members of the “death pact” a-calling. Sensing that this could be a suicide mission, Batman leaves a final electronic message behind for the Bat Family, a cryptic one word note that reads only “Ha.” Batman then secretly switches places with Dick, who dons the Batman costume! Bane, Penguin, Poison Ivy, Clayface, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, and Mr. Freeze all team-up with the Bat Family. The eleven-person strike force, wearing ant-Joker Venom masks, charges through the Jokerized population of Gotham and engages with the parade crowd while their fearless leader Batman (actually Dick) attempts to extract dionesium from Joker’s spine using a syringe. Joker captures Batman (still Dick) and boasts that he’s got a pool of dionesium hidden in an underground cavern, even showing him exactly where in a mocking tone. Joker is shocked to see Dick under the cape and cowl instead of Bruce. Joker tosses aside Dick and immediately goes after the real Batman. Meanwhile, with Julia’s guidance, Batman travels underground and takes a sample of the dionesium with which Julia can make a cure. But before Batman can ascend back to the surface, Joker leaps down, detonates a bomb, and begins slugging it out with his rival. Joker violently stabs Batman and even takes his eye out with a razor card! Eventually, a seriously injured Batman lies bleeding out. A stalactite falls onto Joker, delivering near fatal wounds. With both men dying, Joker frantically tries to crawl toward the dionesium, proof that only this pool had been giving him super powers. The Dark Knight now knows that Joker isn’t hundreds of years old or immortal. I guess all those pictures were doctored? Batman tightly holds onto Joker as the cave collapses onto the burning pool of dionesium, destroying all that remains of the precious elixir. With a lifeless bloody Joker at his side, Batman sends the dionesium sample up to the surface just as the cave crumbles entirely. Above ground, Julia takes the sample to make a cure and notes that Batman’s vital signs have flat-lined. Two weeks later, multiple Batsignals light up the night sky as part of a citywide vigil in tribute of the fallen hero. Julia sits in a dark hospital room with a dejected Alfred, who refuses to have his severed hand reattached. She shows Alfred the “Ha” message from Bruce, to which Alfred interprets as Bruce telling them that his death was inevitable.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #43. The dead Batman comes back to life thanks to the dionesium in his system. With his costume in tatters, Batman emerges from the rubble and crawls back up to the surface above the cave. Resurrected but a complete amnesiac, Batman wanders aimlessly into the nearby woods and seemingly drops dead again.
- COLLIN COLSHER: When we last saw Dr. Darrk (in Talon #17), he had taken Shelley Formula, a chemical compound that changed his Skeletor face and body back to normal human form. Dr. Darrk is clearly shown here looking like Skeletor again. Either this is a Homeric nod or we must fanwank that Darrk has reverted back. Or maybe Shelley Formula gave Darrk the power to switch back and forth.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Note that Cluemaster doesn’t die here. We will see him next with a gnarly scar on his neck in Suicide Squad Most Wanted #3, Part 1. He will be in the employ of Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad, forced to join thanks to a bomb implanted in his throat. Amanda Waller saves Cluemaster’s life in order to control him as a member of the Suicide Squad. There is a slight implication in Suicide Squad Most Wanted #3, Part 1 that Cluemaster’s neck scar is from Waller’s bomb surgery and that alone. However, the scar is definitely from Lincoln March. And Cluemaster is definitely saved by Waller.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: The following Catwoman stuff happens in relative quick succession and occurs after Penguin has been released from prison (following Batman Eternal #50) but before she forms an alliance with Penguin (in the epilogue of Batman Eternal #52).↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Don’t forget that the Road Trip Special, like the rest of Harley Quinn Vol. 2, is a wee bit apocryphal and seemingly told predominantly from the off-kilter perspective of Harley Quinn herself. It, like the rest of the series, might actually be non-canon. Also note that another questionably canon comedy series, Bizarro, must go here along with the Road Trip Special since it is narratively connected. Honestly, I’m fighting very hard to keep Harley Quinn Vol. 2 and Bizarro in-canon, but I really feel that they are both meant to be out-of-continuity. I’ve once again included Harley Quinn Vol. 2 story for the sake of completeness. Up to you if you want to do the same. Don’t forget that Harley would also be juggling her Brooklyn life with Suicide Squad missions—although the two titles (Harley Quinn and Suicide Squad) never explain how the scheduling actually works or makes sense.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: See the above footnote about Harley Quinn Vol. 2 for details regarding the canonical status of Bizarro, which likely was written to be an out-of-continuity comedy series. However, if it is canon, it has to go somewhere close to the Harley Quinn Road Trip Special.↩
- NICK SMILES: Batman Superman #16-20 has to take place after Supergirl returns from the Crucible Academy (Supergirl #37-40), which is stated to occur during the Green Lantern-New Gods War (“GodHead” arc).
