(July 2016 to December 2016)
–Justice League Vol. 3 #15-17 (“TIMELESS”)
The Justice League (sans Batman and Superman) go to speak in front of the UN in an effort to reassure the populace of the Earth that they are safe, both from extraterrestrial and supernatural evils and also from the JL themselves. In the past few months, the JL has had a bad PR moment—in “State of Fear”—and has dealt with huge assaults from other planets—both in “Outbreak” and with the mining-colony alien invasion. Public confidence in the JL is waning and the team wants to address that with the world. But before the team can speak, The Keeper (in the form of a teenage girl named Molly) runs into the UN Building, chased by a phalanx of Borg-like Cell Soldiers of the cosmic race known as The Timeless. The Cell Soldiers destroy the inside of the UN Building and fight the JL. The Keeper reveals that she is a cosmic being that has been watching humanity since they evolved from apes. (The Keeper is so cosmic, in fact, that she has existed through every iteration of the DC timeline, and has bore witness to the original Crisis and Flashpoint!) The Keeper, for the first time ever, has broken her role as “watcher” to help stop the Timeless, who want to destroy all metahumans. With the JL about to be defeated, the Keeper distributes special space-time-travel watches to each JLer, which they use to escape to an unspecified place in the US Midwest. There, the Keeper shows them a giant alien structure, erected by the Timeless. The Keeper explains that it is an active “temporal bomb” that could potentially rewrite all of the past and future. The Timeless have planted other temporal bombs at various points on the space-time continuum at key moments that would eliminate certain happenings, resulting in the erasure of most superhero origins on Earth (and potentially the destruction of everything that exists). The Keeper tasks the heroes with going to these points in time to destroy the other bombs. As the bomb before them explodes, the heroes use their new watches to ride the “distortion wave” into the time-stream. Aquaman is sent back in time to before Atlantis sunk beneath the sea. In ancient above-water Atlantis, Aquaman is captured by his magickal 47,000-year-old ancestors, including Queen Majistra. Likewise, Wonder Woman is sent back to Olympus eons ago where she meets her grandfather Cronus, grandmother Rhea, and a young version of her dad Zeus. Cyborg is blasted to the 30st century where he meets a young pre-Legion Brainiac 5. The Green Lanterns wind up in a ravaged 26th century Washington DC where they are attacked by the Earth Corps. And Flash appears in Central City near the moment of his own origin from roughly nine years ago. Meanwhile, the Infinity Corporation, having monitored all the time-anomalies, sends an emergency message to Batman, asking him to immediately meet them at a construction site in Gotham. As Batman arrives, the Infinity Corporation’s time-traveling skyscraper HQ appears. Batman enters and is greeted by Alexis Martin, Jane Jones, and Vincent. They tell the Dark Knight about the Timeless’ plan and actions, revealing the bad news about the temporal bombs. The trio begs Batman to convince Superman to help. As the distortion wave from the first temporal bomb washes over Earth, the Infinity Corporation building teleports to Metrpolis to gather the Man of Steel, who watches in horror as Lois and Jonathan disappear. While Batman fills-in Superman, the distortion wave causes the timeline to shift abruptly. The Infinity Corporation HQ blasts into Earth’s outer atmosphere. Batman and Superman look out the window to see that Earth has been completely taken over by the Timeless and their time-eraser-machines, which look like giant alien antenna towers. In ancient Atlantis, Aquaman is revered as the king from the future and is shown the ancient Zodiac Crystals by the royal family of old. In 26th century Washington DC, the Earth Corps calms down and explains to the Green Lanterns that the Power Plagues destroyed parts of the planet, so they made their own Green Power Battery to protect what was left of Earth. Meanwhile, as more gigantic death machines belonging to the Timeless appear in each time period, Molly’s disembodied head appears in a Star Wars-like hologram to all the heroes in each different time period as well. She re-explaining their missions to destroy the Timeless’ temporal cores inside of the giant time-eraser machines. Alexis, Jane, and Vincent refuse to give too much information to Batman and Superman, but they do tell the Man of Steel that Lois and Jonathan probably disappeared when the distortion wave hit them because they, like he, aren’t originally from this timeline. Superman flies directly into the heart of the mass of accumulated Timeless machines, which blanket the Earth’s atmosphere like a dark alien urban sprawl. Superman directly confronts hundreds of thousands of Timeless soldiers, telling them to stand down. They do, revealing a King Kong-sized newborn baby attached to a Jack Kirby-looking Machine clearly influenced by HR Giger and The Matrix. The colossal baby, Tempus the Timeless Mind, tells Superman that it is “time to save history.” Like the Keeper, Tempus has seen the entire history of the DCU as we (the reader) have seen it. He orders his soldiers to swarm Superman. In Ancient Greece, Zeus agrees to help Wonder Woman fight the Timeless in exchange for help fighting Cronus. Wonder Woman, Zeus, and Rhea defeat Cronus and turn their attention to the Timeless tower above them. In Ancient Atlantis, Ancient Greece, 2008 Central City, and 26th century Washington DC, the Timeless’ machines suck up massive amounts of Speed Force energy, Green Power Battery energy, Atlantean magick, and Olympian God energy. In the 30th century, kid Brainiac-5 gives Cyborg a flight ring so he can board the Timeless tower. As Batman and the Infinity Corp listen-in, Tempus explains that Earth is a reality pivot-point from which universal destruction will occur thanks to the metahumans that exist there. He and his Timeless kin must move the Solar System to the End of Time, effectively destroying it to save the rest of the universe. Alexis offers Batman her father’s old Superman-suit, simultaneously revealing that Lex Luthor is her dad and that the Infinity Corp crew is from the future.
–Batman Vol. 3 #9-11 (“I AM SUICIDE”)
Gotham Girl is still suffering mental anguish caused by the lasting effects of using her draining powers and having been mind-attacked by Psycho-Pirate. In fact, only the Psycho-Pirate can return the poor girl back to normal. As Claire recovers at Wayne Manor, Bruce and Alfred discuss whether or not to accept Amanda Waller’s offer to help infiltrate Santa Prisca. Ultimately, Bruce decides the mission is a go. But this mission won’t involve the regular Bat Family. Batman is going to recruit a team of Arkham super-villains either mostly rehabilitated or worthy of redemption. After doing some research and communicating with both Commissioner Gordon and Jeremiah Arkham, Batman comes up with his team: the original Ventriloquist (Arnold Wesker), Bronze Tiger, Punch, Jewelee, and Catwoman. (Batman feels he can control Ventriloquist, he knows and trusts Bronze Tiger and Catwoman, and likes that lovers Punch and Jewelee have connections to Santa Prisca.) Of this bunch, Punch is outside of Arkham, but Batman has a plan to lure him into the fold. He leaks to the underworld that Jewelee will be released into Batman’s custody, which prompts the villain, a recent Santa Prisca Prison escapee, to take out Gordon and disguise himself as the commissioner. Batman walks the Arkham hallways collecting his team—passing rejects like Tweedle-Dum, Tweedle-Dee, Condiment King, Kite Man, Calendar Man, and Saturn Girl—before gathering his group, including Punch, who is exposed as the fake Gordon strolling at his side. In the final cell, Batman recruits Catwoman. After coming up with a detailed plan, and brokering special deals for each villain should the plan succeed (as referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #13-14), Batman accompanies his team to Santa Prisca. While Catwoman and Ventriloquist secretly infiltrate the island nation, Batman forms a bold diversion by targeting Bane’s army head-on. After crashing a Batplane, Batman fights hundreds of men, getting beaten to a pulp and thrown before a nude Bane, who has quit using Venom but still looks jacked. Bane knees Batman in the back, tweaking his spine. He then throws him into a rat-filled watery pit. Batman somehow snaps his own spine back into place and escapes, opening an outer hatch on the prison wall to let in Catwoman and Ventriloquist. Meanwhile, Bronze Tiger delivers a “captive” Punch and Jewelee to Bane (à la Leia delivering a “captive” Chewbacca to Jabba the Hutt). As Bronze Tiger stands before Bane, Catwoman—having ditched Ventriloquist and tucked herself in a duct above the room—seemingly breaks from the plan and double-crosses Batman. (Of course, all of this is actually part of Batman’s plan.) She swings down, chokes-out Bronze Tiger, and fake slashes the throats of Punch and Jewelee—all while monologuing to Bane about Batman’s secret plan. In exchange for this “betrayal,” Catwoman asks Bane for a plane and money so she can disappear forever. Batman, also hidden in the ceiling ducts above, watches with concern. (Clearly, Catwoman is acting as part of Batman’s plan, but her acting is going a little too far for Batman’s comfort.)
