(January 2016 to June 2016)
–REFERENCE: In Gotham Academy: Second Semester #1. Early January. School is just about to start up again after Winter Break. Bruce visits Gotham Academy and meets with teacher Isla MacPherson to ask how Olive Silverlock’s last semester of school went. (Note: In Gotham Academy: Second Semester #2, Maps says that she is still a first-year student. This should be the second semester of her second year. Error alert.)
————————–Gotham Academy: Second Semester #5
————————–Gotham Academy: Second Semester #7-8
Colton Rivera and Pomeline Fritch break into the shop room at Gotham Academy. Colton gets spotted by Professor Sterling Silversmith and runs through a secret passageway to find himself in the office of librarian Mr. Scarlet (aka Bookworm). Colton steals an antique map belonging to Headmaster Hammer, but then gets caught by Headmaster Hammer himself. Colton is immediately expelled for stealing. Having just exposed their English teacher Elith Pio as the witchy super-villainess Haxan, the rest of Colton’s crew—Maps Mizoguchi, Kyle Mizoguchi, Katherine Karlo (Clayface III), and Olive Silverlock—arrives to learn about Colton’s situation. “Amy” is with the crew as well, but unknown to Olive, only she can see her. Amy is actually the evil spirit of Amity Arkham, haunting poor Olive. Pomeline calls her mom, top lawyer Anaica Fritch, who demands and obtains an emergency hearing for Colton. In a couple hours, the Gotham Academy Board of Directors gathers, including Bruce Wayne, to hear the facts. Attorney Fritch accuses Mr. Scarlet of stealing Headmaster Hammer’s map prior to Colton stealing it. Bruce notices that the evidence has gone missing. Across campus, Pomeline and Tristan Grey, having swiped the map, break into Wedgewood Museum hoping to use the map to find the mysterious occult tome known as “The Old Book of Gotham.” When the Batsignal hangs high in the snowy night sky, Bruce quickly chats with Olive and Kyle before making a swift departure. (Whatever case Batman rushes off to solve is unspecified.) At Wedgewood, Pomeline and Tristan discover that the moonlight causes the map to reveal hidden ink below the top layer. As Pomeline and Tristan attempt to decode the map, The Symbolist (an ostracized Eric Jørgensen dressed in a homemade super-villain costume peppered with diabolist markings), stalks them, angry that they are about to find secrets that he has worked hard to unearth first. Shortly thereafter, Tristan, Colton, Maps, Pomeline, Olive, Kyle, and Eric follow their map and go deep beneath the campus grounds into the bizarre surrealist-designed catacombs called the Mines of Moria. Influenced by the evil spirit of Amity Arkham, Olive pushes Eric off a cliff to his apparent death. When the gang freaks out, Olive has a Tyler Durden Fight Club moment and realizes that “Amy” never existed. Before Tristan saves Eric’s life by catching him, Olive slips through a secret passageway and finds herself back above ground where she is found by Isla MacPherson and her dog Ham. A panicked Olive runs back to the dorms. Meanwhile, back underground, the crew follows the map deeper into underground caverns. After splitting up, Colton and Pomeline find a skeleton wearing jester’s clothing and the fabled “Old Book of Gotham,” which reveals that the Silverlock Family is related to the Arkham Family and that the Arkham symbol scrawled all over the campus grounds is Amity Arkham’s seal. Mr. Scarlet, having followed the teens, sneaks up behind them, knocks them out, and steals the book. Concurrently, in the dorms, Olive is confronted by the spirit of Amity Arkham before running to the stables to get help from Professor MacPherson. When Olive arrives, she sees Batman visiting Isla. Secretly listening-in, Olive overhears Isla warn Batman that Olive might be succumbing to the same fate her mother did. A pissed-off Olive ignites her entire body aflame, activating her pyro metapowers. Possessed by Amity Arkham, Olive goes wild as everyone gathers around in an attempt to calm her down. Meanwhile, down in the Mines of Moria, Mr. Scarlet reads from the Old Book of Gotham while Katherine Karlo secretly frees Colton and Pomeline. Upon reading an incantation from the book, Mr. Scarlet summons the spirit of Amity Arkham down into the mine, freeing Olive, who falls into unconsciousness. Pomeline closes the book, undoing the summoning spell, then kayos Mr. Scarlet with the heavy tome. Back above ground, Pomeline joins the group and confronts Olive, who has become repossessed. Pomeline, able to communicate with the spirit of Amity because her ancestors wrote the Old Book of Gotham and was once friends with Amity, hands the book over to Olive/Amity. Amity vows to exact revenge against all the living descendants of those that executed her, disappearing in a fiery flash. (The book includes a list of those responsible.)
–REFERENCE: In the second feature to All-Star Batman #1. Alfred stuns Batman and drops some arcane knowledge on the Dark Knight. Alfred teaches Batman important tenets of psychology that even he was unaware of. Together, Batman melds the story of his life with Alfred’s theories. Instead of text, they draw up an almost sacred-geometrical diagram, which they call the “Cursed Wheel.” This sigil-like image depicts an ultra-condensed version of all of Batman’s experiences combined with Alfred’s unique tenets regarding human psychology. Despite having only just been created, Batman and Alfred are very aware that every Bat Family member has lived the life of the “Cursed Wheel” and each Bat Family Member has a place upon it.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #948. Upon learning that his old acquaintance—the world’s foremost expert in the field of post-human bio-weaponry—has just undergone gender reassignment surgery, Batman sends the now-named Dr. Victoria October a sex change congratulations card.
–Batman Vol. 2 #51
Batman builds a new version of the Batmobile and upgrades it to have a high-tech cloaking device that has the ability to camouflage it to look like a variety of different unassuming street-legal vehicles. After having a laugh with Alfred, Batman takes the new car out for a spin. As he arrives in the city, an earthquake rumbles and knocks all of Gotham’s power offline. Batman responds to the Batsignal and muses with Commissioner Gordon—who has been chain smoking and hasn’t exercised a day since getting out of the hospital a few months ago—about what super-villain must be responsible for the blackout. Batman rushes to the new Arkham Asylum when he hears word of a breakout, but when he gets there, Jeremiah Arkham’s new security failsafes have already prevented the inmates—Bane, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Riddler, Killer Croc, and Clayface—from escaping. The Rogues Gallery notices Batman’s new costume for the first time and quietly return to their cells. Batman, suspecting the Court of Owls as the power grid deactivators, goes in disguise as a Court of Owls member to infiltrate their flooded underground labyrinth. While the Owl higher-ups make mention of a coming “Mantling” orchestrated by their “Strigidae,” they definitely are not responsible for any blackout. Batman sheds his disguise and punches out the baddies. Batman then spies on Penguin, Black Mask, and Great White Shark at the Iceberg Lounge, confirming that they aren’t behind it either. We (the reader) see a still amnesiac Joker sitting on his bench. Batman makes one more stop, interrogating a Gotham Gazette columnist who used to be a member of the Whisper Gang. (Batman fought him way back in Batman Vol. 2 #3, which the dude refers to as being “five years ago.” The illusion of “five years” is untenable; it’s only been four years.) As the sun comes up over Gotham, Alfred radios-in that the blackout was actually the result of a natural occurrence.
–REFERENCE: From Batman Vol. 3 #3 and Batman Vol. 3 Annual #1, Part 5. Not only has the Caped Crusader built a brand new car, he also makes a bunch of new technology upgrades to all of the other Bat-vehicles, including the Batcycle, Batplane, and alternate Batmobiles. Included among these upgrades is a fake sedan that literally comes apart like a Transformer to release the hidden Batcycle within and a remote controlled electronic jamming-device added to one of the Bat-cars.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 3 #15. Batman adds the four-wheeler “Bat-ATV” into his collection of Bat-vehicles.
–Green Lantern Vol. 5 #48
Immediately following “Darkseid War,” the Green Lantern Corps went missing and Hal Jordan was disavowed by the Guardians, causing him to flee Earth for about a month. Now, Hal returns to visit his young nephew Howard Jordan, who has been injured during a terrorist attack by super-villain Sonar (Bito Wladon), leader of the Modoran Separatist Army. While at the hospital, a news report shows video of Sonar, who claims responsibility for the bombing. Hal immediately flies to Gotham to get help from the Dark Knight, but is surprised to meet the robo-Batman instead. Robo-Batman tells Hal that the real Batman is on vacation. He also says that every police department in America, including the GCPD, only minutes ago, has been put on high alert and briefed about Sonar. Robo-Batman explains that new evidence has proved that Sonar assassinated the previous leaders of the MSA and took over the terror cell with new members under his command. Robo-Batman also tells Hal that the MSA has a training camp in Kahndaq. Hal rushes to Kahndaq and confronts MSA soldiers, but they all commit suicide rather than be captured. Hal then levels the entire compound. Meanwhile, in the floating ruins of Oa in outer space, Modern Age Hal Jordan (Parallax) decides that his New 52 counterpart isn’t cutting the mustard. He declares that Hal must die and departs for Earth.
–Action Comics Vol. 2 #50
Ever since last year, Vandal Savage has enacted a plan that has slowly brought Superman to his knees. Now, Vandal Savage has captured both Lana Lang and most of the Justice League (including a still disavowed Hal Jordan). Vandal Savage has now stolen the entire Fortress of Solitude as well. Using his giant spaceship, Vandal Savage attacks Metropolis and prepares to harness energy from a passing comet, the very same comet that gave him his powers 40,000 years ago. Superman, still wearing his t-shirt costume but now ironically temporarily re-powered thanks to Kryptonite (which is also killing him at the same time), leads a ragtag team consisting of Mr. Terrific, Ukur, Baka, Wonder Woman, Steel, the Justice League United, and robo-Batman against Vandal Savage’s minions. Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Lee fight for their lives on the ravaged streets. After infiltrating Vandal Savage’s ship, the heroes rescue the Justice League and Lana. As the comet draws near, Vandal Savage’s ship breaks apart and he sends his children (Salvaxe, The Twins, and the other one) hurtling in escape pods into the energy blast of the comet. Superman faces Vandal Savage and they fight. Vandal Savage punches a dying Superman into the core of the Fortress of Solitude. Inside, Superman is bio-scanned by Kryptonian tech and his cells are regenerated completely. The scanner/regenerator straps on his regular Superman costume and a fully healed and permanently re-powered Man of Steel is back! Vandal Savage’s children, now imbued with the comet’s power, assault the heroes.