“Green Lantern/New Gods: GodHead” begins with Hal Jordan visiting the memorial to Kyle Rayner on the anniversary of his apparent death during the “Lights Out” storyline, which follows immediately from the “Wrath of the First Lantern” storyline, which has been established on this site as occurring in January of Year 7. Therefore, Supergirl’s sojourn at Crucible Academy and the entire “GodHead” story must occur no earlier than January of Year 8.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Note that über Brainiac’s defeat, as seen in The New 52: Futures End, frees Brother Eye from Brainiac’s control on our primary timeline. Brother Eye had been under Brainiac’s control for the past two years-plus. Brother Eye will now return to being Mr. Terrific’s subservient AI program.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: As seen and referenced in The Multiversity Guidebook, the original über Darkseid has been resurrected and re-absorbed his emanations, thus regaining his old power status and cosmic awareness.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: In OPTION ONE, which has basically been validated by writer Jeff King, the actions of going back to the original Crisis cause the entire Modern Age to be erased. Therefore, Modern Age Lois and Modern Age Clark cannot return to the pre-Flashpoint period on the Modern Age timeline (right before Gotham was domed up) because it simply ain’t there no more. Thus, the Modern Age timeline becomes a pre-Convergence version, since all of DC’s Modern Age publishing history gets wiped away. This also means that the Modern Age Lois and Modern Age Clark that wind up on the New Age timeline are indeed the legitimate actual Modern Age versions of those characters (as opposed to copies of some sort). The decidedly real Superman, Lois, and baby Jon go to early Year One of the New Age timeline where they take alternate identities and live a relatively quiet and secretive life.
OPTION TWO lies in not buying into a version of events where all of DC’s Modern Age publishing history is wiped away. This means that Modern Age Lois, Modern Age Clark, pre-Zero Hour Hal, Silver Age Supergirl, and Silver Age Flash cannot be their original versions after Convergence. They are instead, for all intents and purposes, exact copies—post-Convergence Superman (copy of Modern Age Superman), post-Convergence Lois Lane (copy of Modern Age Lois Lane), post-Convergence Parallax Hal Jordan (copy of post-Zero Hour Hal Jordan), post-Convergence Flash Barry Allen (copy of Modern Age Barry Allen), and post-Convergence Supergirl (copy of Silver Age Supergirl). If one were to go with option two, these heroes in boldface, because they are copies, would appear as brand new characters upon debuting in the New Age, leaving the originals to continue existing in the Modern Age, which would then remain intact—(see Modern Age Future). Why would Modern Age Lois and Modern Age Clark choose not to return to their correct Modern Age timeline? Well, for one thing, returning to their own timeline would have erased birth of their son, who was conceived and born under the dome. Thus, choosing to live in the New Age keeps him alive. Jeff King said that if a domed city “survives being replanted back in the Multiverse, it is possible that new iterations of characters could be reborn even if they died during Convergence.” This vague line of dialogue seems to give credence to the idea that the copy option could be canon. But again, we still don’t know. It is almost as if the Convergence story was told to King in a nearly indecipherable language by some retarded higher power rather than King having simply written the damn thing himself.