–Batman Vol. 3 #12-13 (“I AM SUICIDE” Continued…)
With Batman’s plan seemingly ruined (even though it is actually going exactly according to plan), Bane gloats over a loudspeaker. Batman, pretending that all is lost, charges forward and fights head-on against great odds. Batman battles his way through shark-infested waters and hundreds of Bane’s soldiers to make his way to Bane, Catwoman, and Psycho-Pirate at the center of the Santa Prisca Prison. Meanwhile, Amanda Waller reveals that she knows Batman’s secret ID, entering the Batcave to confront Alfred and learn how much Bruce knows about Task Force X. In Santa Prisca, while a still-nude Bane trashes Batman, Bronze Tiger shoots up Venom and crawls his way to retrieve the Ventriloquist. Punch and Jewelee “wake up” and blow-up a bubblegum ocean raft. As Bane menaces over Batman, Catwoman does her double-turn and Bruce Lee kicks Bane right in the spine, sending him down-and-out. Bronze Tiger arrives with the Ventriloquist, who is sicced on Psycho-Pirate. When Psycho-Pirate tries to use his mind-warping powers on the Ventriloquist, Scarface comes to life within the crazed villain’s hand. Unable to control a hand, Psycho-Pirate is punched-out by the Ventriloquist, who then gets punched-out by Bronze Tiger. Catwoman then blows a hole in the wall, allowing Batman’s team to escape to the bubblegum raft. As they float to the waiting Bat-Sub, Batman and Catwoman kiss. At the foot of his throne, a broken and embarrassed Bane screams for his lackeys to bring him some Venom. Back in the States, Ventriloquist is moved to a “more progressive” prison, Punch and Jewelee go back to Arkham but are allowed visitation days, and Bronze Tiger is released on parole.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1. Alfred tells Bruce about Amanda Waller’s visit to the Batcave.
–Batman Vol. 3 #14-15 (“ROOFTOPS”)
Batman’s final deal, for Catwoman, goes through. Courtesy of Amanda Waller and a presidential order by Barack Obama, Catwoman is taken off Death Row and re-sentenced to life in prison at Blackgate. Batman tells her that she has to go, but Catwoman convinces him that they have all night to play. Batman also tells Catwoman that he will prove that she didn’t kill the Dogs of War. Then, it’s off to patrol. Batman and Catwoman easily defeat Clock King, Magpie, Signal Man, Amygdala, Gorilla Boss, Ten-Eyed Man, King Snake, Werewolf (possibly Anthony Lupus), Copperhead, Condiment King, Cavalier, Zebra Man (Vortex), Film Freak, Mad Monk, and Kite Man. Now that Batman’s fun is over, Catwoman gets a turn. She tells him they are headed to a specific apartment to pull off a theft. Batman uses his tech to identify the apartment they are headed toward as belonging to Holly Robinson. Of course, “Holly Robinson” is merely one of Catwoman’s pseudonyms—actually the name of one of Catwoman’s friends from years ago. Batman met Holly only one time. She stabbed him, but he never got her name. (In the Modern Age, the plucky Holly Robinson became the second Catwoman after Selina had a baby. Sadly, Holly’s life is much darker and less relevant in the New Age.) The Bat and the Cat then break into the sumptuous apartment where they locate the Victoria Cat, a stuffed kitty that had gone missing from the Gotham Museum of Fine Arts four years ago. After snatching the cat toy and leaping from the booby-trapped pad, Catwoman tells Batman about the apartment and the stuffed animal. Ripping open the latter, Catwoman reveals a pile of diamonds, which she sprinkles over the ground, telling Batman to rebuild a dozen orphanages to replace the one the Dogs of War destroyed. She then unmasks both herself and Batman, telling him to stop just for once. Bruce and Selina strip, kissing passionately. Bruce ignores the Bat Signal in the sky and listens to Selina. With diamonds strewn below and stars scattered above, the two lovers have sex atop a Gotham rooftop. In a nude post-coital embrace, Selina tells Bruce the first memory she has of him, which is when they met on the street shortly before Bruce became Batman. Selina also mentions Holly, who was at this meeting, by name. Bruce doesn’t recall this, instead remembering the first time that he met her when he was in-costume as Batman. After they both say “I love you” to one another (!), Batman and Catwoman dress. Then Catwoman bails! Batman doesn’t know who “Holly Robinson” is, but she is his only clue to finding Catwoman. After a quick background check, Batman learns that Holly was a close friend of Selina’s from the orphanage that was bombed by the Dogs of War. Batman visits Commissioner Gordon, who calls up Bullock, who wrangles a drunk judge, who unseals court records revealing Holly’s current address where she is living under the name “Catherine Turley.” Batman pays her a visit. Holly meets Batman for the second time in her life (although he was just Bruce back then). And for the second time in her life Holly stabs the Dark Knight, slashing him in the neck with a knife! There isn’t anybody else that can say they met Batman twice and each time stabbed him. Pretty amazing. When a weak and bloody Caped Crusader comes-to a while later, Alfred notifies him that Holly has booked a flight to Kahndaq. Batman tries to depart from Holly’s fire escape, but goes unconscious due to lack of blood and falls. Catwoman catches him, saving his life. She takes him home to Wayne Manor, where Alfred patches him up. In the morning, a sedated Bruce still hasn’t woken up and Holly is long gone. Selina sits by Bruce’s bedside and tells Alfred the truth about the Dogs of War—that Holly was the true killer. She then leaves, telling Alfred that Bruce can find her on the rooftops of Gotham City. Later, Alfred relays Selina’s message. Batman has Catwoman officially exonerated and then suits up in his fighting togs. He tells Alfred that Catwoman was able to “steal the night.”
–REFERENCE: In Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1. Batman’s investigations into Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad continue, now with added gusto in light of recent events.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #16. Batman begins trying to figure out how Psycho-Pirate’s powers work, learning that they come from the villain’s mysterious mask. Batman hopes to use Psycho-Pirate, as was always the plan for getting him from Santa Prisca in the first place, to fix Claire’s damaged mind. However, the Dark Knight’s current investigation into Amanda Waller and the Justice League vs. Suicide Squad mess that is about to start will get in the way, postponing Claire’s rehab for a little bit.
–Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1-3
Maxwell Lord breaks into the Catacombs Prison in Death Valley and releases the original members of the Suicide Squad—Doctor Polaris, Emerald Empress, Lobo, Johnny Sorrow, and Rustam. (Note that Task Force X goes back to the 1940s, but these baddies were the first legitimate super-villain “Suicide Squad” that formed in the late 2000s. Also note that Max Lord is currently being played by the manipulative Amanda Waller, who is the one that has secretly tipped him off to the existence of the original Suicide Squad. She wants to create a “common enemy” for the current Suicide Squad and Justice League to focus on, knowing that Batman is beating on her door.) While Max Lord is busting out the original Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller sends the current Suicide Squad (Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Deadshot, Killer Frost, Enchantress, El Diablo, and Captain Boomerang) to the small tropical island of Badhnisia to fight the Brimstone Brotherhood, a cult led by a super-villain called Apex, who wants to destroy the island, which holds a secret US military base. Aboard the Watchtower, Batman—now having gathered complete intel on Amanda Waller’s operations—briefs the Justice League about Task Force X. As the Dark Knight tells his teammates about Waller’s recent visit to the Batcave, Cyborg reports news of the Suicide Squad’s battle. The Justice League flies to Badhnisia, cleans up the Suicide Squad’s mess and offers to help them get out from under Amanda Waller’s modulation. Waller orders her team to attack, prompting an all-out war between the Suicide Squad and Justice League. Meanwhile, at Checkmate Castle in the Swiss Alps, Max Lord addresses his deadly and dangerous team, telling them that they have a mission to kill Amanda Waller. In Badhnisia, the Justice League defeats and captures the Suicide Squad relatively easily until Killer Frost debuts a new power, the ability to suck up anyone else’s powers to redouble her own. After draining Superman dry, Killer Frost beats the entire JL on her own. The JL are stuffed into containment cells in Belle Reve before a gloating Amanda Waller. Batman escapes custody and confronts Amanda Waller, who has just received the black box from the Catacombs courtesy of Suicide Squad members Katana and Rick Flag. Learning about Max Lord’s jail bust, Batman and Amanda Waller call a truce. The JL is released and joins the Suicide Squad to watch the security footage of the jailbreak. Waller tells everyone that the original Suicide Squad is coming straight for Belle Reve not only to try to kill her, but also to steal a super-weapon that could help Max Lord take over the world. Sure enough, having just forced the magickal shamans of Diablo Island to tattoo a powerful sigil onto his chest, Max travels with his evil villain team straight for Louisiana.
–Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #4-6
Max Lord’s team crashes into Belle Reve and begins fighting the Suicide Squad and Justice League. (The fight sequence is also shown via flashback from Suicide Squad Vol. 5 #10, although the two panels shown do not accurately depict any actual moment of the melee. It’s the thought that counts, I guess?) Johnny Sorrow opens a portal to the home dimension of his master, the demon lord known as the King of Tears. Dozens of demonic monsters pour through the portal to cause trouble. Emerald Empress, with her Eye of Ekron weapon damaged, teleports to the safety of her home-time in the 31st century. Katana and Rick Flag best Rustam, who gets taken down only to then flee the scene. Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn team-up to send Johnny Sorrow and his demon hordes back to their dimension. Cyborg defeats Doctor Polaris with ease. Lobo chases Batman, Amanda Waller, and Deadshot down a long corridor. Seemingly unstoppable with healing-power, Lobo charges only to get his head blown up by Batman, prompting Deadshot to say “Damn, Batman.” Max Lord mind-forces Killer Frost to blast open a vault, allowing him access to the “Heart of Darkness” diamond. The power of Eclipso is released and merged with Max Lord. In an instant, Eclipso-Max turns the entire JL—except Batman—into his Eclipso-slaves. Max and the Eclopso-JL take over the entire planet in minutes. Superman returns, tosses aside a Kryptonite ring-wearing Batman, and kidnaps Amanda Waller on Max’s behalf. Lobo grows a new head and wakes up completely free from Max’s influence and no longer servile to him. After Lobo punches through the rubble, Batman and company spot Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, and Killer Frost holding down Eclipso-Cyborg, who explains that while his human side has turned evil, failsafes in his robot side have allowed him to maintain control of himself. Cyborg tells all of Max’s plans. Batman recruits Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Lobo, Captain Boomerang, Killer Croc, and Killer Frost into a “substitute Justice League.” (This formation of the substitute JL is also shown via a single-panel flashback from Justice League of America Rebirth: Killer Frost #1.) Meanwhile, in a burning Washington DC, thousands of people turn into Eclipso slaves. Max shows Amanda his Eclipso tattoo, which he claims will allow him to keep his autonomy. Cyborg booms the substitute JL to DC where they engage with the Eclipso-JL. Max, despite his tattoo, gets completely taken over by Eclipso. He vomits out black bile, releasing Eclipso himself. All over the planet, people turn into Eclipso demons. Pretty soon, the substitute JL is overwhelmed too, except for Batman, Lobo, and Killer Frost. Batman orders Killer Frost to create a giant ice prism. He then goads Superman into firing a heat blast at him, which he dodges. The heat blast strikes the prism, which amplifies its light, burning the evil Eclipso influence out of all the heroes and villains present. Killer Frost then takes some energy from everyone and takes the fight to Eclipso head-on. Superman takes the opportunity to fire up the prism one more time. The light causes Eclipso to implodes back into the “Heart of Darkness” stone, which rockets away across the globe. Afterward, Batman, high on the idea of a “substitute JL,” decides that he will assemble a permanent splinter JL group. At Belle Reve, Superman chats with the injured Killer Frost while the rest of the Suicide Squad and JL regroup and hang out, now as friends. Batman successfully parleys for the release of Killer Frost, telling Amanda Waller that Killer Frost will join his new hero team. He also tells Amanda Waller that he finally accepts Task Force X as a legitimate program. As night falls, Batman meets with Lobo, who thanks the Dark Knight, saying he owes him one. Batman asks Lobo to join his new team. Back at Belle Reve, Amanda Waller gloats in front of a captive Max Lord.
–Justice League of America Rebirth: Killer Frost #1
Amanda Waller tries to screw over Killer Frost by delaying her release from jail and placing her in bad situations inside Belle Reve in an attempt to get her to slip up and get stuck behind bars for good. Thrown into general population, Killer Frost gets threatened by Mr. Toxic, Killer Frost meets her new cellmate Heatstroke. A day later, guards let three members of the notorious gang known as The Sun into Killer Frost and Heatstroke’s cell. (The Sun is linked to “Boss Moroni,” presumably Sal Maroni or his son, whoever is the current head of what is left of the Maroni crime family in Gotham. Note the use of the Golden Age spelling of Maroni—with an “o” instead of an “a” as the first vowel.) The Sun gangsters attempt to kill Heatstroke for having ratted to the cops to save the life of her boyfriend Coldsnap. Killer Frost uses her ice powers to defeat the Sun folks, but nearly kills herself in the process. After being in a coma for days, Killer Frost is saved thanks to a blood transfusion courtesy of Heatstroke. Batman sneaks into Belle Reve and tells Amanda Waller that enough is enough. Killer Frost’s brain-bomb is removed and she joins the company of Batman as a free woman.
–Batman Vol. 3 #16
Batman, who has been carefully examining Psycho-Pirate and his mask for weeks, finally discovers how to manipulate the villain and his cosmic facial attire in order to save Claire. Batman and Bronze Tiger visit the shell-shocked Psycho-Pirate at Arkham. During their visit, one of Bane’s men, disguised as a cop, tries to assassinate Psycho-Pirate and shoots (non-fatally) Jeremiah Arkham before the heroes knock his teeth out. Bruce decides to call a meeting of all the former Robins (and Lark). The boys choose the meeting place—BatBurger, Gotham’s tacky Batman-themed restaurant. There, Bruce tells his boys that Bane is coming and that he needs five days with Psycho-Pirate and Claire to undo the damage to her mind. After the boys kick around some funny banter about Robins dying and coming back to life, which scares Duke, Bruce tells them all to leave town for five days until the Bane situation is over. After Bruce leaves, the former Robins all agree to ignore Bruce’s order. Duke, on the other hand, says he will honor his boss’ wishes. Later, Catwoman turns on the Batsignal to lure Batman atop the GCPD HQ. She tells him to call her if he needs help with Bane. Commissioner Gordon enters the roof area and chases Catwoman away. Later still, Bruce and Alfred help Claire down the stairs to the Batcave only to find three bloody former Robins strung up by their necks and barely alive.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #17, Part 1. Batman, upon seeing his beaten and nearly-killed former Robins hanging in the Batcave, realizes they have disobeyed his orders and attacked Bane head-on, trying to defeat the villain preemptively even before he had the chance to come to Gotham. Unfortunately for the boys, they were handed their asses and then delivered via henchmen straight to the Batcave with nooses around their necks. The Dark Knight cuts down his former Robins and flies them straight to the former Superman’s Fortress of Solitude (which is now owned and operated by the current Superman). Batman knows that the Fortress of Solitude has the only healing chambers on the planet that can safely save the boys’ lives. Batman enters the Fortress of Solitude (he has a key, remember!) and puts the comatose Dick, Damian, and Jason into the healing pods.
–Batman Vol. 3 #17, Part 1
In preparation for his arrival, Bane sends his top men Trogg, Zombie, and Bird into Gotham first. At 1:43 am, the vile henchmen shoot Bronze Tiger in the stomach and kidnap him. Batman, still by the side of his injured former Robins, contacts Superman and summons him to the Fortress of Solitude. At 5:37 am Superman arrives, surprised to find Batman already inside the rime-covered abode. Batman gives him the scoop and asks him to protect the boys at all costs. The Caped Crusader then immediately returns to Gotham to prepare for Bane.
–Green Lanterns #15-17
Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz’s early morning brunch is cut short when the JL calls in for Green Lantern assistance in Louisiana where a Godzilla-like aquatic monster is raging, angry that he cannot locate his brother. After the JL defeats the monster, the Green Lanterns go on a series of missions life-saving missions all over America. In Portsmouth, Washington, the Green Lanterns fight The Gambler. Jessica, prone to anxiety, has a panic attack that nearly costs them the duel. Simon takes out the Gambler then berates his teammate for screwing up. Before flying away, Jessica tells him that her anxiety is crippling and makes things difficult sometimes. Back in Portland, Jessica calms herself down with her sister Sara and her pet kitty Crouton. But before long, Jessica has spiraled back into self-doubt and panic. Simon, hoping to make amends, appears at her house in the morning to make her pancakes and to apologize. Meanwhile, in Gotham, Commissioner Gordon and Batman note a sudden rise in “crimes of fear,” where everyday people have all of a sudden gone into a violent terrified state, specifically afraid of Batman. Believing a connection to yellow power rings, Batman contacts Simon and Jessica and says that he needs their help. The Green Lanterns fly to Gotham to find two random people, both in the midst of fear-induced rages, attacking Batman. The Green Lanterns take down the fear-ragers and are then addressed by Batman, who tells them about Bane being on his way to Gotham and the need to solve this case quickly. Batman also mentions his suspicion that yellow energy is involved, making reference to the Sinestro Corps and “Blackest Night.” (While Batman has indeed fought the Yellow Lanterns before, he actually wasn’t around for “Blackest Night,” although he certainly would be aware of it.) Batman and Gordon then give Simon shit for carrying a gun. Simon and Batman scream at each other about it until Jessica hacks into a laptop in the room. The last thing the fear-inflicted folks had been watching were a series of “Bad Batman” viral videos that liken Gotham’s protector to a fascist vigilante. Jessica scans the computer with her ring and picks up traces of yellow emotional vibrations. Back in the Batcave, Batman watches all the anti-Batman viral videos for the first time and angrily critiques them. Batman asks Jessica if she knows anything about Emerald Empress and a possibly link to the Green Lanterns, but Jessica has no clue. Across town, in a derelict office building, Scarecrow turns more normal citizens into rabid Batman-hating crazies, influenced by yellow energy and loops of the “Bad Batman” Youtube videos. Alfred, taken over by the evil yellow light energy imbedded in the video signal, attacks the heroes, putting a gun to Simon’s head. Batman delivers Alfred’s post-hypnotic trigger phrase, which returns him to normal. The Dark Knight then uses his super-computer to track the source of the yellow light energy directly to Scarecrow’s location. There, the heroes realize that Scarecrow doesn’t actually have a yellow power ring. The villain has enacted a plan years in the making, having dissected and studied his yellow power ring when he previously had it, Scarecrow has been trying—and has now succeeded—in creating a machine that emulates the terrifying evil aura of the yellow emotional spectrum. Simon overcomes his fear and destroys the machine, allowing Batman to bust Scarecrow. Afterward, Simon decides to get rid of his gun for good. Batman tells Simon that he is the first Green Lantern that he can actually work with. Batman swings away to deal with the impending arrival of Bane. Meanwhile, Guardian of the Universe Rami summons the Green Lanterns away from Gotham.