–Superman/Wonder Woman #27
Vandal Savage’s kids—with the Twins having multiplied into a veritable clone army—wage an all out war against the Justice League, trench coat Hal Jordan, Steel, Baka, the Justice League United, and robo-Batman. Meanwhile, Vandal Savage dispatches with Ukur and is helped up to the energy-emitting comet with some help from his minion Puzzler. Superman uses his heat vision to sever the connection between a mind-controlled Frankenstein and Vandal Savage, returning the centuries-old warrior back to the side of good. Vandal Savage’s kids, unable to properly wield the comet’s power within their bodies, each explode and die. Superman fights Vandal Savage in the skies above as the latter sucks energy from the comet. (Superman defeats Vandal Savage in the immediate Batman-less follow-up, Superman Vol. 3 #50.)
–REFERENCE: In Batman Beyond Vol. 7 #5 and Batman Beyond Vol. 7 #7. Bruce takes Jim Gordon’s Robo-Bat-suit and stores it in the Batcave. Bruce will continue to improve upon the model over the course of the next twenty-five years, although this tinkering-about will go unseen on our timeline.
–REFERENCE: In Death of Hawkman #1. Batman once privately told Commissioner Gordon that “criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot.” Now, Batman practically makes this line his motto, speaking the phrase to both his Justice League teammates and to the Justice League United as well.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Beyond Vol. 7 #12. Batman, on patrol, stands high atop a Gotham skyscraper as lightning dramatically flashes behind him.
–Batman Vol. 2 #52
Crypsis, a super-villain with the combined powers of Kitty Pryde and Nightcrawler, breaks into the bank where Bruce’s old “How to Move On” journal is held in a safety deposit box. A special alarm goes off, alerting Batman to the break-in. Batman fights Crypsis, but the villain absconds with Bruce’s safety box, hoping to ransom whatever is inside for a big payoff. Batman hounds Crypsis across town and corners him. Crypsis opens the safety box to find the “worthless” journal. Batman punches him out and sends him on a one-way ticket to Blackgate. Back in the Batcave, Alfred expresses his surprise that the journal still exists. Bruce tells Alfred that he kept it and had planned to retrieve it when all of the items on his “How to Move On” bucket-list were completed. The only thing on the list that he never accomplished—and not so coincidentally the only not emo-goth thing on the list—was the only item that Alfred wrote in: “Remember that your parents will always be proud of you.” But now, thanks to Alfred, Batman can finally truly believe that. With patrol only getting started, the Caped Crusader swings back out into the rainy Gotham night.
–Catwoman: Election Night #1
Note that, even though the words “Election Night” appear in the title, this story takes place months before actual election night. It’s not just a presidential election year, it’s a mayoral election year in Gotham as well. With only one viable opponent to go up against Mayor Hady, the seemingly progressive Constance Hill, Penguin officially throws his hat in the ring, announcing his candidacy with Donald Trump-style hate-mongering, which catapults him to the top of the leader board. Catwoman sees something shady in Ms. Hill, who oddly campaigns to save Miss Kitty’s Home for Wayward Girls, one of the many orphanages that Catwoman lived in as a child. After a visit with Hill, Catwoman breaks into the Iceberg Lounge to dig up dirt on Penguin, but Batman is already there. He tells Catwoman that he is also investigating both Hill and Penguin (and has been trailing Catwoman this whole time), handing over files detailing Penguin’s illegal real estate dealings. Catwoman then visits Miss Kitty, who reveals that Hill is actually a bully from back in the day named Jamie Allan. This triggers a memory Selina had when she was a girl—a memory of Jamie covered in blood. Catwoman puts two-and-two together and realizes that young Jamie murdered another child (who went missing) and hid the body in the basement. Now, as an adult running for mayor, “Constance Hill” has made Miss Kitty’s Home the focus of her campaign in an ill-fated attempt to cover up the decades-old crime. Catwoman exposes Hill on live TV during a debate against Penguin. Penguin runs off only to get nabbed by Batman, who exposes his illegal dealings. Both campaigns end with a sudden halt. Back at Miss Kitty’s, young Beth Ross tells Miss Kitty that she will be president some day. (In case you don’t know Beth Ross will become the youngest-ever president of the United States in about twelve years. You can read about it in the delightful Prez Vol. 2.)
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #9-10 and Batman Vol. 3 #15. Catwoman learns Batman’s secret ID. Shortly thereafter, a Kahndaqi terror group known as The Dogs of War bombs The Thomas and Martha Wayne Home for the Boys and Girls of Gotham, killing 171 people, mostly orphaned children. Catwoman’s friend Holly Robinson, who once stayed at the home with Selina as a child, snaps. Holly begins a clandestine campaign of bloody vengeance and retribution. Over the course of the next few months, Holly will stalk all 237 members of the Dogs of War and murder them individually. Batman investigates the Dogs of War bombing as well, but is unaware who is responsible for the executions of the Dogs of War at this point.
–Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1
Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz respond to a distress call in Arizona. There, a Manhunter robot fights and defeats them. Afterward, Hal Jordan appears and reveals that it was a test to see if they are ready to protect Earth. Jordan explains that he will be leaving on official Green Lantern business at the other end of the universe (to locate the missing Green Lantern Corps). Hal merges Simon and Jessica’s power batteries into one, forcing them to share ring power moving forward. Hal then brings Simon and Jessica to the Justice League Watchtower, where the JL is waiting. Simon and Jessica will not only train with the JL, but will also serve as its newest members, replacing Hal. On a distant planet, the evil Red Lanterns (once again led by Atrocitus) secretly watch these events unfold.
THE FINAL DAYS OF SUPERMAN
————————–Action Comics Vol. 2 #52
Batman fights Tusk and a coterie of weird metahumans, but is interrupted by Superman, who quickly defeats all of the bad guys. In the Batcave, Superman tells Batman the bad news. Thanks to the events of the previous ten months—specifically his fight against Rao, losing and then regaining his powers by falling into an ARGUS Kryptonite chamber, and plummeting into a fire pit on Apokolips—the Man of Steel is dying of a form of Kryptonite cancer. Superman confirms this to Batman, who kinda sorta already knew, but wasn’t sure if Superman’s condition was legitimately fatal or not. While meeting Titus and Bat-Cow for the first time, Superman asks Batman to locate the missing Supergirl, not only to make sure she is okay, but also to ensure that a Kryptonian superhero can carry on after he is gone. Alfred thanks Superman for his service to humanity and Superman departs. A grief-stricken and helpless Batman angrily smashes a computer. Later, a fake Superman (Denny Swan), glowing with solar energy, saves random people all over Metropolis. (Swan has been blasted by a sentient energy source, which in turn has been infused with a mutated copy of Superman’s genome.) Meanwhile, Batman investigates Supergirl’s disappearance and tracks her last known whereabouts to New York City. There, Superman meets with Batman, who tells him she might have left to go to National City. Just then, the heroes are attacked by Mandarin-speaking human-animal-hybrid robots that are modeled after the Four Pillars of the Zodiac. The monster bots self-destruct after being beaten, except for the dragon, who brutally cuts Superman’s neck before teleporting away. The glowing pseudonymous Superman then murderously rages out of control and is temporarily detained by ARGUS where he is questioned by Wonder Woman and the real Man of Steel. When the spurious Superman escapes from custody, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman fly to China, mistakenly tracking his energy signature there. En route, Wonder Woman tells Batman that she and Superman almost broke up, but they are on great terms again and quite in love with each other. She also tells Batman that the fake Superman actually believes that he is the real Clark Kent. In China, the Trinity are quickly attacked by seven members of China’s version of the JL, The Great Ten (August General in Iron, Accomplished Perfect Physician, Ghost Fox Killer, Jade Lion, Yeti, Celestial Archer, and Seven Deadly Brothers). Soon, diplomacy wins and the Great Ten accompany the Trinity to the Shanxi Province laboratory of government super-scientist Dr. Omen, controller of the Zodiac bots and head of the government organization known as the Ministry of Self-Reliance. In the lab, the Trinity learns that the energy source is not linked to the fake Superman in America. Dr. Omen is forced to reveal the first ever Chinese Man of Steel: Super-Man (Kenan Kong). Dr. Omen, releases Super-Man, who flies off, prompting the Great Ten to follow and the Americans to return home. En route back to the States, a very shaky Superman struggles to fly straight. Batman contemplates putting the Man of Steel into a Lazarus Pit, but dismisses the thought as a terrible idea. Superman collapses in mid air, resulting in him getting a ride in the Batplane. Meanwhile, in Metropolis, the glowing fake Superman visits Lois Lane. She accompanies him to the Salinas, California home of Modern Age Lois and Clark. There, the energy double Superman introduces Lois to a surprised “Clark White” and Jonathan White. Evil Superman burns off Clark’s civilian clothes, revealing the Superman costume underneath. The Modern Age Superman and evil solar Superman do battle, causing an energy spike that registers on the Batplane computer. Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman immediately fly to Salinas. Upon landing, Superman has his first ever face-to-face meeting with the Modern Age version of himself. When “Lois White” arrives, the Modern Age Man of Steel grabs both she and their son (and pup Ranger and kitty Goldie) and flies off. The solar Superman makes an offer to the Trinity to help catch Modern Age Superman.