In any case, both of these options suck. I personally like the latter option a little better, but King’s interviews (besides the one where he gives credence to the copy idea) have mostly hinted at a reality where option one seems to be canon. Again, I say “seems to be” since this is honestly one of the most nonsensical story arcs in the history of comics. Despite it all, as stated above, the Real Batman Chronology Project has reluctantly gone with King’s supposed version of things—the option two that erases the Modern Age. This is why the Modern Age has the tag “pre-Convergence” attached to it on this site.↩
- PARAMVIR SINGH RANDHAWA: In Convergence #7-8, the multiverse becomes in danger because time itself begins to get torn apart. This is because Telos becomes literally connected to time. Time starts to get ripped apart because it becomes a mashup of “now” and the “lost timelines.” Final Crisis and Infinite Crisis are directly related to the Local Multiverse. Zero Hour and Flashpoint are timeline changes. In essence, everything Post-original Crisis to New 52 is linear and isn’t being affected by time as much. The original Crisis, however, is an entirely different issue and the Golden and Silver and any other pre-Crisis timelines are ripping it apart since traveling back from Crisis delineates things. So, Brainiac sends in the rescue squad to stop the original fall of the original multiverse. Now this could mean many things, but as Superman: Lois & Clark #1 shows us, the heroes fight and defeat the Anti-Monitor. They could do this at several times in several scenarios: fighting the Anti-Monitor right after Pariah wakes him up, waking the Anti-Montior up themselves in order to surprise kick his ass, waiting until right after the Anti-Montiro conquers Qward to attack him, or maybe the heroes send the Anti-Monitor to sleep in the first place. Any time, though, has to be before the lion’s share of Crisis. That said, afterward, Brainiac sends everyone else back to their own timeline. “However if their city survives being replanted back in the Multiverse, it is possible that new iterations of them could be reborn even if they died during Convergence.” – Jeff King says this, which means whether or not Lois and Clark’s Modern Age timeline will come to end again, their timeline has to be reconstituted in the multiverse. “In many ways, the number of Worlds is now infinite. There may even be more than one Multiverse.” – King says this. So, the Multiverse is infinite again, but worlds still end. The Modern Age may have been brought back, but it STILL SOMEHOW WINDS UP COLLAPSING ANYWAY.↩
- TIPTUP JR 94: With this simple paradox God has forsaken us:
Convergence prevents the Crisis. But if the Crisis is prevented, Convergence cannot happen. If Convergence does not happen, the Crisis happens, which leads to Convergence happening.
The collapse of the multiverse in Crisis was indeed prevented – this is stated by multiple comics so there’s really no point in denying it. The next question is of the implications. Convergence #8 seems to imply that there are infinite worlds, EXCEPT the worlds that Brainiac had captured were now “evolved” into the current shit-tastic New Age worlds.
Seemingly, the last thirty years of DC’s publishing reality now never occurred in the cosmic record and have effectively been erased. Still, I once saw someone say that if there are infinite possibilities, there must also be the possibility that Crisis happened – basically, no matter what, we’re screwed.
One more thing: Telos is supposedly outside time, space, and the multiverse, which may account for how the cast of Convergence and Superman: Lois & Clark can recall Crisis and the history of the multiverse despite it having been erased. Jeff King, on Twitter, claimed Telos was the question mark just above Chaos on the Multiversity map. The Booster Gold tie-in refers to Telos as a planet-sized chunk of anti-matter, but I’m not sure if that’s backed up anywhere else.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / NICK SMILES: In order to correctly place “Power and Glory” it is necessary to first list some general facts from the story: Wonder Woman is the God of War. Aquaman is King of Atlantis. There is no specific mention of the team’s actual name (i.e. with “America” or without) despite the title of this series being Justice League of America. Clark Kent has returned to working at the Daily Planet. The Batcave is operational. “Power and Glory” also occurs during a period where Supergirl has left Earth to be involved in “The Infinitus Saga” (from Justice League United #5-10 and Justice League United Annual #1). Thus, “The Infinitus Saga” occurs simultaneously with “Power and Glory,” placing Supergirl and the other members of the JLU off-world in the Polaris Sector during Rao’s sojourn on Earth. In Justice League of America Vol. 4 #7, Superman goes so far as to deny the existence of other Earth-living Kryptonians to Rao, likely to protect Supergirl (and Superboy) from him. Also, on a side note related to the JLU, Hawkman returns from the dead during “The Infinitus Saga,” with a new costume, but elects to remain on Thanagar.
But most importantly, the public at large has yet to learn Superman’s secret identity. This means “Power and Glory” has to take place before Lois outs him in Superman Vol. 3 #43.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / NICK SMILES: Aquaman Vol. 7 #47 has an editorial note that places this arc, which features new costume-wearing Aquaman interacting with lower-powered t-shirt-wearing Superman, before “Endgame.” However, the post-“Endgame” Batman/Superman #24 seemingly shows the first meeting of new costume Aquaman and lower-powered t-shirt-wearing Superman. This glaring contradiction would not only go against the editorial note in Aquaman Vol. 7 #47, but also place Aquaman Vol. 7 #47-48 much later—immediately after Bruce’s return as Batman in “Superheavy.” But since such a heavy-handed editorial note makes it seem as though DC higher-ups really want this Aquaman arc to go before “Endgame,” I’m more comfortable saying that Batman/Superman #24 contains the big continuity error—having a contradictory dialogue in Aquaman and Superman’s meeting. This error exists likely due to lack of communication between writers and editors. No matter what, it sucks for sure.