I AM BANE
———————-––Batman Vol. 3 #17, Part 2
———————-––Batman Vol. 3 #18-19
Batman and Catwoman locate Bane’s safe house in Gotham and come up with a plan to deal with him. Batman and Alfred then plan their rehabilitation of Claire Clover and then put the plan into action. At 8:15 pm, Batman crouches atop Arkham Asylum’s roof. With the real Jeremiah Arkham still incapacitated after getting shot by Bane’s men, Alfred disguises himself as Jeremiah and orders up a special experimental treatment session for a recently recaptured Hush, treatment that will require complete isolation with Psycho-Pirate for four days in the East Wing of Arkham Asylum. With patients moved out of the wing, “Jeremiah” wheels in “Hush,” actually Claire wrapped-up in bandages. (The actual Hush is indeed in Arkham somewhere, so they must have him stashed in a broom closet or something.) At 8:44 pm, at the ruins of the Thomas and Martha Wayne Home, Selina is shot and captured by Bird—which is amazingly a part of Batman’s plan. A little more than a half hour later, in a secure Arkham room, Alfred begins Claire’s treatment with Psycho-Pirate. Holding a gun to Psycho-Pirate’s head, Alfred guides his mask in front of his face and has him stare directly into the eyes of the terrified Claire. At 9:23 pm, Trogg, Bird, and Zombie attack Commissioner Gordon. Lark, disobeying Batman’s orders, arrives and helps Gordon fight them off. Bane crashes through a wall and captures them both with ease. Shortly before 11:52 pm, Batman opens all of Arkham’s cells and allows the prisoners access to their costumes and weapons. Back atop Arkham Asylum, Batman sees activity on a nearby rooftop. Bane lights up a flare, revealing his captives. The bloody fight is on. While the boys brouhaha, Catwoman—as planned—frees herself, rescues the captives, kicks Bane’s henchmen’s asses, and strings them up inside Bane’s safe house. The always-amazing Catwoman then radios Bane to mock him. Nevertheless determined (and now very pissed), Bane smashes into Arkham Asylum. A beat-up Batman crawls through the back, opens all the cells of Arkham, and joins Alfred in the East Wing to get bandaged up. While Batman recuperates, Bane spends 12 hours fighting one-on-one battles against Arkham’s worst, including Two-Face, Solomon Grundy, Amygdala, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Firefly, Black Spider, Eduardo Flamingo, a man-bat (probably not Kirk Langstrom), Victor Zsasz, Mad Hatter, Dr. Phosphorus, Hush, Copperhead, and Calendar Man. (Black Spider’s appearance here implies that “I am Bane” occurs after “My Own Worst Enemy,” but I assure you that simply is not the case.) After besting all of Batman’s rogues, Bane forces Riddler to open Mr. Miracle’s supposedly break-in-proof East Wing door, which Riddler does with ease. Just before midnight, Bane confronts a recovered Batman as Maxie Zeus screams out lines from William Blake at the other end of the asylum.
–Justice League of America: Rebirth #1
Batman does some final planning and begins his new Justice League of America venture. This team is meant to have a community-based focus utilizing mortal heroes, as opposed to the global/intergalactic focus of the JL and its godlike roster of superheroes. The Dark Knight takes Killer Frost to the wreckage of the old JL Satellite in Happy Harbor, RI. There, likely with a plenitude of metahuman help, they quickly turn the wreckage into the team’s base of operations known as The Sanctuary. Batman also builds palm-sized communicators/teleporters for each new JLA team member. Next step is recruitment. Batman first asks Vixen to join, but she turns him down. Batman and Killer Frost then successfully recruit Black Canary in Seattle. On Batman’s orders, Black Canary recruits Lobo in New Jersey. Then Lobo and Batman visit Ivy University to recruit the Atom only to find that he is missing and his lab assistant Ryan Choi is in his place. Batman turns to leave, but Lobo convinces him to let Ryan join. Batman sends the new hoodie-and-jeans-wearing substitute Atom to Vanity, OR to recruit The Ray (Raymond Terrill). Meanwhile, Batman again speaks with Vixen, who has just busted Roxy Rocket in Manhattan. With blandishments, he is finally able to convince her to join. The new JLA assembles in the Sanctuary for its first ever meeting, after which they teleport into unspecified action.
–REFERENCE: In Trinity Vol. 2 #5. Batman, as he always does, studies the Justice League intel files, learning that Mongul is currently out of commission, trapped in a Black Mercy hallucination. Batman also learns all about the Black Mercy plant and its effects.
–REFERENCE: In the second feature to All-Star Batman #6. Batman helps Lark defeat Scarecrow.
A WORK IN PROGRESS
———————-––Mother Panic #1
———————-––Mother Panic #3
Celebutante bad-girl Violet Paige (and one-time lover of Kate Kane) returns to Gotham after a long stint abroad. Violet, with plans of moonlighting as an edgy superhero, learns that the bodyguard (Dominic) of an old family acquaintance (Hemsley) is in danger. She tails Dominic, spying on him at a fancy charity event (also attended by Kate Kane). There, Violet is approached by a paparazzo that wants to know about the details of the death of her father, who died under mysterious circumstances years ago. Outside in an alley, Dominic is accosted by Hemsley’s henchmen. Violet switches into her crime-fighting costume and becomes Mother Panic. As Mother Panic kicks ass and rescues Dominic, Batman silently watches the rookie hero from the shadows. Dominic thanks who he mistakenly assumes is a member of the Bat Family, to which Mother Panic replies, “Fuck the Bat.” She then takes Dominic to the safety of a mansion belonging to her Alzheimer’s-inflicted mother Rebecca Paige. Via interrogation, Mother Panic learns that Hemsley showed Dominic a piece of “artwork” that he had commissioned and purchased from the sadistic Gala, a snuff-artist that makes gory art pieces via legitimate murderous acts. Upon seeing the Gala piece, Dominic freaked out and was going to go to the cops until Hemsley’s men got to him first. Meanwhile, Batman orders Batwoman to begin monitoring all of Mother Panic’s activities. A few days later, Batwoman reports another sighting to Batman before confronting Mother Panic face-to-face. They fight with Mother Panic getting the best of Batwoman. Acting on a tip from Hemsley, Mother Panic goes to an address in the city and meets the vile Gala, who has kidnapped children—her “commissioned snuff-art”—chained-up all around her. Gala hits a button that lights the room up in flames, allowing her to escape while Mother Panic saves the kids. Outside, Batwoman watches Mother Panic work, relaying the footage to Batman. Outside, an angry Mother Panic tells-off Batwoman yet again. Later, Mother Panic goes to confront Hemsley only to find him murdered. Afterward, Mother Panic visits with her confidant and physician, Dr. Varma, who tells her that Dominic will now be her mom’s new caretaker.
–Nightwing Vol. 4 #9
Dick has a series of terrible nightmares about his friends dying. Superman, monitoring usage of the debuting Dr. Destiny‘s dream-manipulation device known as the Materioptikon, visits Dick for the first time and takes him to the Fortress of Solitude. Superman and Nightwing strap themselves into a Kryptonian device that allows them to enter the Dreamscape (aka “The Dreaming”). In the Dreamscape, Dr. Destiny appears along with murderous robots that kill more of Nightwing’s friends. With each “dream kill,” Dr. Destiny gains more real power. Superman forces a change of scenery within the dream, taking both he and Nightwing to a dream version of Blüdhaven. There, Nightwing feels strangely at home even though he’s never been to Blüdhaven in real life before. Superman explains that, in his universe (the Modern Age), Nightwing was based out of Blüdhaven for a time. Some connections are powerful enough to span universes. As Dr. Destiny grows in strength inside Nightwing’s mind, Superman gives him a pep talk. Empowered, Dick lucidly dreams of dozens of superheroes arriving to defeat Dr. Destiny. He then sees a vision in his dream of a warehouse filled with assassin-bots. Dr. Destiny is strapped into a weird machine alongside Lady Eve and her Kobra soldiers. Upon waking, the heroes realize that Kobra is behind Dr. Destiny’s nightmare attack upon Nightwing. Nightwing and Superman go to the actual Kobra warehouse and bust all the bad guys. Afterward, the Justice League comes in for clean-up duty and learns that Lady Eve was using Dr. Destiny in an attempt to destroy Nightwing’s mind. While Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz take Dr. Destiny into custody, Batman and Nightwing take a detour on the way back to Gotham, stopping to visit Blüdhaven.
–REFERENCE: In Trinity Vol. 2 #1 and Trinity Vol. 2 #6. Lois Lane “Smith” invites Wonder Woman and Batman to the upstate New York farm to have dinner with Clark and Jon. Bruce, still unable to stomach being around the Bat Family for too long on account of feeling responsible for Tim’s “death” (and Spoiler’s departure), accepts the invitation, hoping the change of atmosphere and company will ease his troubled mind. However, still not 100% certain about Superman and his family, Bruce fashions a small piece of Kryptonite into a charm, which he puts onto a necklace—just in case.