THE FINAL DAYS OF SUPERMAN Continued…
————————–Superman/Wonder Woman #29
————————–Superman Vol. 3 #52
The evil solar Superman’s offer to fight side-by-side with the heroes is rebuked, leading to a brutal fight. Batman takes Lois Lane away in the Batplane, delivering her to a safer location. Meanwhile, Modern Age Superman (having put the pets somewhere), flies to a secret Fortress of Solitude that the Modern Age Man of Steel keeps in the Colorado Rockies. In Salinas, Superman and Wonder Woman smash the bad Superman, causing his powers to momentarily short-out, revealing him as fugitive convict Denny Swan. When his powers kick back in, he blasts away Wonder Woman and takes a sick Superman high up into the sky. In National City, where a weak Supergirl is undergoing solar rejuvenation at a DEO lab to regain her strength, the Girl of Steel is told about the fight in Salinas. Supergirl soon joins in the fight alongside Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Superman grabs the faker, whose energy is building up to explode, and flies him into Earth’s orbit. Modern Age Superman arrives to assist him. Knowing that his counterpart will be one of Earth’s only saviors, Superman punches him away and then solar-flares as the fake Superman explodes in his arms. A gigantic fiery blast lights up the sky as Lois arrives via helicopter and Steel and Lana Lang arrive in a private jet. (As we learn in Superwoman #1, the fiery blast caused by Superman’s death endows Lois and Lana with super powers.) The fake Superman is no more. Superman falls back to Earth and is caught by Modern Age Superman—(a scene also shown via single-panel flashback from Superman: Rebirth #1). Everyone says their heartfelt goodbyes before a teary-eyed Superman combusts and charrs into a pile of ash—the energy within his dying body literally consuming itself from the inside out. (This combustion scene is also shown in a single panel flashback from Action Comics #958.) Modern Age Superman flies off, leaving Superman’s “family” to mourn. The news of Superman’s death quickly hits the mainstream news media, and soon the entire planet mourns the passing of the Man of Steel. Lois writes his obituary. Farewell Superman. Rest in power.
–FLASHBACK: From Justice League: Rebirth #1. The JL mourns the death of Superman aboard the Watchtower. They discuss the loss of their friend and also the surprise appearance of the new (Modern Age) Superman. Batman propounds that they invite the new Superman to join the JL in order to keep close tabs on the stranger. Modern Age Superman doesn’t join the team quite yet.
–DC Universe: Rebirth #1
March. The original Kid Flash, Wally West, having finally been released from the Speed Force during the recent “Darkseid War,” now attempts to make contact with the world. But Wally doesn’t just want to make it back home, he wants to alert his friends about something terrible as well. During his time trapped in the Speed Force, Wally saw the true history of the DCU, all the way back to the original Crisis, regaining all of his old Modern Age memories in the process. Not only that, but Wally also saw that Flashpoint spawned the current dark incarnation of the DCU, which is missing ten years that were literally stolen by a powerful unknown force, who took the time as Pandora was re-shaping the world. (SPOILER: It’s Dr. Manhattan.) By stealing the decade, Dr. Manhattan was able to become the true secret creator of the New 52—a deliberately grim-n-gritty world containing less experienced and “weaker” heroes. In the Batcave, Batman watches news broadcasts regarding Superman’s death from a day prior. Alfred calls in and tells him that Joker is active in Civic City. Batman tells Alfred that another Joker has been caught in Baltimore and is currently en route to Arkham as they speak. There really are three Jokers, just as the Mobius Chair had said.(SPOILER: As revealed in Harley Quinn Vol. 3 #13, the Joker en route to Arkham is Edwin, a man who was so obsessed with the real Joker that he began a correspondence with the villain a couple years ago, which eventually led to Edwin getting plastic surgery and learning to completely mimic the real Clown Prince of Crime in every way—up to and including committing horrible crimes and becoming infatuated with Harley Quinn.) Wally breaks through the Speed Force barrier and tries to get help from Batman, but he can only make an impassioned plea for Batman to think about his Flashpoint dad’s letter before phasing away. Through the closing portal, time and space are literally ripped open. A small refulgent object shoots like a bullet and imbeds itself into the Batcave wall. Wally then visits a wizened 99-year-old Johnny Thunder at an elderly home and tells him that he must somehow make everyone remember the blocked/erased history of his old team, the Earth’s first group of “mystery men,” WWII superheroes known as the Justice Society of America. In a Metropolis police precinct holding room, Saturn Girl of the Legion of Superheroes is questioned by Captain Maggie Sawyer, who has just transferred from Gotham back to her old Metropolis SCU gig. Saturn Girl wants to speak to Superman and claims to have seen the future. In Ivy Town, graduate student Ryan Choi receives a message from his mentor, the Atom, who is trapped in the Microverse. He instructs Ryan to shrink down using a size-changing belt and rescue him. Elsewhere, Blue Beetle forms a reluctant partnership with Ted Kord, who shows off the flying Bug. Dr. Fate appears and tells Ted that the Blue Beetle scarab isn’t science-based, but magickal. In Wayne Manor, Robin blows out the candles on a cake. With Alfred, a happy Damian celebrates his thirteenth birthday. (Teen Titans Vol. 6 #1 tells us that Batman does not attend Damian’s birthday party because he is on an unspecified Justice League mission.) Elsewhere, teenager Jackson Hyde deals with the pernicious emotions of having a triple consciousness: being gay, Black, and a metahuman with amazing swimming skills. Concurrently, Pandora is stalked and murdered via explosion by Dr. Manhattan. On a secret island, Grail comforts baby Darkseid. At a dingy motel, the living Superman, Modern Age Clark Kent, steps away from his family only to run into the mysterious Mr. Oz, who tells him that nothing is what it seems. On yet another deserted isle, Aquaman proposes to Mera. (They’ve more or less been husband and wife for years already, even sometimes referring to each other as such, but now it will be “surface dweller official.”) At the site of Superman’s murder, a federal investigation is under way. A large gathering of reporters, law enforcement officials, and superheroes mill about the crime scene. Green Arrow and Black Canary are present and, while both barely know each other, a strange connection is felt between them. Smalltime reporter Linda Park is turned away, but runs into Wally, who manifests from out of the Speed Force yet again. Hoping that Linda, who was his wife and the mother of his kids in the Modern Age, will be the tether that allows him to come back permanently, Wally reaches out to her. But this Linda doesn’t know him. In a painful instant, Wally disappears again. As night falls over Gotham, a new metahuman superhero named Gotham tells his sidekick Gotham Girl that they aren’t quite ready to debut. In a Louisiana swamp, John Constantine chats with Swamp Thing. Wally appears briefly before Captain Boomerang, Cyborg, and Dick Grayson, who is in the middle of putting on his Nightwing gear. Wally then manifests in Central City and watches his cousin, the new and third Kid Flash (also named Wally West) in action. Wally watches the Flash (Barry Allen) in action all over town as well before attempting to make a plea to him. Unlike all the others, Barry remembers. He touches Wally and says his name. In tears, they embrace. Wally is back! In the Batcave, Batman spots the small shiny object embedded in the rock wall. He chisels it out and holds it up to the light, revealing a smiley face button with a drop of blood on it. Dr. Manhattan watches all from Mars.
–The Flash: Rebirth #1, Part 2
The Flash, having just met with the returning Wally West, meets with Batman in the Batcave. Flash tells Batman about the missing decade of time and alterations to the previous incarnation of the current timeline. They discuss theories and analyze the smiley face button and Flashpoint Thomas Wayne’s letter. Ultimately, no conclusions are reached.
–REFERENCE: In DC Universe: Rebirth #1. Again, this is a little conjecture on my part, but it’s not far-fetched. Surely, after the other two Jokers make their presence known to the world, Batman ramps up his investigation into the matter, and maybe even visits these Jokers face-to-face to see what’s what. In any case, since nothing is mentioned about said investigation, we must assume that the investigation does indeed occur, but again leads to nothing but dead ends.
–Harley Quinn Vol. 2 #25
Note that Batman appears in this issue wearing the wrong costume, but, if canon, this must go after DC Universe: Rebirth #1 and The Flash: Rebirth #1. Harley Quinn’s boyfriend, Mason Macabre, was recently jailed for the accidental bar fight murder of the son of New York City’s Mayor DePerto. After the corrupt mayor transfers Mason to the new Arkham Asylum in Gotham, Harley plans a rescue. In Gotham, Harley meets with her former flirty flame, Poison Ivy, before infiltrating Arkham while poorly dressed as a visiting doctor. Harley gas bombs Arkham with Poison Ivy’s “Hulk pills” and fights her way through guards to free Mason. But before leaving, Harley has a badass feminist moment where she opens Joker’s cell, faces him, and clears the air. In a truly empowering scene, Harley declares that she won’t have anything to do with him moving forward. She stomps Joker’s ass and storms off. (Unfortunately, this isn’t the Joker. As revealed in Harley Quinn Vol. 3 #13 (and mentioned above), this is one of the other two Jokers, a fella named Edwin who was obsessed with Joker and began a correspondence with him a couple years go, eventually getting manipulated into plastic surgery and completely mimicking the real Clown Prince of Crime in every way—up to and including committing horrible crimes and becoming infatuated with Harley.) Poison Ivy, having stolen the Batboat from Batman, picks up Harley and the fugitive Mason. They pull up to the quays on the other side of the harbor to find Batman waiting alongside the rest of their crew, which includes Big Tony, Egg Fu, Madame Macabre (Mason’s mom), and Queenie. Big Tony, having been worried about Harley’s rescue plan, contacted Batman for help and told him all the details. Batman tells Harley that he is going to get Mason into the Witness Protection Program. After a parting kiss, Mason, his mom (Madame Macabre), and Batman depart in the Batboat. While they meet with government officials to set up the Witness Protection Program assignment, Harley and her crew take an Amtrak back to Brooklyn.
–Justice League Vol. 2 #52
Mere days have passed since Superman’s death. Despite the fact that the federal government has acknowledged Superman’s demise, most major news outlets won’t commit to reporting that Superman is officially dead, obstinately holding out hope by instead saying that he is “missing” because there is no body. Jimmy Olsen even holds the conviction that Superman is really still alive. In any case, a colossal public tomb has been erected in Metropolis and the President orders all flags to be flown at half mast. Lex Luthor, in his Apokoliptian super-suit, visits a brand new Clark Kent/Superman cape memorial in the lobby of the Daily Planet building. After a heartfelt monologue by Perry White, the Justice League shows up to briefly confront Lex. After using a Mother Box to locate crimes in progress and fighting some baddies, Lex visits his still comatose sister Lena in the hospital. Lex then buys the Daily Planet just so he can gain access to Superman’s old cape. Lex wears the cape and declares himself Metropolis’ number one hero.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #17. Batman and Jeremiah Arkham plan for the construction of a new Arkham Asylum wing that will be solely for the Joker. Batman calls in Mister Miracle, who designs the new wing of the prison. The new wing is then built, likely with much metahuman assistance. Only Batman is given the only key to the new wing.