Note that Aquaman Vol. 7 #47-48 also must occur before Hal Jordan gets disavowed from the Green Lantern Corps.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Batman Vol. 2 Annual #3, an “Endgame” tie-in, is said to take place mere months after “Death of the Family.” This is crazy. “Death of the Family” was nearly TWO YEARS AGO.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Bruce is said to be 32-years-old here, placing this item indisputably seven years after Year Zero. Since Bruce turns 33 in June 2015 AND Gordon debuts as Batman in the summertime, mid June is the perfect place for “Endgame.”↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / NICK SMILES: In the recent Wonder Woman Vol. 4 #41-46, Hephaestus designed and delivered a new long-sleeved costume to Diana. This arc occurs before Aquaman #47 and “Endgame.” However, Wonder Woman Vol. 4 #47 shows us that Wonder Woman hasn’t actually made a permanent costume switch. She simply has an alternate costume that she wears every so often. Hence, the reason she will be seen wearing both moving forward. However, since Joker’s brainwashing has already been attributed to other JL heroes wearing their older costumes, we could also assume that Wonder Woman is only wearing her old duds due to Jokerization as well. In probable truth, Wonder Woman’s costume (as we will see with other JL heroes) is simply an error made because Snyder and Capullo’s “Endgame” came out way before most other stories that take place in and around it. Sigh.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Like Wonder Woman, Aquaman is wearing his old (original) costume in “Endgame,” which is likely an error due in part to the fact that Snyder and Capullo’s arc came out way before most other stories that take place in and around it. However, unlike with Wonder Woman’s garb, which can be explained away by the fact that Diana seems to randomly wear her alternate costume on occasion, Aquaman does not engage in this practice. Since Aquaman is possessed by Joker, this is the probable reason he is donning his old costume.↩
- TIPTUP JR 94 / COLLIN COLSHER: In the Action Comics Sneak Peek, which takes place prior to “Endgame,” Superman visits the Fortress and loses his armored (normal) costume, after which the lower-powered Man of Steel switches to his t-shirt/short haircut look. Like with Wonder Woman and Aquaman, I’m just accepting the weirdness that Joker put the League in their traditional costumes for whatever reason, and also that the suit Clark has in “Endgame” is not his real Superman suit. Also, Clark’s hair grew back after Superman Vol. 3 #44 (which takes place, again, before “Endgame”). This means Clark must have cut it again directly afterwards. What I can’t get over is that Clark temporarily regains his power in “Endgame”! Maybe his Jokerization unlocked the last reserves of his power but the events of “Endgame” drained it completely? Also, to play devil’s advocate, note that—in regard to the error of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Superman having their old (wrong) costumes in “Endgame”—technically, we know (from Snyder’s earlier “Death of the Family”) that Joker does own these three specific JL cosplay outfits.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / TIPTUP JR 94: Note that Joker’s dead skin mask had previously been in the possession of Joker’s Daughter, which means that Joker has likely met with her prior to this and retrieved it. Also note that Joker’s Daughter will have the dead skin mask back again after this, which means that Joker gives it back to her right away, following this encounter with Batman in the Arkham ruins.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / TIPTUP JR 94: Batman’s deduction of Paul Dekker’s involvement in Joker’s “Endgame” plot also goes hand-in-hand with the Dark Knight’s ruling-out of Hugo Strange being a part of the plan due to the fact that Strange has “been out of Gotham for years.” While it is true that Strange left Gotham for years, he’s been back working at Gotham Academy for quite some time now. Batman definitely knows this, so this line is likely a continuity error on the part of writer Scott Snyder.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: As gleaned from Grayson #9, Dick is unaware of what happens with the conclusion of “Endgame” following his involvement in the ruse to trick Joker. This means that, in order to keep his Spyral cover going, Dick likely immediately departs and returns straightaway to his role as secret agent overseas. Also, the Bat Family will continue to think that Dick is dead.↩