–Trinity Vol. 2 #1-3 (“BETTER TOGETHER”)
Batman, secretly wearing his new Kryptonite necklace, and Wonder Woman arrive at the Smith Farm for dinner only to get accidentally heat-blasted by Jon, who had earlier planted some strange “magic seeds” he got from a strange man (actually Poison Ivy in disguise). After Lois, Clark, Bruce, Diana, and Jon settle-in, dinner is served. The adults discuss the late Superman and the impact he left. After Jon goes to bed, Lois and Diana chat one-on-one. The “Trinity” then takes a walk around the farm and Bruce says he is glad they decided to meet up and hang out. (This walk-and-talk scene is also shown in a wordless single-panel flashback from Superman Vol. 4 Annual #1.) When the “Trinity” hears a weird noise while taking a walk, they investigate the source of the sound, tracing it to the barn, now covered with bright green vines that have grown from Jon’s seeds. Our heroes enter the barn and are immediately snatched up by large Black Mercy plants (!) that put them into a deep shared hallucination, driven primarily from Clark’s memories. Appearing before the trio is what appears to be Smallville—a scene of a young Clark with Pa Kent. The hallucinatory young Clark gets spooked and jets, prompting the trio to join Pa in a search for him. Meanwhile, Poison Ivy shows up, knocks-out Jon, seals the barn door shut, and takes stock of her captives. While a careworn Lois tries to gain access to the barn, the Black Mercy takes our hypnotized heroes on a hallucinatory ride into Gotham of yesteryear, when Bruce was just a child, right at the time of his parents’ murders. Immediately, Batman realizes that they are in a false version of the past. The “Trinity” has a brief encounter with Alfred and a young over-medicated Bruce, before Superman and Wonder Woman give Batman a much-needed pep talk to lift his spirits. Back in reality, Lois crashes her pickup truck through the barn door.
–Trinity Vol. 2 #4-6 (“BETTER TOGETHER” Conclusion)
While Lois struggles with and gets punched-out by Poison Ivy, the Trinity continues to wander through its shared Black Mercy hallucination, adventuring through a fake Themyscira until they come face-to-face with Mongul and his dream daughter “White Mercy.” Back in the waking world, Poison Ivy tells Lois that, thanks to her connection to the Green, she had been lucidly dreaming and found her way into the Black Mercy hallucination of a trapped and unconscious Mongul. Mongul allowed Poison Ivy to befriend and care for his dream daughter only to take White Mercy away and expel Poison Ivy from the dreamworld. Saying that he would harm White Mercy, Poison Ivy was forced to do his bidding, hence the current situation. In the Black Mercy dream, the Trinity fights a merciless Mongul, who has a serious advantage because they are inside his dream. In the real world, Poison Ivy uses Clark’s solar-charged body as a signal with which to contact the dream realm, but Mongul takes over Clark’s body. Jonathan heat-blasts Clark out of the barn. Back in the dream realm, White Mercy convinces Wonder Woman that she wants to be good. Batman allows White Mercy to control his body on the outside. Using Bruce’s Kryptonite necklace, White Mercy is able to defeat the Mongul-controlled Clark. Still inhabiting and speaking through Bruce’s body, she chats with and embraces her “mother” Poison Ivy before seemingly fading from existence forever. Wonder Woman escapes to the edges of the dream realm with the unconscious dream bodies of Batman and Superman in her arms. She wakes up along with Bruce and Clark. Mongul remains trapped in dreams while Poison Ivy seems to have a flimsy recollection of events and doesn’t even know where she is. After Superman quickly returns Poison Ivy to Gotham, he returns to hang out with Diana and Bruce. In the corn field adjacent to the farm, a young elf-like child comes into existence. Thanks to Poison Ivy’s connection to the Green, White Mercy seems to have been given life in the real world.
–REFERENCE: In All-Star Batman #5. Batman and Lark encounter the missile-riding villainess Roxy Rocket.
–REFERENCE: In the second feature to All-Star Batman #6. Batman helps Lark take down a man-bat.
–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 4 #11. For the past eight years, Batman has been collecting samples of DNA from many of his metahuman rivals. Now, Batman finally creates synthesized compounds out of these DNA samples, essentially playing god with the genetic material to create new cellular life in safely-controlled test tubes. Batman shares this experimental breakthrough with Robin.
–REFERENCE: In All-Star Batman #2-4. Batman adds some new toys to his crime-fighting accouterments, including hidden knives in his bat-ears, various chemical spray darts, a hidden two foot-long spiked Batarang, and retractable razor-sharp Bat-knuckles in the shape of little Bat-symbols. Cute! He also adds a protracting cowl mouth guard, chest armor that can be turned into small projectiles, pectoral speakers that work along with bat-like echo-location (to be used in case of blindness or in complete darkness to see enemies), and projectile-firing knuckle gloves.
–REFERENCE: In All-Star Batman #6. Batman continues his tech upgrades across the board, adding a new bio-scanner function into the Bat-suit.
–REFERENCE: In All-Star Batman #5. Batman builds a very special failsafe into at least one of (if not all of) the grandfather clock entries into the Batcave. Should they be accessed via forced entry or a wrong passcode, the passageway will shift and lead to an unassuming “man cave” panic room that has absolutely nothing to do with Batman. This failsafe will even be kept secret from Alfred.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 Annual #1, Part 5. Batman fiddles with a sample of Scarecrow’s Fear Gas and creates a paralytic nerve toxin with it. He will keep some of this toxin in his utility belt.
–Nightwing Vol. 4 #10
Hoping for a fresh start and wanting to explore the life the Modern Age version of himself led, Dick moves south to Blüdhaven, renting a several-month sublet apartment. In Gotham, Batgirl meets up with a patrolling Batman and Robin—the first time she’s seen Damian since Tim’s funeral. With a recommendation from Leslie Thompkins, Dick gets hired by the volunteer “Teens Affected by Violence” Program, meeting his boss Shawn Tsang and odd board member Jimmy Nice. Later, Nightwing swings into action, helping the Blüdhaven Police Department bust Gorilla Grimm for a supposed murder. As Grimm is hauled off, he pleads his innocence and tells Nightwing that Shawn Tsang will vouch for him. When news of Nightwing’s arrival hits the local news, Mayor Madrigal and tourism board members Cherry Annabel and Simon are overjoyed to finally have a hero in their town. Nightwing later visits Shawn at her apartment and discovers that she is none other than the masked graffiti-themed “art terrorist” known as Defacer.
–Sixpack & Dogwelder: Hard Travelin’ Heroz #2
In a Gotham back alley, Dogwelder (with his dog) listens to a pep talk from John Constantine—who amazingly is wearing a space helmet, holding a “Hellblazer” retro ray gun, and riding a Silver Surfer-ish space board. With seeming knowledge of the fact he is a comic book character, Constantine quasi-breaks the fourth wall and blames his current ridiculous state on “they” aka the higher powers who control the multiverse. Constantine also tells Dogwelder that the latter has some kind of cosmic power deep within him, and that there have been prior Dogwelders before him. Meanwhile, outside of Noonan’s Sleazy Bar, a gargantuan Spectre appears and addresses the drunk patrons, demanding they turn over former King of Hell and current bartender, the weird demon Baytor. Due to the DC Universe’s last few reboots, Spectre has lost memory of what Baytor looks like. (Lots of silly meta going on here, in case you haven’t noticed.) Members of the current Section Eight lineup—Sixpack, Bueno Excellente, Baytor, and Guts—stand before Spectre. When Baytor announces himself, this prompts a Spartacus sequence where Section Eight and a bunch of other Cauldron residents begin shouting, “I am Baytor” to confuse the Spectre. Batman, having arrived but determined that his assistance is not necessary, drives by with a raised fist, also yelling “I am Baytor!” Spectre gets a phone call from God, who orders everyone killed. But before Spectre can carry out God’s divine wrath, Dogwelder shows up to help his Section Eight buds. He holds up his dog, which speaks. Sensing Dogwelder’s power, Spectre backs down. Constantine tells Section Eight that he must take Dogwelder on a dangerous spiritual journey to learn the truth about his hidden powers. Section Eight, looking for action, volunteers to come along.
–Justice League of America Vol. 5 #1 (“THE EXTREMISTS”)
The JLA convenes and can barely get along. Killer Frost decides to drop “Killer” from her name now that she is a hero. Ryan Choi tells the team about Ray Palmer’s damaged “TroubleAlert,” a special news trawler that always let the original Atom know where he was needed the most. Batman later swings through the night with Vixen and talks about the new JLA. Meanwhile, Black Canary and the Ray deal with a burning building in the city of Vanity while Lobo fights fire trolls in the Pacific Ocean. On Batman’s orders, the new Atom (Ryan Choi) and Frost fix the TroubleAlert for JLA use. The Extremists—Lord Havok, Dreamslayer, Dr. Diehard, Gorgon, Tracer, Brute, and Death Bat—cross through the Bleed (from their home of Universe-8), entering Earth-0 in Upstate New York. The JLA teleports to New York and immediately combats the Extremists. Lord Havok grabs Atom, forcing Batman to surrender. After a brief discussion, Lord Havok agrees to let the heroes live, which angers Dr. Diehard. Havok and Diehard fight until Havok kills him. The Extremists then teleport to Kravia, a small Eastern European country that was home to Havok on Angor (aka the Earth of Universe-8). The Extremists quickly remove the ruling military junta and Havok becomes the monarch of Kravia. After cleaning up Saratoga, the JLA enters Kravia and fights Death Bat until the Kravian military forces them to leave. In a huge showy ceremony, Havok gives control of his country “back to the people,” but in reality he will serve as just another bloodthirsty dictator. On the border between Kravia and Gardevia, the JLA meets with a Gardevian general. Vixen lays out a plan to take Havok off his throne.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #952. Batman takes a more active role in training with the Bat-squad, especially with Clayface. Batman will train with Clayface (unseen on our timeline, of course) on-and-off for the next handful of months, moving forward.