–Nightwing: Rebirth #1
Having recently officially left the employ of Spyral and helped Tiger close out one final off-the-record mission versus HIVE, Dick returns his focus to Gotham. He contacts Batman and tells him a secret he’s been withholding for a while: Damian has a bomb inside of his head, put there by the Parliament of Owls. When Batman and the Justice League, specifically Cyborg, can offer no suggestions as to how to safely remove the bomb, Dick turns to Midnighter. In exchange for a God Garden device that can remove the bomb, Dick tips-off Midnighter to a secret illegal biotech lab in the Alps. After helping Midnighter defeat a monster unicorn called a “Killicorn,” Dick gets the bomb removal device. A day later, still wearing his Spyral digs, Dick returns to Gotham where he takes down the super-villain team called The Madmen. Afterward, Dick takes Damian to the arcade for some hang time and a heart-to-heart before they both go to Wayne Manor. In the Batcave, Dick removes the bomb inside of Damian, who is angry and upset that no one told him he had an explosive device within his body. Batman arrives and reminds his boys that Lincoln March is still out there and likely in control of the Parliament of Owls. Concurrently, in Greece, Lincoln March addresses the Parliament in a secret maze HQ. March’s leadership is ousted as a deadly agent of the group, Raptor, takes him out in front of an approving cadre of Owl members, who shatter their old white Court masks and replace them with new black Parliament masks. Back in the Batcave, Batman sends Damian away so he can have a private conversation with Dick. Dick tells Batman that he will, at any cost, bring down the Parliament of Owls from within. Dick then surprises Batman, revealing that he has returned to the Nightwing gimmick.
–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #946. Batman and Red Robin meet inside the historic but long-unused and dilapidated Old Wayne Tower, also known as the Corolla Building. This is the building designed by Alan Wayne in the classic Pinkney style and built in 1888—the building once containing a hideout by the Court of Owls. Batman tells Red Robin that he is assembling a “training program,” essentially forming a new Bat-squad team. Red Robin gives an uplifting speech about how this new team could bring new hope to Gotham, making it the safest city in the world. He talks about the very definition of what it means to be a superhero, perorating about how superheroes must earn the public trust through collaboration and rehabilitation, rather than the usual fear-instilling and coercion. (This is one of the best monologues I’ve heard in a long time in any comic book—it cuts to the core of what superhero is supposed to be. And Batman could take a few pointers, let me tell ya.) Batman and Red Robin then make plans to turn a large portion of Old Wayne Tower into a brand new base of operations called The Belfry. Batman and Red Robin (likely with the some metahuman assistance) begin construction, which will go on (albeit invisibly on our timeline) for months. As referenced in Detective Comics #947, Spoiler will help Red Robin build a new computer system for the Belfry and new weaponry for the Bat Family.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #947. Batman asks Red Robin to lay out detailed plans based upon the discussion they have just had. The Dark Knight is interested in Red Robin’s perspective on rehabilitative social justice and wants to see what it would look like fully mapped out so that it could possibly be adapted to and combined with their new Belfry operations. Red Robin drafts an outline and delivers it to Batman.
–Teen Titans Vol. 6 #5
As referenced in Detective Comics #950, Part 3, Red Robin, fully occupied-with and focused-on building the Belfry, has let his Teen Titan duties slip, effectively putting the team on suspended hiatus. In the immediate aftermath of the Teen Titans’ hiatus, Robin has just formed a brand new Teen Titans, which includes Starfire, Beast Boy, Kid Flash, and Raven. The new Teen Titans rescue Robin from a cell on the League of Assassins’ Infinity Island. Robin has just been bested and imprisoned by his evil cousin Mara Al Ghul (Dusan Al Ghul’s daughter). The Teen Titans soon find themselves face to face with Ra’s Al Ghul’s teenage super-villain squad known as The Demon’s Fist (Blank, Plague, Stone, and Nightstorm). Robin reveals to the villains that they are all being manipulated by Ra’s Al Ghul and that they were all kidnapped into the League of Assassins when they were toddlers. Realizing the truth, the Demon’s Fist teams-up with the Teen Titans to fight Ra’s Al Ghul and a bunch of his ninjas. Sensing defeat, Ra’s Al Ghul grabs Mara, who is contemplating whether or not to betray her grandfather too, and disappears with her in a cloud of smoke. On the shoreline of the island, the Teen Titans are surprised by the appearance of Batman, who has been dragged there by a worried Goliath. Batman has a one-on-one conversation with Damian and plants the idea in his son that he should try staying-on with a team like the Teen Titans. Of course, Damian cuts off his dad and declares that he will stay with the Teen Titans as if it is his own idea. As referenced in Detective Comics #950, Part 3, Batman is very aware that the Teen Titans have gone on hiatus due to Red Robin’s work on the Belfry. The Dark Knight wants Damian to spend time with heroes that are closer to his own age, but he also wants Red Robin off the Teen Titans to fully focus on the Bat-squad. Manipulating Damian into staying-on with the new Teen Titans ensures both of these ends will be met. Robin then asks his dad to fund the construction of a new T-shaped Teen Titans HQ in San Francisco Bay. Bruce funds the construction of this HQ, which begins immediately. Damian moves out of Wayne Manor to live in San Francisco, although the Teen Titan HQ won’t be fully operational for another three months. Moving forward, Damian will still make random trips to Gotham to stay with his dad and to get tutoring lessons from Alfred, but we won’t see as much of him as we usually do thanks to his new West Coast life.
–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 4 #5. Batman learns that the new Superman has been stalking him for months. Untrusting of the new Superman, Batman turns the tables and begins shadowing him. But Superman realizes he’s being stalked so he quickly turns the tables back, following Batman as the Dark Knight collects his Hellbat-suit from the JL Watchtower and rockets to the moon, revealing his gigantic still-under-construction Batcave-moon-base. The surprised Man of Steel watches in secret as Batman transfers the Hellbat-suit to the moon-base. After Batman departs, Superman enters the moon-base and deftly avoids a Bat-drone security swarm. Superman examines the base to find dangerous experiments and wild equipment.
–Batman: Rebirth #1
Late March. Duke Thomas, months after having been offered an official Bat Family superhero job, finally shows up at Wayne Manor where he is greeted by Alfred. Meanwhile, Batman fights Calendar Man, who enacts a scheme by which he will rapidly speed up the seasons. After bringing about a second vernal equinox, Calendar Man unleashes deadly spores over Gotham. The Dark Knight electrifies the spores, destroying them. Duke begins an intensive training program with Bruce. A day later, Calendar Man’s season-altering device brings 137 degree temperatures to Gotham. Bruce does death-defying one-armed pull-ups from a helipad atop Wayne Tower while discussing financial matters with Lucius Fox, who tells him that he has finally uncoupled and recovered Bruce’s entire fortune from the government. Lucius also has Bruce sign paperwork that returns full control of Wayne Enterprises to Bruce. Later, Batman tailors a new yellow costume for Duke. In the Batcave, Batman and Duke discuss the resurgence of Calendar Man. When Batman tells Duke that he won’t be a Robin, Duke questions what his training is for. Batman unveils the new costume. Duke becomes Lark! The next day, as winter falls over Gotham, Batman and Lark locate Calendar Man’s weather machine. Lark, still months away from being able to go on an official mission, pilots the Bat-copter while Batman swings down and destroys the machine. A day later, with the correct spring season returned, Calendar Man molts and hatches into a new body. At Wayne Manor, Bruce and Duke train.
–New Super-Man #3
China’s Super-Man (Kenan Kong) is interviewed by reporter Laney Lan on a live global web-feed, during which he boldly reveals his secret identity to the world. He also introduces his team, the Justice League of China, which features himself, Wonder-Woman (Peng Deilan), and Bat-Man (Wang Baixi). In Metropolis, Lex Luthor and Perry White watch with shock and keen interest. Aboard the Watchtower, Batman watches, uttering a irreverent “hrm” in response. In Beijing, the Great Ten reacts with anger upon learning that they are no longer the only superhero team in China. Great Ten leader August General in Iron immediately vid-calls Dr. Omen, handler of the JLC. He threatens her, saying that his team will not condone the existence of the JLC. Kenan’s father Zhongdan Kong also watches the broadcast with great surprise. The JLC trio visits Dr. Omen in her lab inside the underwater Crab Shell, the only metahuman prison in all of China. (Note that Wonder-Woman tells Super-Man that the Crab Shell was built five years ago, specifically a year after superheroes first “appeared in America.” This is wrong. A year after the first public superhero debut in America would not be five years ago—it would be seven years ago.) Dr. Omen chews-out Super-Man for doing the public interview, blasting him with a ray gun as punishment. The next night, the JLC trio goes on an unsanctioned mission to protect one of the Ministry of Self-Reliance’s top private investors, a marine biologist named Zheng Shiqiang, who has been targeted for kidnapping. When the trio arrives at his house, the biologist mistakes them for the kidnappers and unleashes Xiangliu, an ancient Chinese hydra monster. The JLC defeats the hydra, but the distraction masks the arrival of the real kidnappers—an anti-hero group known as the Freedom Fighters of China (Flying Dragon General, Blue Condor, and Ghost Woman).
–REFERENCE: In All-Star Batman #1. Batman fights the debuting Black Spider.
–REFERENCE: In the second feature to All-Star Batman #9. Bruce installs hidden panic buttons inside Wayne Manor. Should any emergency happen, Alfred, Duke, or any member of the Bat-Family can alert and radio-connect with Batman instantly.
–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #5 and Batman Vol. 3 #8. Batman and Lark build a new test Bat-cycle and store it in a secret downtown garage known as “Tech Site Otranto-7.” Batman and Lark also build a brand new Nightwing-cycle and store it in this garage with plans of giving it to Nightwing in the future. These cycles have voice-activated command modes and run on a new fuel called “smart oil.” Batman also sets up at least six other secret R&D “Tech Site” garages across Gotham, filling them each with high-end tech and new vehicles.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #937 and Superman Vol. 4 #10. Batman begins carrying an explosive device in a false tooth (just in case) and also begins carrying a tiny shard of Kryptonite in his utility belt with him at all times (also just in case). He also invents a Kryptonite Batarang. Gotta cover all your bases, y’know? Plus, there’s a new Superman in town and Batman sure doesn’t trust him.
–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #8. Bruce, when in his civilian mode, decides he must be ready for action at all times, just in case. Thus, he begins wearing a watch that conceals a laser cutting tool. He also hides a contractable Batarang in his sock. You can never be too paranoid.
–second feature to All-Star Batman #1-3 (“THE CURSED WHEEL”)
Bruce moves Duke’s permanently Jokerized parents into Wayne Manor, where they are confined to safe padded cells and cared for by round-the-clock nurses. This will allow Duke to see his parents as often has he likes. In the Batcave, Batman and Alfred show Lark the “Cursed Wheel,” a color-theory diagram that depicts an ultra-condensed version of all of Batman’s experiences applied to tenets about human psychology taught to the Dark Knight by Alfred. Batman tells Lark that he “doesn’t need a Robin,” and after a year’s time by Batman’s side, having been constantly psychologically tested by living the “Cursed Wheel” (as all of Batman’s Family has unknowingly done before, only because the Wheel had yet to be invented), only then will Lark truly be a worthy hero. Or a villain. Batman makes a vague reference, making it seem like someone he once trained—not Jason—became a villain. Two days later, Batman takes Lark on his first official mission. They examine the scene of a Victor Zsasz-perpetrated multiple homicide at a high-end fabric warehouse. Batman and Lark visit the apartment of the lone survivor of the murders—Diana Boone—to look for clues. There, Batman tells Lark that he thinks his parents should be moved from Wayne Manor to a hospital because they are a distraction that could hinder his “wheel” training. They argue and Batman departs. Zsasz comes out of the shadows, slashes Lark in the chest, and runs off. Batman saves Lark and takes him home to recover. While an unconscious Duke rests, Batman investigates and discovers that Zsasz accidentally killed Diana’s friend Rita Noles when his true target was meant to have been Diana. The reason for the mistake was because Diana had switched blouses with Rita. When Duke wakes up, he gives Bruce permission to move his parents into hospice care. Lark spies on Diana at the hospital and realizes that the mistake was deliberately caused by Diana. She purposely switched blouses knowing that whoever was wearing the garment would be targeted by Zsasz.
–second feature to All-Star Batman #4 (“THE CURSED WHEEL” Continued…)
Lark swings into the hospital to confront Diana. He immediately realizes the full truth when Diana tries to flee—that Diana escaped from Zsasz years ago and went into hiding, even getting plastic surgery to avoid him from ever finding her to finish what he started. Lark accuses Diana of contacting Zsasz and taunting him about her having escaped his clutches all those years ago, knowing that he’d come after her. Lark’s accusation continues: Diana switched blouses with her rival Rita, knowing full-well that Zsasz would kill her and her other fabric industry rivals. Just then, Zsasz swings in through a window and cuts up Diana. Lark fights him, but Zsasz gets the upper hand until Batman arrives and kayos him. With the threat of Zsasz over with, Bruce does some digging and learns that Two-Face is back in town. Diana had used Two-Face to make contact with Zsasz. Duke tells Bruce that he has changed his mind and he wants his parents to stay in Wayne Manor. Bruce agrees.
–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #5. Under Batman’s aegis, Duke begins a special project called the “Bat Beacon.” Duke begins installing hidden holographic projectors in street lamps all over the city. With the assistance of the GCPD, Batman and Lark then organize a special evacuation location, located in caves in Alexander Olsen State Park on the outskirts of Gotham, where Gothamites can go to be safe in case of a citywide emergency. Batman records a message to the people of Gotham, giving inspiration and directions, to be played in the case of such an emergency. Duke will continue installing projectors all over the city for the next couple months as a part of the “Bat Beacon” project.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #945. Batman and Red Robin conduct a new study on Clayface (likely based upon MRI imagery taken from Arkham Asylum or tests done on recent DNA samples of his mud body—or a combination of both). The study determines that, when he is in his most monstrous-looking clay form, Clayface’s brain becomes elastic, meaning that he cannot control his actions and that he is not fully responsible for the horrible things he’s done over the years.
–NOTE: In Superwoman #1. Batman is not involved, but this is important enough to warrant its own notation. Ever since shortly after Superman’s death, Lois Lane has taken up the mantle of Superwoman. Now, while fighting alongside fellow newly-minted Superwoman Lana Lang, Lois is killed by one of Lena Luthor’s Bizarro Superwomen (cloned from Earth-3’s Superwoman). Rest in peace, Lois. Now Lana is the sole Superwoman. And Modern Age Lois is the sole Lois on our timeline.
–REFERENCE: In Red Hood & The Outlaws Vol. 2 #1. Batman has a very public fight with Black Mask that makes front page headlines in Gotham.
–REFERENCE: In Superman Vol. 4 #1. The new Superman (Modern Age Superman), along with his wife Modern Age Lois Lane, and their son Jonathan (and dog Ranger and cat Goldie) move to a small farm in Hamilton County, New York, roughly 300 miles north of Metropolis. They change their illusory family surname from “White” to “Smith.” These subterfuge moves are all done with the approval and assistance of Batman and Wonder Woman.
–Superman Vol. 4 #1
The new Superman (Modern Age Superman, but whom I will refer to simply as Superman from this point forward) has recently publicly debuted. He visits the secret Smallville grave of the martyred New 52 Man of Steel before flying around the globe saving lives. Back at Smith Farm, Jonathan tries to rescue his kitty Goldie from a hawk, but uses too much heat-vision and fries both animals. Young neighbor Kathy Branden sees the whole thing and later visits the Smiths to introduce herself. Later that night, an angsty Jonathan looks out his window to see his dad, in costume, meeting with Batman and Wonder Woman. Superman reenters the house and tells Jonathan to come with him. (As referenced in Superman Vol. 4 #2, Wonder Woman and Batman came to check up on Clark. During their conversation, a distress alert came in from a US Coast Guard icebreaker ship. Superman asked Wonder Woman and Batman if he could take his son on his first official mission to deal with the problem without the Justice League’s assistance. Wonder Woman and Batman agreed.)
–Superman Vol. 4 #6
The Eradicator, having just consumed Krypto, does battle against Superman, Lois (wearing the Hellbat-suit), and Jon inside Batman’s moon-cave. With the help of some Kryptonian ghosts, Superman beats the stuffing out of the Eradicator while astronomers on nearby satellites film the fight for live TV across the globe. While wailing on the Eradicator, Superman is able to call out to Krypto, who bursts out of the villain’s chest. Superman and Krypto kick the Eradicator’s ass, causing him to smash into the moon and blow up in a gigantic nuclear explosion. Superman takes a moon rock and gives it to his biggest fan, Bibbo Bibbowski. A day later, Superman is given the key to the city of Metropolis in a public, televised ceremony. That night, aboard the Watchtower, a grumpy Batman sits beside Wonder Woman and logs all of the substantial damage done to his lunar HQ. Superman brings Jon aboard and introduces him as the new Superboy!
–Action Comics #963
A mysterious new Clark Kent has publicly appeared on the scene in Metropolis. He has all the memories of the real Clark Kent but sans ever having been Superman. He also has no super powers to speak of. (SPOILER ALERT: The fake Clark is actually Mr. Mxyzptlk!) Batman meets with Modern Age Superman in Metropolis to discuss the strange new Clark Kent. They decide to watch him closely. Claiming (and truly believing) that New 52 Superman had him go into hiding for his own safety prior to the Man of Steel’s death, the new Clark speaks before a packed house at a Lex Luthor-hosted Q&A at LexCorp. Clark gets heckled by attendees, who don’t buy that he isn’t Superman, especially since the world now knows the truth about Superman’s secret ID. The crowd thinks it’s all a ruse and that Clark is dissembling. A disguised Batman, hidden amongst the members of the mob, watching with keen interest. Someone pulls a gun and tries to shoot Clark, but Maggie Sawyer saves the day. Later, Superman and Perry White have the new Clark undergo a polygraph, administered by a once-again disguised Batman. Clark passes with flying colors. Later, Clark and Jimmy Olsen visit Geneticron, a company run by the unsavory Mr. Bandu, hoping to expose corruption within. After being ushered off site, Clark doubles back only to get thrown off the roof by murderous security guards. Superman, still spying on Clark, saves him.
–NOTE: In Justice League: Rebirth #1 (and other Justice League titles). Lex Luthor, Captain Cold, and Shazam are officially removed from the Justice League line-up. (They haven’t appeared with the team in quite some time and won’t appear with the team moving ahead.)
–Justice League: Rebirth #1
A giant mollusk-cockroach alien known as a Reaper invades Metropolis, taking control of hundreds of thousands of humans in parasitic Starro fashion. The Justice League, overwhelmed with the situation, calls in Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz to join them on what will be the duo’s first official team mission. The JL enters the giant techno-organic creature, literally going into its massive brain. Aquaman is able to semi-communicate with it, but the heroes struggle until Superman arrives, having been convinced by his wife Lois to accept the JL’s offer to join the team. The combined might of the JL does serious damage to the Reaper, who claims that worse monsters will soon come to Earth. The wounded Reaper then leaves the planet.
–Justice League Vol. 3 #1-3 (“THE EXTINCTION MACHINES”)
Wonder Woman, wielding a literal lightning bolt, fights Russian soldiers in Eastern Europe until a mysterious earthquake kills all her foes. Strange earthquakes occur all over the globe, killing millions. With cities crumbling everywhere, the JL splits up all over the Earth to maximize its rescue effort. But the mystery expands as crowds of people become possessed by an unknown force, which causes the power to be sucked out of the Green Lanterns’ rings in Hong Kong. Likewise, in San Diego, Flash’s speed-powers disappear. In Atlantis, Aquaman’s own people become possessed and turn on him. In Eastern Europe, the corpses of soldiers reanimate, proclaim that “The Kindred” are coming, and then attack Wonder Woman. In Gotham, Batman stands-off against a large cocoon-like alien spaceship, which unleashes hundreds of voracious mini-swarm creatures that look like Xenomorphs and Brood mingled together. The Dark Knight calls for Flash’s help. Flash runs to Gotham and grabs some of the bio-weapon faunae. Batman says he will hand them over to ARGUS and the CDC for study. Later, the JL convenes aboard the Watchtower where Cyborg explains that there are strange alien orbs embedded in the Earth’s upper core that have caused all the earthquakes. The team decides that there’s only one person that can handle the situation: Superman. Thousands of alien cocoons, all containing thousands of bio-weapon creatures, then crash onto Earth from space. In Atlantis, Aquaman is saved by mysterious sentient “Zodiac Crystals” that are in a collapsed underwater museum. After reconvening with one of his royal guards, Aquaman is shocked to see hundreds of Atlaneans smushed into a giant living man. All over the planet, large groups of subsumed humans clump together like putty to form giant Godzilla-tall Kindred beings. Wonder Woman is sucked inside one of the Kindred. Meanwhile, the rest of the JL is preoccupied with fending off all the swarm creatures. Batman, still not trusting the new Man of Steel, asks him to go into the Earth’s core. Knowing the possible fatal peril of the situation, Superman asks to visit his family. Batman accompanies him to the farm. While Superman tells his family what is going on, Batman fills-in Cyborg and summons him. Concurrently, the Green Lanterns trace the source of the swarm creatures through a wormhole to the other end of the universe—to a ravaged planet with more holes in it than a piece of swiss cheese. Back on the farm, Cyborg is attacked by swarm creatures right after booming Superman under the Earth’s crust. Batman protects Lois and Jonathan. Off the Atlantic coast of Canada, four towering Kindred beings join together with electric magick flowing between them.