–REFERENCE: In the second feature to All-Star Batman #6. September. Riddler, as he does every year (whether in prison or not), initiates a new pre-planned puzzle-themed strike on Gotham in commemoration of his original Zero Year attack. Since the reference to the anniversary attacks in the second feature to All-Star Batman #6 is vague and does not give specifics, we don’t know what this event entails. We are also not told if the Caped Crusader is able to successfully deal with Riddler’s assault or not.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #950. Batman codes several new Mud Room training simulations, one of which is so difficult that even he cannot beat it. The Belfry-Bat-squad begins running these simulations regularly along with Batman, although, as per usual, we will simply have to imagine training sessions occurring randomly below since they won’t actually physically appear on our chronology.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #950. Batman has a deep conversation with Azrael about his past, the Order of St. Dumas, theology, and Azrael’s faith in God. It is likely that Batman will continue this dialogue moving forward.
–Detective Comics #948-949 (“BATWOMAN BEGINS”)
Batman is contacted—via Commissioner Gordon and the Batsignal—by Dr. Victoria October, the ARGUS-contracted scientist that runs Monster Town, the contaminated site of Hugo Strange’s monster attacks from months ago. Gordon delivers Dr. October’s message, that terrible creatures keep growing out of the quarantined disaster area. Batman and Batwoman visit Monster Town to find that sea gulls are merging with human remains to form horrific beasts. After Dr. October and some ARGUS soldiers zap away the creatures, Dr. October shows Batman security footage of Colony stormtroopers stealing radioactive material from Monster Town. Batman and Batwoman return to the Belfry to find Colony Prime (the Colony’s top man Simon Samuels) attempting to free Jake Kane. The Duo duels Samuels, who thinks he has won when he stabs Batman in the chest. Unfortunately for Samuels, he has been lured into the Mud Room where a computer simulation of a dozen Batwomen overwhelms and confuses him. The real Batwoman kayoes Samuels, who resorts to injecting himself with Monster Venom, which turns him into a monster. In beast-mode, Samuels fends-off the Bat-heroes, crashes through a window, and flees. Batwoman confronts her dad in his cell. Jake finally agrees to tell all, revealing everything he knows about the League of Shadows. (Batman will still remain skeptical about the League of Shadows existence—as referenced in Detective Comics #951.)
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #951. The Colony makes a couple more back-to-back attempts to defeat the Bat-squad, but they fail miserably, getting permanently ejected from the city.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #950. Batman likely sees the members of his Bat-squad much more often than is indicated on our timeline, but he definitely now specifically takes a keener interest in seeing Cassandra Cain as much as possible—(maybe even daily, as hinted at in ‘tec #950). The reason for increased interaction with Cassie is twofold. Batman cares deeply for Cassie’s well being and wants her to be healthy and happy. But he also still has a lingering fear that she will one day return to her murderous roots. Invisible on our timeline below, Batman now begins meeting with Cassie more often. Cassie, while having nothing but affection for the Dark Knight, will also be very aware that he doesn’t fully trust her, which will lead to a depression on her part.
–All-Star Batman #1-3 (“MY OWN WORST ENEMY”)
Mid November—it is said to be an “Indian Summer.” Two-Face confronts the Dark Knight, but surprisingly the villain’s clear-headed Harvey Dent side is more in control than ever before. Harvey reveals that he has poured a ton of money into researching chemicals in relation to his mental state. Harvey sends a bunch of microscope slides of chemicals to Batman as proof, telling the Dark Knight that he has created a cure for his split-personality and hidden it at the original Arkham home in Innsmouth, Massachusetts where they first met each other shortly after Bruce’s parents’ deaths. After studying the chemical slides and seeing that there might still be hope for his old chum, Batman offers to take Harvey “500 miles” north to the old Arkham home in Innsmouth. Note that writer Scott Snyder gives us the “500 miles” distance in issue #1, but, as quickly as issue #3, contradicts himself and delivers a specific 272 mile distance. Snyder then seemingly returns to the 500 mile distance in issue #4 before specifically telling us 498 miles in issue #5. Ugh. Harvey accepts Batman’s offer to accompany him to Innsmouth with high hopes of purging his evil half for good. But before Harvey can physically join up with Batman, his evil half seemingly retakes control of his mind. For two weeks straight, Two-Face reigns chaos over Gotham. Eventually, Two-Face enacts a scheme that causes acid rain to shower all over the city, burning hundreds. (In actuality, as we learn in All-Star Batman #5, the good half of Two-Face is actually responsible for this acid rain attack—his way of guaranteeing that Batman will go through with taking him to Innsouth no matter what.) Things are so bad that Penguin, Black Mask, and Great White Shark actually help Batman, Lark, and a bearded Commissioner Gordon capture him. Less than two hours later, Batman and a chained-up and hooded Two-Face are in the Batplane, headed towards Innsmouth. Batman tosses Two-Face’s coin out the window. Two-Face tells Batman to turn on the news, which reveals that Two-Face has made an offer to all residents of the state. The media reports that Two-Face is set to publicly release a cache of information—every person’s metadata, acquired dirty secrets, and salacious stuff hidden in the closet that he’s unearthed over the years as Gotham’s number one blackmailer and crime-broker. (There must be a list of names given, because people immediately begin to freak out, including Alfred.) The info will go on the web if he and Batman reach their destination. Whoever stops them, not only prevents the secrets from being revealed, but will receive all the money that he’s stolen from Penguin, Great White Shark, and Black Mask. Who knows what Alfred is hiding, but it must be something bad because he drone attacks the Batplane, bringing it crashing down just outside of Gotham in adjacent Putnam County. Killer Moth, Firefly, and Black Spider (who has upgraded his robot spider legs) attack Batman immediately. Batman beats off Killer Moth and Firefly and then takes down Black Spider with a chainsaw, which scares the other two off for good. Local diner patrons, either on the bad secret list or simply wanting money, shoot Batman in the back just as an unchained, unhooded Two-Face finds his coin. Batman grabs Two-Face and disappears into a wheat field before stealing a semi-truck. With Two-Face chained up in the back, Batman continues their trip. Unknown to Batman, Gentleman Ghost has hitched a ride on the back of his trailer. After defeating Gentleman Ghost, Egghead, and Orca (Grace Balin), Batman ditches the truck and hops on top of a train with Two-Face in tow. In Washington, DC, Penguin, Great White Shark, and Black Mask hire former Soviet killing machine Anatoli Knyazev (aka “KGBeast,” now working as an assassin for the US Government and calling himself simply “The Beast.”) Meanwhile, in the Batcave, Duke and Alfred examine the most recent microscope chemical slide that Harvey sent them. Duke notices that ineffective Vasoprine is the main component and takes off on a motorcycle to help Batman. Twenty hours later, 156 miles outside of Gotham, and with Two-Face chained to the top of the train, Batman fights the trio of Killer Croc, King Shark, and Amygdala. After defeating them, Batman is struck with a poisoned arrow by Cheshire and a new female Copperhead. (Copperhead is still active, so it’s weird that she is using his name, but oh well.) Batman breaks off the arrowhead and sticks a chuckling Two-Face with it, poisoning him as well, thus forcing Two-Face to stay close to receive an antidote. The Dark Knight then detonates explosives on the train to escape. He cobbles together an antidote for the poison and cures himself and Two-Face. Batman then takes a bullet from some reward-hunting crooked SWAT cops. The slug cracks the Caped Crusader’s armored cowl, knocking him unconscious. Thrown in a van with Two-Face, a groggy and injured Batman comes-to. Two-Face tells Batman that he’s already sent to Mayor Hady a locked hard drive that will de-encrypt if they continue going any further toward Innsmouth. What information is on the hard drive? Batman’s secret ID as Bruce Wayne. 171 miles out of Gotham, the Beast appears and shoots at the SWAT van, causing it to crash. The Beast brutally murders the SWAT Team before Batman begins fighting him. When Two-Face gets involved, he gets throwing stars lodged in his face. Lark arrives, hitting the Beast with a car. Batman and Two-Face pile in and Lark drives them off. The Royal Flush Gang arrives only to be immediately blown up by the Beast. Meanwhile, Penguin, Black Mask, and the Great White Shark trail behind the route of carnage in a limo, stopping to gas up and murder some yokels. Meanwhile, luckily for our heroes, they are close to All Nut Walnut Farm, home to Harold Allnut’s secret Batcave. At the farm, Harold puts Two-Face under the knife and performs life-saving surgery. Bruce then tells Duke about the Innsmouth house and how he first met Harvey all those years ago. Duke tells Bruce about his favorite musical group, a metal band called “Batman’s $ʌ&@” comprised of ex-Arkham inmates. As referenced in All-Star Batman #5, before the trio departs, Bruce has Harold whip him up a special anti-Two-Face booster shot as a contingency just in case things go south. Twenty minutes later, Batman, Lark, and Two-Face are traveling up the underground aqueduct that connects to Harold’s cave in a hovercraft. At exactly 222 miles north of Gotham (only 50 miles until Innsmouth), a team of Two-Face-decorated Court of Owls Talons—working for Two-Face—strike, destroying the hovercraft. Two-Face tells Batman that he’s been following Harvey’s path to redemption, but that he might actually be following Two-Face’s path to destruction instead. A Talon hands Two-Face a vial of acid, which he dumps into Batman’s eyes, blinding him.