–Justice League Vol. 3 #4-5 (“THE EXTINCTION MACHINES” Continued…)
At the far end of the universe, the Green Lanterns fight giant space creatures that look like coral, amid the backdrop of a ravaged half-destroyed planetoid. On Superman’s family farm, Cyborg fights off the tornado of tiny insect aliens and, in dong so, learns the Kindred’s evil plan—an Awakening that will animate an evil cosmic power. Meanwhile, as earthquakes rumble across Earth, the four towering Kindred giants speak worryingly of the swarm aliens’ “Purge” that could “break the world,” thus precluding their Awakening. In a ruined Atlantis, the Zodiac Crystals “speak” to Aquaman, revealing that they have the power to defeat the Kindred. Back on the farm, Cyborg, connected to the hive mind, tells Batman that the aliens are attempting to “purge” all humanity, meaning change their DNA to assimilate the whole human race. But because of the intervention of the JL, the Kindred have initiated their failsafe plan. If they can’t have humanity, then to hell with ’em—hence the activation of their inner-core orbs, which have been causing the earthquakes. Deep under the Earth’s crust, Superman struggles to stop the orbs from vibrating, but he is able to destroy several of them. Inside the giant Kindred men, Wonder Woman argues with the disembodied voice of the Kindred. The Kindred explains that metahumans only have powers because of them, and they are taking the powers back. Outside, Flash instantly loses his connection to the Speed Force. On the farm, Cyborg goes unconscious. Meanwhile, in deep space, the Green Lanterns land on the beat-up planetoid to find a startling sight, hundreds of humanoid aliens that look just like Cyborg. On Earth, Aquaman listens to the magick crystals and takes them to four different locations on the ocean floor so that they can burrow underground to help save the planet. Meanwhile, Cyborg comes-to and realizes that the aliens (from which his technology originates) are remote-controlling the Purge. Because he is linked to them, he also has a direct hand in how the Purge goes down. Batman and Cyborg join Wonder Woman and Flash at the site of the Kindred ritual. Now with more info, the heroes realize that the Kindred are trying to awaken something that is cosmically bad news while the Purge is the Cyborg aliens’ attempt to stop them—albeit a way of stopping them that involves planetary destruction and total human assimilation. The JL decides that they must find a way to prevent the Awakening without the need for the worldwide Purge. The Green Lanterns create a giant funnel tube that transports several hundred thousand Cyborg aliens directly into the Kindred bodies on Earth. Aquaman joins the other heroes and plants the final crystals, which stabilize the planet. With one final crystal clutched in his fist, Aquaman punches out a Kindred giant. As the Kindred declares that a “Forever Crisis” is inevitable, Superman pushes the last earthquake orb through the surface, smashing it into the cosmic giants. They crumble, with all the people that were making up their bodies falling out safe and sound.
–Superman Vol. 4 #7
Superman flies all over the world assisting his fellow Justice League teammates, including the annoyed Batman, whom he helps take down Killer Croc (or some mutated monster man that isn’t Killer Croc—he’s drawn rather strangely). The next night, the “Smiths” go to the County Fair where they have some fun and fraternize with science teacher Mr. Tony Martinez and the Brandens (Kathy, her grandfather Cobb Branden, and their prize-winning cow Bessie). Clark discreetly busts some would-be robbers and rides the rollercoaster with his family.
–Batman Vol. 3 #1
Batman learns of a Kobra heist of three surface-to-air missiles and meets with Commissioner Gordon to discuss it. As Gordon tells Batman that his officers have recovered two of the missiles, the third lights up the night sky, having been launched by Kobra cultist Oleg Balinoff, exploding the tail end of a passenger airplane. As Batman rushes to the Batmobile, he is radio debriefed by both Alfred and Duke Thomas. (They all use their real names over the radio, the first time they’ve ever done this in the New 52, which means their security must be mega-beefed up.) With Duke’s guidance, Batman rocket-ejects himself onto the plummeting aircraft (destroying a Batmobile in the process). The Dark Knight then attaches rocket-boosters onto the wings of the 747. He then literally rides the top of the craft giving eyeball directions to Alfred, who remotely controls the boosters to course-correct the plane to a more low-impact area into Blackgate Gulf. (Batman riding the plane is also shown via flashback from Batman Vol. 3 #20.) Meanwhile, Balinoff commits suicide. Hugo Strange stands over his corpse and watches from a distance as Batman faces death, with the plane careening toward the water. Gotham and Gotham Girl then make their dramatic debut and stop the plane from crashing.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #2 and via flashback from Batman Vol. 3 #20. Batman begins keeping an eye on Gotham and Gotham Girl as the rookie superhero duo begin routine patrols of the city. Batman happily daydreams about the possibility of Gotham and Gotham Girl playing the roles of the city’s number one protectors and taking down Joker. Of course, as also revealed at the end of Batman Vol. 3 #20, this is only a fleeting thought. Batman will always be the city’s number one protector.
–Justice League Vol. 3 #6-7 (“STATE OF FEAR”)
A week has passed since Justice League Vol. 3 #5. The Justice League fights a giant black blob that causes them to feel intense fear. Eventually, the Green Lanterns are able to destroy it. Everyone then departs, thinking that all is well. Unknown to the bunch, they’ve all been infected with something sinister that is making them all act evil. Batman broods in the Batcave and tries to contact Dick to no avail before telling Alfred to leave him alone. In Seattle, Barry Allen goes on a date with Jessica Cruz, but Jessica freaks out and loses control of her power ring. Barry goes wonky and begins hounding her in a creepy manor, making the situation worse. Eventually, Jessica vomits up the black fear creature, which has infected all the Justice Leaguers. The creature begins to grow to massive size, enveloping all of downtown Seattle. In Upstate New York, Clark tells Lois that he wants to murder Batman. Superman immediately crashes into the Batcave and begins fighting Batman. Batman controls himself and is able to talk down Superman. Meanwhile, Cyborg, also affected by the fear creature, becomes agoraphobic. An fear-affected Wonder Woman and Aquaman turn on Earth, publicly declaring their intention to dispatch with all human militaries all over the globe. In Seattle, with Barry’s help, Jessica uses her ring to destroy the growing black fear monster. The blob is eradicated, but Jessica is shaken to her core. A day later, she tells Barry that she is, effective immediately, quitting the Justice League.
–Justice League Vol. 3 #8-10 (“OUTBREAK”)
A funeral is held for Diane Palmer, the lone casualty of the Kindred episode from a little over a week ago. Batman and Alfred repair the damages from Superman’s recent fear-invoked attack on the Batcave. They also upgrade security to the computers and vehicles as they watch Diane Palmer’s funeral on TV. Alfred and Batman add two failsafes to the new system: the emergency override code “MarthaWayne1940” and an external hard drive with a high compression “closed loop” algorithm program on it. All of a sudden, a mysterious unknown force hacks into both the Batcave systems, Watchtower systems, and Cyborg’s body all at once. The hacker causes all of the Bat-vehicles to fire their weapons, the satellite HQ to plummet towards Earth, and Cyborg to eject himself out of an airlock. The hacker also steals tens of millions of dollars from several world banks. In the Batcave, Batman evades gunfire and missiles from his vehicles, which get destroyed left-and-right. When the robot T Rex strikes, Alfred blows its head off with a bazooka. While Alfred uploads the “closed loop” program, Batman rides the only analog vehicle he has, his original dirt bike from “Year Zero.” When the algorithm uploads, the threat is over, but every single Bat-vehicle in the cave has been blown-up. In the sky over San Francisco, Cyborg, having regained control of his body, Booms the Watchtower back into orbit. Several Justice Leaguers arrive to assist Cyborg in San Francisco. But the hacker regains control of Cyborg and uses him to access and control Simon Baz’s Green Lantern power ring. The JL is able to trick Simon’s ring into “rebooting” itself, ending the deadly threat of an out-of-control GL. With the Batcave completely destroyed, Bruce and Alfred ascend into Wayne Manor. Batman hacks into the hacker code and finds that it has come from James Palmer, Diane’s bereaved husband. Batman joins the team and they visit the Palmer residence in Denver only to find that he is innocent. James’ young genius daughter Lily Palmer reveals that she has invented an AI search engine called Genie, which is apparently responsible for the hack. Lily’s younger brother Bobby Palmer had been messing with the app on an iPad. The app asked Bobby questions about their mom’s death, the Kindred, and super-villains. Thinking that it was all information for a game, Genie began its “revenge” hack. Genie has also legit offered $750 billion of stolen funds from Bruce Wayne and Lex Luthor’s hacked accounts to any super-villain that can bring down the Justice League. Having uploaded this information, along with the JL’s current GPS, to the Internet, super-villains swarm upon the Palmer residence en masse. Double Down, Giganta, Count Vertigo, Girder, Plastique, Heatstroke, Coldsnap, Major Disaster, Scarecrow, Amazo, and The Fearsome Five (Gizmo, Psimon, Mammoth, Jinx, and Shimmer) all attack at once.
–Justice League Vol. 3 #11 (“OUTBREAK” Conclusion)
In Denver, the Justice League and James Palmer fight off the bad guys. Batman uses Genie to hack into Amazo, turning him against his fellow villains. In Seattle, Green Lantern Jessica Cruz is attacked by King Shark, but easily fends him off. Jessica joins her former JL teammates and ends the threat of the villains. Flash asks if she is back on the team. She says no, but she will always help if asked or if needed. Batman has Wayne Industries cover the rebuilding costs for the ruined neighborhood.