–All-Star Batman #4-5 (“MY OWN WORST ENEMY” Continued…)
A blinded Batman fights-off the Talons alongside Lark. About to drown in the viaduct water, Batman logs into Lark’s helmet and plays “Batman’s $ʌ&@” at full volume out of his pectoral speakers, which puts down the Talons. The heroes then bust Two-Face, who gets out a phone message before being kayoed. Batman and Lark commandeer a biplane and fly toward the Arkham Home with Two-Face in tow. Batman tells Lark more about his childhood history with Two-Face. Just as Batman is about to toss Two-Face’s coin, the Beast drops down onto the biplane from a plane above and knocks-out the heroes. (We are told that Batman and Lark are “407 miles” north of Gotham, but as we’ve figured out above, this cannot be the case. Innsmouth is only 272 miles north of Gotham. Scott Snyder has already contradicted himself multiple times in a mere four issues of narrative, so you’ll just have to trust me on this one.) Later, Batman, Lark, and Two-Face awaken as captives of the Beast, Penguin, Great White Shark, and Black Mask in an abandoned casino river boat. The Beast vows to take them to his manmade island HQ at “The Location of the Beast: 666” (6th parallel, 66th meridian west coordinates). The villains produce a laptop with a prerecorded video from none other than Two-Face’s Harvey Dent persona. In the video, Harvey reveals that he had a contingency plan against himself, which included putting a geolocation tracker into his own body so that Penguin could catch him and retrieve the information codes in case Batman failed. Two-Face responds to himself by revealing that he’s kept his own father captive in a basement in Reno for years. He’s certainly not afraid of anyone or anything, let alone himself. All of a sudden, an explosion rocks the boat, freeing all three captives. Two-Face further reveals that he was aware of his other half’s treachery and had expanded the range of the tracker in his body and made it public right before getting nabbed by Batman and Lark. Outside, Lark looks on in horror as hundreds of weapon-wielding regular citizens, all decked-out as bargain basement Mad Max-looking super-villains, converge upon their location, all out for Batman’s blood. (At this juncture, we are told that we are 451 miles north of Gotham, but, again since Snyder has given two different numbers, I’m going with the other version of things and saying that we really must only be around 250 miles north of Gotham.) Batman blows the riverboat off of its mooring, causing he and the A-list villains to float away from the mob. Batman, Lark, and Two-Face then ride a giant fiberglass casino chip over a waterfall with Batman using his cape to wrap up the other two in order to survive the impact like a daredevil going over Niagra Falls in a barrel. Batman and Lark punch-out Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee and commandeer their van to continue the journey to Innsmouth. As we learn in a flashforward from All-Star Batman #2, a full 24 hours have now passed since All-Star Batman #4, which means the hard drive containing Batman’s secret ID de-encrypts, revealing all of Batman’s information to Mayor Hady. The mayor immediately sends Commissioner Gordon, Harvey Bullock, and a squad of cops break into Wayne Manor. They smash down one of the grandfather clocks leading to the Batcave as Alfred tries in vain to stop them. Gordon pulls Alfred aside and says that he has never really known the truth about Bruce’s connection to Batman, but that he can only buy so much time before the cops descend into whatever lies beneath the mansion. As Gordon stalls for time, Batman, Lark, and Two-Face finally arrive at the old Arkham Home—a supposed 498 miles north of Gotham, which, again, should correctly be 272 miles, but whatever. Batman finds the hidden serum and tests it, confirming Lark’s fears. The serum, once in Harvey’s bloodstream, will cause one of his personalities to permanently dominate. Which one of these temperaments can only be determined by a an inner mental fight, meaning there will be a 50-50 chance of Harvey going full good or full evil. Harvey tells Batman that he has seeded the clouds over Gotham with the very same serum and that, if Batman doesn’t inject him right now, the stuff will rain all over Gotham. Harvey retrieves a hidden cell phone to call off the rain attack. Using the phone, Batman calls Alfred to check-in on him. Alfred confesses about crashing the Batplane, revealing that he did so because Harvey was threatening to reveal his secret ID to the world. Alfred tells continues his story, revealing further that, in the early days, he stole some of Batcave upgrade construction money and used it to hire a hitman to kill Joker. Obviously, Alfred called off the hit, but during the embezzlement and assassin hiring process, Two-Face had somehow been able to learn Batman’s secrets, including his identity and every detail of the Batcave. Batman attacks Two-Face and injects him with what the villain mistakenly believes is his serum but is actually Harold’s booster shot. Two-Face deactivates the clouds above Gotham. With the city safe, Batman reveals that the booster has nullified the ability for Two-Face’s cure to ever work on him. All of a sudden, a persistent Beast spears Batman through the chest. The mob has also followed and begins shooting at Beast, eager to get their hands on Batman themselves. Batman tackles the Beast off of a cliff and is rescued by Lark before falling as well. Taking both Two-Face and his lucky coin, Lark and a bloody Batman limp away as the bewildered mob parts for them in the pouring rain. Meanwhile, Gordon and the GCPD bomb squad go down the path beyond the grandfather clock. However, Batman’s forced-entry failsafe has worked—the passageway has shifted its direction and taken the stunned cops to a “man cave” panic room of little note. Once again any proof of Bruce being Batman is made more than circumstantial.
–REFERENCE: In DC Rebirth: Holiday Special #1, Part 1. Damian tells his dad that he wants the brand new Monk-E-Monsters Interactive video game system for Christmas.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 Annual #1, Part 4—originally told in Detective Comics #821. Batman takes down the debuting super-villain known as Façade.
–Sixpack & Dogwelder: Hard Travelin’ Heroz #6
John Constantine and Section Eight have commandeered a space shuttle and flown it to the Sirius system where NASA has reported that two stars are about to collide into one another in a space anomaly that could destroy the universe. While Constantine has sex with the gelatinous mass of crawling internal organs that is Guts, he is startled by the disgusting Bueno Excellente, who watches and masturbates. The sight of a concupiscent Bueno is enough to make Constantine vomit into his space helmet. (I’m not making this up.) Dogwelder (and his dog) float out into space towards the colliding stars. Siphoning cosmic power from a hidden Dogwelder shrine at the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Dogwelder literally welds the stars into one, preventing them from exploding. Baytor, Constantine, and a teary-eyed Sixpack watch as Dogwelder dies to save the entire universe. After returning to Earth, Constantine and Section Eight get drunk at Noonan’s and mourn the loss of their friend while the world celebrates the “miraculous” non-destruction of the Sirius stars. A wasted Sixpack wanders across town and enters a JLA fundraising gala at a hotel. He accuses the heroes present—including Batman, Hawkman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Starfire, Green Arrow, Power Girl (visiting from Earth-2, I guess), Martian Manhunter, and Catwoman—of being phonies that will never give his buddy Dogwelder credit where credit is due. Batman boots Sixpack’s drunk ass to the curb.
–Batgirl & The Birds of Prey #2
When a new mystery Oracle (Gus Yale) hits the scene in Gotham, Batgirl is pissed. With the newly reformed lineup of the Birds of Prey—featuring herself, Black Canary, and Helena Bertinelli (no longer working for Spyral and now going by “Huntress“)—Batgirl investigates and finds a connection between the new Oracle and crime bosses Santo Cassamento and Fenice (Huntress’ mom Maria Bertinelli). The Birds of Prey, along with Commissioner Gordon, take Cassamento to a safe-house in the country. Commissioner Gordon argues with Batgirl, who storms off. Back at Batgirl’s Clocktower HQ, Batman—having been contacted by Commissioner Gordon—visits the Birds of Prey and warns Batgirl to be careful. Babs argues with Batman and he leaves. The Birds of Prey then trace Oracle to a server farm on the outskirts of the city. They go there, download information, and escape before a bomb blows the place sky high. Meanwhile, Fenice, having discovered the location of the police safe-house, sends a team of hired snake-themed metahuman thugs—Lady Viper, Copperhead, Cottonmouth, and Asp—to permanently silence Cassamento.
–Batman Vol. 3 Annual #1, Part 2
Batman and Alfred setup another herculean crime-fighting initiative, this time focused on improving both his already-impeccable surveillance capabilities and response time. The Caped Crusader already has the ability to tap into pretty much any communication device. And, via the Bat Family’s amazing computer system, the Dark Knight can also can view nearly every security camera feed in Gotham if he needs to. But apparently that ain’t
invasive effective enough for ol’ Bats. He and Alfred do extensive research on emergencies, gang violence, gang territories, and terrorism in Gotham. Combining their findings with a special computer algorithm that intercepts all 911 calls, sorts through them for key words, and then sends information directly to Batman, the Dark Knight becomes able to strike faster than a moment’s notice. Using what they dub “The Batsignal 2.0,” Batman and Alfred are now constantly plugged-in. As snow falls over Gotham, Batman uses his new ethically-troubling data-mining tech on patrol, making him more efficient as a crime-fighter than ever before. After using the “Batsignal 2.0” for a few days, Batman is surprised when it suddenly goes silent. But the moment of calm is fleeting. The “Batsignal 2.0” directs him to the Riddler, whom he presumably busts. Batman will use this new tech constantly, moving forward on our timeline.