–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #1. Batman and Alfred—likely with help from the Justice League—fix up all the Batcave and trophy damage that happened during “Outbreak.”
–REFERENCE: In Titans Vol. 3 #7. Bruce bankrolls the Titans—Nightwing, Donna Troy, Arsenal, Omen, Garth (now called Tempest), and Wally West (now Flash number two). Bruce pays for the team’s new gaudy T-shaped headquarters in the middle of the East River in New York City—which is likely constructed at super-fast speed with metahuman help. He will continue to fund the Titans from this point forward.
–Detective Comics #934
Finally! A return to the original numbering. Feels good. Here we go. Batman, with Red Robin’s assistance (and likely the help of some of his metahuman pals), finishes construction on the new downtown Batcave known as The Belfry. Located in in Old Wayne Tower, the Belfry includes high-tech computer systems, extra costumes, and various weaponry. In addition, as mentioned in Detective Comics #939, the Belfry comes complete with “healing” wall panels that fix themselves when damaged and giant industrial roomba vacuums that do all the cleaning. Batman also designs and tailors a brand new costume for Red Robin, which he delivers to him. Soon after, Batman comes across the current Azrael (Jean-Paul Valley), who has just been brutalized by someone in a false Batman costume. Batman tends to the comatose Azrael and collects both Azrael’s journal and a tiny bat-shaped camera drone that had been spying on him. Batman reads Azrael’s journal and learns of both Azrael’s recent history and a new mystery threat to the city. Batman also discovers that the drone is a part of a swarm that has been spying on Gotham’s vigilantes for quite some time. The Dark Knight enlists Dr. Leslie Thompkins to personally care for the comatose Azrael in the latter’s apartment. There, Batman scours Azrael’s computers for more information. After two more days of investigation and barely touching Alfred’s dinners, Batman learns that his uncle, Jake Kane, is the secret leader of the new threat to the city. As referenced in Detective Comics #939, Batman hacks into secret government files and does research on Jake’s ascent through the ranks of the military. Batman also researches Batwoman’s recent crime-fighting career and tells Alfred about a plan to bring in his cousin (Jake’s daughter, Batwoman) to help out. Batman visits Kate Kane in her apartment and asks her to be his partner and help burnish the skills of the young members of the Bat Family. He unmasks and reveals his secret identity to Kate, but Kate already knows, much to Bruce’s surprise. Batman and Batwoman watch as Red Robin and Spoiler bust up Penguin’s men, after which Spoiler gets invited onto Batwoman’s squad. (Red Robin already has known about the new team for months, but gets an official invite here as well.) Next, Batman introduces Batwoman to Orphan as the latter takes down human traffickers. After that, Batman takes Batwoman to visit an escaped Clayface. Knowing that Batwoman has worked with Clayface in the past and that he is actually quite a sympathetic character (thanks to recent brain chart revelations), Batman invites him onto the squad as well. Batman and Red Robin show Clayface his brain charts to help boost his confidence (as referenced in Detective Comics #945). Red Robin also invents a device that allows Clayface to retain his original human form for longer periods of time. Batman and Red Robin secretly also design a device that can take Clayface down as well (as referenced in Detective Comics #947). They can’t be too trusting now can they? After a pep talk atop the GCPD HQ, the new team swings into a practice patrol. Elsewhere, a huge army of bat-themed soldiers–known as the Colony—prepares to strike.
–Nightwing Vol. 4 #1
Dr. Leviticus, a wizened centenarian that has been in charge of the Parliament of Owls’ secret bookkeeping since the early 1900s, has betrayed the organization. The Parliament sends top agent Raptor to execute her, but instead—as we learn in Nightwing Vol. 4 #4—he kidnaps her and holds her captive at his hideout in Istanbul. Concurrently, Nightwing goes to Italy on behalf of the Parliament of Owls and saves one of its members from a Kobra assassination attempt. The very same night, in Greece, Nightwing meets with one of the Parliament leaders, The Orator, who tells him that from now on, he’ll be shadowing Raptor. A night later, Nightwing is in the Batcave to watch Batman and Robin spar. Batman then tells Nightwing that he is more than happy to offer monetary support and weaponry, but Nightwing’s undercover mission against the Parliament won’t be like Batman Inc or his time at Spyral. Nightwing has long graduated to being an A-list solo hero. After meeting up with Batgirl and helping her take down Spinebender, Nightwing heads to Moscow on a Parliament mission. After Nightwing roughs-up some Russians, Raptor introduces himself to his new partner by delivering him a severe beating.
–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #4. Batman, Robin, and Alfred—seemingly for fun—have a controlled detonation of the bomb that was recently removed from the Boy Wonder’s head a little bit ago.
–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #4. Batgirl, having just had an adventure with Nightwing and Raptor (in the pages of Nightwing Vol. 4 #2-3), calls Batman and gives him a report on both Nightwing and Raptor’s actions.
–Nightwing Vol. 4 #4
Nightwing and Raptor visit one of Raptor’s hideouts in Istanbul, where the latter has stashed the captive Dr. Leviticus. The old doc tells Nightwing and Raptor that she has made for them special coin keys that can be used to access the Owls’ “Book of Wisdom,” a ledger of all their dealings that have occurred in the past century, which is at the center of the Owls’ fortress labyrinth known as Parliament Grove. Nightwing and Raptor then meet with Parliament officials at Parliament Grove, which holds dozens of kidnapped people that are to be blood-sacrificed to a monster. In the dead of night, Nightwing and Raptor free the hostages and attempt to lead them to freedom through the maze only to run into one of the Orator, who has mutated into a giant owl beast and now calls himself Moloch. The boys take down Moloch and grab the “Book of Wisdom.” Nightwing tends to an injured Raptor, who reveals that he knew Dick’s mom back in the day. Before a surprised Nightwing can respond, Raptor pushes him out of a trap door. Nightwing reconvenes with the freed hostages, who have been picked up by Tiger and agents of Spyral. A day later, Dick reports hangs with Damian and reports back to Batman in the Batcave. Information from the “Book of Wisdom” has been disseminated to Spyral agents and police all over the globe, meaning that the Parliament of Owls is essentially kaput. Batman questions Dick’s relationship to the loathsome Raptor, scolding him for not learning more about the man while they were teamed. Pissed, Dick bails on Batman, upset that, after all they’ve been through together, he still hasn’t earned his old mentor’s 100% trust. Elsewhere, Raptor meets with his real employers: Kobra! With these series of complex maneuvers, Kobra’s leader Lady Eve has ousted her biggest rivals and propelled her group from second-tier joke squad to one of the top crime organizations on the planet.
–Red Hood & The Outlaws: Rebirth #1
Batman personally asks Red Hood to investigate a connection between Gotham City Hall and an international cartel. But when Red Hood attacks Mayor Hady in front of a group of onlookers, Batman intervenes. Red Hood fights off the Dark Knight and seemingly assassinates Mayor Hady. In actuality, Red Hood has shot Hady with an antidote to a fatal techno-virus in his system, saving the corrupt politician’s life. But the public, seeing things differently, brands him as an attempted murderer. In fact, the public brands Red Hood in such a negative light that Black Mask reaches out via one of his henchmen in a vain attempt to recruit Jason. Later, Batman locates Red Hood’s new hideout, in a bomb shelter beneath police HQ, and confronts him there, vituperating him for his brash actions. Batman gives his “my city, my rules” speech, which Jason once angrily scoffed at in the past. This time, however, Jason can only hang his head in stone cold silence. Despite all the good vibes and family mending that Red Hood and Batman have gained and accomplished in recent years, Batman is pissed and fears that Red Hood has once again crossed the line. He tells Red Hood that he only has one more strike. Semi-alienated from his mentor once again, Red Hood focuses on his mission with Batman watching him with a keen eye.
–Detective Comics #950, Part 3
Batman encounters an unspecified enemy that has razor sharp teeth. After consulting with Alfred, Batman fights the unspecified enemy and winds up getting bitten on the arm quite badly. Red Robin picks up Batman and brings him to his Robin’s Nest HQ. Having just finished networking the Belfry computer system with the Batcave computer system, Red Robin has taken notice of Batman’s plan and wants to chat about it. Red Robin comments on Nightwing’s actions from Nightwing Vol. 4 #4 and Red Hood’s actions from Red Hood & The Outlaws: Rebirth #1. Red Robin also tells Batman that he let his Teen Titans duties slip the second he began to focus on working on the Belfry, notably at a time where the Dark Knight encouraged Damian to seek out other heroes his age, something that has led to Damian becoming a part of the new Teen Titans, a team that no longer includes Red Robin. Red Robin also mentions Duke’s special “Cursed Wheel” training and Batwoman’s bootcamp, noting that all of these pieces seem to be gearing up for some big war or big strike that is to come in the future.