–Aquaman Vol. 8 #12-13 (“THE DELUGE”)
Winter. Black Jack‘s NEMO (Nautical Enforcement of Macrocosmic Order)—with assistance from Black Manta and Commander Michael Patrick Stubbs—sends an unsanctioned Atlantean military group to attack the United States. Thinking that the undersea nation has orchestrated an incursion on American soil, President Obama declares war against Atlantis! In the White House, the Navy’s top-ranking Admiral Meddinghouse introduces the US Government’s anti-Atlantis contingency plan, which has been a work in progress ever since the government first learned about Atlantis in 2005, to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mr. Gantry. The contingency plan is a team of super-powered Navy Seals called the Aquamarines. (The Aquamarines consist of Great White, Octo, Barracuda, Stone, Lion, and Orca—not to be confused with the other female super-villain Orca.) Meanwhile, in the capital of Atlantis, Aquaman’s closest confidants—including Mera, Jurok Byss, Carcharador, Zeekil Neol, Seneschal Kae, Tula, Elder Rowa, Murk, and Joanna Stubbs—all go into a full blown panic. NEMO, still pretending to be the Atlantean Army, destroys US carriers and planes while Commander Stubbs uses his own vessel to pretend to be a US Navy submarine, killing Atlantean General Orcos and striking towards Atlantean General Seagrave. With things terribly out of hand, the Justice League confronts Aquaman head-on in Atlantis. Aquaman tells of the NEMO conspiracy and has Elder Rowa deliver evidence of their existence and manipulation to the Justice League. Concurrently, Mera confers with Reverend Mother Cetea. When Commander Stubbs attacks the capital of Atlantis, Aquaman and Murk defend the city. Meanwhile, the JL, satisfied with the evidence they have seen, goes to Mr. Gantry at the White House. But when Commander Stubbs and his NEMO soldiers are captured by Aquaman, Black Manta remotely kills them with coral bombs. When the JL is unable to convince Mr. Gantry that NEMO is real, Admiral Meddinghouse orders the Aquamarines to assassinate Aquaman. (The Atalantean-American war ends—in the Batman-less Aquaman Vol. 8 #15—with Aquaman exposing and defeating NEMO, then officially surrendering to President Obama, which leads to Atlantis being accepted into the UN.)
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #951. Batman “allows” Batwoman to meet Superman for the first time. The Man of Steel gives her advice to have fun while fighting crime.
–DC Rebirth: Holiday Special #1 framing story
Like almost every Harley Quinn story, much of this framing sequence that connects all the stories of this Holiday Special, takes place only in Harley’s fantastical mind. However, it seems like the superheroes do have a legitimate mirthful gathering at a swanky pad to celebrate the holidays in style. Ignoring the obvious non-canon fourth-wall breaking Harley-hosting, we can take the party as canon. In attendance are the entire Justice League, entire Teen Titans, Batwoman, Green Lantern Jessica Cruz, Black Canary, Zatanna, Detective Chimp, Shazam, Vixen, and the Chinese Super-Man. Some of the more chilled-out villains are also in attendance—Flash’s Rogues (including Captain Cold, Trickster, Golden Glider, Weather Wizard, and Pied Piper), Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and a Gorilla City ape. (This Gorilla City ape, with red lightning warpaint on his chest, is supposed to be Grodd. However, since Grodd ain’t ever chill, we should retcon this fella to be a nicer simian, like Grimm for instance.) During the party, Batman, who hasn’t brought any presents, donates to the Wayne Foundation Police Retirement Fund on behalf of all the party’s attendees. No one is happy about this “gift.”
–Batman Vol. 3 Annual #1, Part 5
Snow falls over Gotham as the Dark Knight patrols. Batman learns that a new psychologist has allowed the best-behaved Arkham inmates to have a holiday party. While the Caped Crusader stops-off at one of his safe houses, an army of drones dumps Fear Gas all over the city. Batman uses a remote jamming-device in the Batmobile that disrupts the drones’ operational capabilities. By the time he gets to Arkham, Haunter has escaped. Batman tracks Haunter to her accomplice, Scarecrow, before proceeding to inject them both with a paralytic nerve toxin. Both Haunter and Scarecrow go to jail.
–Superman Vol. 4 #10-11 (“IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER”)
December—Winter Break, shortly before Christmas. Jon and Kathy say goodbye to their teacher Mr. Martinez before running into a scouting Maya Ducard. (Damian has been secretly surveilling Jon for the better part of the year, going so far as to put secret cameras all along his route home from school.) When a peeping Nobody (Maya) and Goliath are outed, an accidental fight ensues (with Jon debuting his ice breath). Nobody and Goliath capture Jon, delivering him to Damian in a clocktower laboratory deserving of a mad scientist. There, Robin runs tests on a restrained Superboy and hacks into the Justice League satellite to get more info on Superboy. This alerts Batman, who traces the hack signal and crashes the party. An angry Superman isn’t far behind. After a tense stare-down, sanity prevails and a few sentimental moments are had, including Maya meeting Superman for the first time. Back at the Batcave, Batman runs more tests on Superboy but this time with Superman’s blessing. Batman tells Superman that his son might have different powers than him. After Alfred serves soda, Damian introduces Bat-cow, Alfred the Cat, and Titus to Superboy. But the calm doesn’t last as the boys bicker and fight. This prompts an angry dad response from the angry super-dads. Batman and Superman (presumably with some help from some of their metahuman pals) renovate a stronghold atop a snowy mountain peak. (The mountain stronghold is next to a coniferous forest in some unknown location overseas.) This deathtrap-filled compound is to be “boot camp” for the boys. After planning challenges for the Damian and Jon, the boys are dropped off. On day two, as Superman watches from high above and Batman and Alfred watch remotely, the super-sons fight against Maya, who tells them they must best her to earn back their insignia badges and then overcome three subsequent challenges in order to earn back their capes. After dispatching with Maya, and dealing with Goliath, the boys spend the night on a small rocky island in the Atlantic Ocean. The next day, they arrive in Gotham Harbor to find a Superman-made hurricane in their way. The boys evade the hurricane with Goliath’s help, landing on a trash barge. Superman tells the boys that they still aren’t working together very well. Later, Superboy and Robin face their final challenge, a synthetically-created “Rainbow Creature” comprised of the DNA of Batman’s most famous rivals. The boys defeat and seemingly destroy the blobby “Mr. Squish.” While Batman isn’t quite satisfied, Alfred is overjoyed and returns the capes to the super-sons. Later, in Hamilton County, Bruce and Clark take Damian and Jon out to cut down Christmas trees. Naturally, the boys argue and fight causing the trees to burn to cinders. Despite the trouble, Bruce and Damian stay at the farm for dinner.
–REFERENCE: In Super Sons #2. Bruce tells Damian that one of Superman’s flaws is that he isn’t very detail oriented.
–DC Rebirth: Holiday Special #1, Part 1
December 24-25. On X-mas Eve, Batman and Superman defeat a giant “rainbow monster” that has come out of a volcano in Ecuador. While Robin fights the Madmen in Gotham, Superman returns to the States to do some last second holiday shopping. But despite flying all over America, Superman can’t find the one thing Jonathan wants: the Monk-E-Monsters Interactive video game system. Superman’s last stop is Gotham, where, after defeating The Penny Plunderer, he finally spots the elusive Monk-E-Monsters system. But before he can grab it, none other than Damian snatches it up off the shelf. Bruce and Damian later go to the Smith Farm to spend Christmas Eve with Lois, Clark, and Jonathan. After dinner, Jonathan opens one present from Damain—Monk-E-Monsters! Before heading back to Gotham, Bruce and Clark play video games with the boys.
–Batman Vol. 3 Annual #1, Part 4
Late December—during Hanukkah. Famous billionaire philanthropist Barry O’Neil unveils his latest gift to the city, a playground made entirely of ice. Commissioner Gordon and Bruce Wayne are on hand to personally introduce O’Neil to an adoring audience. But as they do, third-rate Mr. Freeze knock-off Mister Blizzard debuts and attacks O’Neil. Bruce ditches and switches, coming back as Batman to kick ass. Later, at Wayne Manor, Duke delivers some Bat-themed gelt (courtesy of Kate and Alfred) to Bruce, who ponders aloud, doubting that he will ever live up to the high standard of philanthropy set by O’Neil. In the heart of Gotham, a gaudy new super-villain called The Stag murders O’Neil.
–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 4 #11. Late December. Bruce hosts a high-profile charity ball.
- COLLIN COLSHER: God is the single Judeo-Christian god named “God.” I’ve mentioned my little bit about God on the Modern Age timeline, but it doesn’t hurt to bring it up here again. There is a near infinite pantheon of gods that exist in the DC multiverse, God being but one of many. Yet only the brash and egocentric Judeo-Christian deity had the audacity to call himself “God”—although, depending on one’s religion, he does have other names as well.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: 500 miles from Gotham to Innsmouth seems a bit too far if we are going by the concept that Gotham is in New Jersey and Innsmouth is in Massachusetts. 272 miles, on the other hand, makes a hell of a lot more sense.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: When we last saw Black Mask, he was victim of a techno-virus that had made him a paralyzed invalid. Red Hood had stuck him in the care of Ma Gunn. Since Black Mask is back and healthy again, we must assume that his buddies Penguin and Great White Shark have rescued him.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: As referenced in Gotham Academy: Second Semester #2, we learn that Egghead—based off the Vincent Price character from Batman ’66—is yet another Gotham Academy teacher that has lapsed into super-villainy.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: It’s been mentioned before on this site, but it bears repeating. In Tom King and Tim Seeley’s Grayson: Futures End #1, which takes place in an alternate reality, the Futures End version of Dick Grayson—(who is an alternate but has the same past history as our primary version)—faces off with KGBeast, telling him that Batman told him he was a total joke of an opponent, even having to bite his lip in order to not laugh while fighting him. Obviously, this is not the case, and it never was on any timeline. KGBeast is a badass and not to be messed with. Therefore, in Grayson: Futures End #1, Dick must be lying in order to get under the Beast’s skin.↩