–Batman Vol. 3 #2-4 (“I AM GOTHAM”)
Batman assists Gotham and Gotham Girl to bring down an escaped Solomon Grundy. Afterward, the powerful but green Gotham begs Batman to show him the ropes with a little on-the-job training. That night, in the Batcave, Alfred reminds Batman of a charity gala that he and Bruce (i.e. just Alfred) set up, which is currently going on in the mansion above. Bruce puts on civilian attire and ascends to party. Meanwhile, an odd fellow named Robert Castro enters Commissioner Gordon’s office, confesses to releasing Solomon Grundy, says that “Monster Men” are coming, and then commits suicide. Batman leaves his party at the sight of the Batsignal and, despite Duke’s disapproval, visits Gordon alongside Gotham and Gotham Girl. Gordon fills them in on the suicide. Concurrently, in Arkham, Amanda Waller, General Sam Lane, and Hugo Strange test the latter’s ability to control mental patients. After investigating Gotham and Gotham Girl, Batman learns their secret IDs, brother and sister Hank and Claire Clover. As Matches Malone, Batman visits the Clover sibs’ parents and learns the story of Hank and Claire. Ever since the Dark Knight saved him nearly a decade ago, Hank became obsessed with becoming a superhero. Claire followed suit. After leaving, Batman responds to another suicide bombing at a city bridge, this time by a man named Darcy Purnelli. The Caped Crusader helps Gotham and Gotham Girl stabilize the bridge using tech from his Batcycle and the Batplane. Another bombing across town grabs the immediate attention of the Gothams, who fly to the fiery scene to find Psycho-Pirate under the control of Hugo Strange. Psycho-Pirate causes a unit of Task Force X soldiers to scatter, wildly firing their weapons and slaughtering each other. Batman visits the crime scene where 28 dead soldiers lay around a shaken Gotham Girl. He examines the deceased but doesn’t realize they are linked to Amanda Waller. Meanwhile, Gotham tries to talk down a suicidal ledge jumper on the other side of town. The would-be jumper, a man named Joseph Stucci, tells him that the “Monster Men” are coming and detonates a bomb, killing himself and a bunch of cops. Batman delivers Gotham Girl into the Batcave care of Duke and Alfred before confronting a pissed-off Gotham, who destroys the Batmobile. Duke, after remotely analyzing the murder scene, deduces that all of the victims’ dog tags link them to a government group led by Amanda Waller: Task Force X. Batman does his own investigation and, shortly thereafter, infiltrates a hidden underground bunker a mile beneath the city to confront Amanda Waller and Sam Lane face-to-face. Waller tells Batman that Hugo Strange has gone rogue and taken Psycho-Pirate with him. (In actuality, the devious Waller has purposefully allowed Hugo Strange and Psycho-Pirate to do their dirty deeds.) When Batman learns that there is one more soldier still alive, he rushes to Gotham’s parents’ house in the suburbs. But it’s too late, Hugo Strange and company have learned Gotham’s secret ID by spying on him when he took his mask off. The final soldier, having been mind-warped by Psycho-Pirate, has already murdered the Clovers. Batman stands before an emotional Gotham, who snaps the final soldier’s neck, killing him. Angry and in shock at the loss of his parents, Gotham pushes Batman aside and declares that he will destroy the entire city, which he now considers a blight not worth saving. (Gotham grabbing Batman and shoving him aside is also shown via flashback from Batman Vol. 3 #20.)
–Batman Vol. 3 #5-6 (“I AM GOTHAM” Conclusion)
With Batman running behind schedule, Alfred dons the Batman costume (!) and demolishes yet another Batmobile, wrapping its metal frame around Gotham. This is the third Batmobile totaled in this arc alone! Not long after, the real Batman arrives and crashes the Batplane into Gotham as well! Meanwhile, a screwed-up Gotham Girl trashes the Batcave, including tribute displays and the Bat-computer. She tells Duke that she and her brother paid for meta-powers that increase exponentially at the cost of decreased lifespan. Seeing no other option, Batman calls in the entire Justice League (and Jessica Cruz). But Gotham amps up his power and thrashes them all. When only a battered Batman stands in his way, hope seems lost until Gotham Girl interrupts and kills her brother to save the city. Interestingly, this scene includes Gotham Girl narration from an unknown point in the future where she speaks about her marriage to Duke and refers to herself as Batman’s killer. A broken Claire Clover, distraught by all the recent deaths in her family and still messed-up by Psycho-Pirate, shaves her head and begins talking out loud to her dead brother. A day later, Claire suits up as Gotham Girl and, despite being totally out of it, takes down Colonel Blimp as Batman watches from the shadows. The next day, Duke, who has been monitoring Gotham Girl, reports to Batman on her condition. Two days after that, Gotham Girl takes on an equally unhinged Captain Stingaree before Batman interrupts. Gotham Girl flies away, leaving Batman to take down Captain Stingaree. The next day, Gotham Girl easily busts Kite Man and delivers him to GCPD HQ, where Batman is waiting. The Dark Knight unmasks, reveals his secret ID, and tells Gotham Girl what happened to his parents. They hug as Gotham Girl cries. A day later, Batman meets with Amanda Waller, who tells him that Hugo Strange has handed over Psycho-Pirate to Bane in exchange for a large quantity of Venom. Waller agrees to help Batman invade Santa Prisca at an undetermined point in the near future.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #9. Alfred and Batman discuss whether or not to accept Amanda Waller’s offer to help invade Santa Prisca. They decide not to and also to table the discussion until a later date.
RISE OF THE BATMEN
————————–Detective Comics #935
————————–Detective Comics #937
Batman tells Batwoman to continue training her new team, but not to let them go on any missions until they are ready. In the Belfry, Tim uses Danger Room tech from the old Bat-Computer system to complete and activate the Mud Room, a weird training simulator literally made from Clayface’s body. After failing miserably in the Mud Room, the team is chastised by Batwoman. Red Robin then meets privately with Batman, who takes him to Azrael’s apartment. There, Dr. Leslie Thompkins gives Batman rightful grief about recruiting more child soldiers into his war. Jean-Paul, who has been comatose for about two weeks, wakes up and says that “the Colony” is coming. Tim goes to spend the night at Stephanie’s apartment—(they are dating now)—and talks about how he has gotten a “genius grant” for Ivy University, but isn’t sure if he has the balls to leave Batman to pursue the opportunity. Meanwhile, Kate visits her dad Jake at his house. He scolds her for assisting Batman and tells her that she should be teamed up with him like old times. Elsewhere, fifty Colony soldiers—including Dom and Cooper—attack Batman. As referenced in Detective Comics #936, the Colony warriors kick the shit out of the Dark Knight and render him unconscious. The Bat-squad, having just learned that Jake Kane is the leader of the Colony, flees into the sewers. Red Robin reveals his biggest project, something he’s been working on for years, to the rest of the team: an underground bunker that contains train cars that run on abandoned tracks all over the city. Meanwhile, trapped in the Colony’s own giant version of the Batcave, known simply as “The Cave,” Batman spits out his false explosive tooth and escapes. He interrogates the Colony’s resident genius tech-nerd Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong (aka “TH3_G3N3R4L”), who takes a selfie with the Dark Knight and reveals that the Colony has been clandestinely active all over the globe for years. Not only that, but the Colony has also been secretly surveilling Batman’s every move ever since his debut. Jake Kane and his men interrupt the conversation. Jake tells Batman that the Colony has become active in Gotham because the League of Shadows—a powerful illuminati group at the heart of the League of Assassins—is ready to strike. Batman scoffs at the idea of the very existence of the League of Shadows, which he believes to be a myth. Just as Jake is about to execute his nephew, Batwoman and the Bat-squad crash the party, having been led into the Cave by Red Robin, who had hacked their computer system to find their location.
–Detective Comics #938-940 (“RISE OF THE BATMEN” Concluded…)
The Bat-squad splits up and begins kicking major Colony ass. Eventually, Batman and his team stare down Jake Kane, Ulysses Hadrian Armstrong, and bunch of weary Colony soldiers. Batman and Batwoman scold Jake and tell him to piss off before disappearing as only Bat Family members can. Armstrong tells Jake that he’s programmed a bunch of Colony drones to immediately kill twenty people on the League of Shadows terror watch-list in Gotham. Jake fears the greater threat of the League of Shadows to such an extent that he gives Armstrong the green light fully knowing that this drone strike will also cause around 600 innocent collateral deaths in the process. The Bat-squad retakes the Belfry and initiates its automated clean-up sequence. Tim tells Stephanie that he has decided to accept the genius grant and attend Ivy University next semester. Batman has a heart-to-heart with Batwoman, promising never to lie to her. Afterward, Alfred connects the Black Line, allowing Batman to speak directly to a surprised President Obama! Batman reveals Jake’s hidden actions to POTUS, which is ironic because Obama’s own secret military actions aren’t that far off from what Jake has been up to. President Obama charges Jake with domestic terrorism, ordering his arrest and court martial. Politics aside, Red Robin learns that Armstrong’s drones are active, prompting the Bat-squad back into action all over the city. The team rushes to scatter the innocent people nearest to Jake’s targets, successfully bringing many to safety. Cassie’s rescue mission is particularly interesting because a mystery person spies on her with keen interest. (SPOILER: It’s her mom, Shiva.) Red Robin is able to re-route all of the drone programming, causing them all to target him instead of the folks on the terror watch-list. As his teammates go into full-blown panic mode, Red Robin, calmly faces-off against hundreds of drones all by himself. While Batwoman busts her dad, Red Robin gets badly wounded but defeats an entire drone army. The second wave of drones, however, proves to be too much and Tim is incinerated. The Bat-squad mourns. Back at Spoiler’s apartment, Spoiler shows Batman Tim’s school acceptance letter. Spoiler and Batman cry in each other’s arms. But not so fast! Elsewhere, the fabulous and mysterious Mr. Oz rematerializes Red Robin inside his lair. Mr. Oz tells Red Robin that he needs to be alive, but needs to be “off the playing field” in order for things to work out in a certain way on the timeline. Confined to a cell, Red Robin vows to escape, even if his friends and family think he is dead.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #943. Batman arranges for Jake Kane and a couple of his Colony soldiers—notably Dom and Cooper—to be imprisoned in special holding cells inside the Belfry. Uncle Jake and his boys officially go into Bat Family custody.
–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 4 #10. The Bat Family (presumably with Tim’s actual family) holds a funeral for Tim.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #18. In the immediate aftermath of Tim’s funeral, Batman gathers his costumed Bat Family—Batwoman, Lark, Robin, Nightwing, Red Hood, and Batgirl—in the Batcave. The Dark Knight puts on a brave face and tells his fam that they all are his “true strength.” Of course, Batman will take the loss of Tim very hard and, despite this powerful statement, he will begin to distance himself from his loved ones—as we will see in Detective Comics #943. This flashback goes here because Batgirl won’t see Damian again until after Dick moves to Blüdhaven–as we will learn in Nightwing Vol. 4 #10. When she sees Damian, she will reveal that they do not interact in-between Tim’s funeral and Nightwing Vol. 4 #10.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #943. Batman puts Red Robin’s costume on memorial display in the Batcave. Batman, devastated at the loss, distances himself from the rest of the Bat Family. He visits the Belfry, but only to angrily interrogate Jake Kane, who is being held in a prison cell there.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1. Now suspicious of Amanda Waller more than ever thanks to recent events, Batman investigates a bit deeper and learns a bit more about Task Force X, specifically that it allows for the super-villain super-team known as the Suicide Squad. Batman begins compiling detailed files on the Suicide Squad and will continue to do so for months to come.
–Red Hood & The Outlaws Vol. 2 #5
For a couple weeks, Red Hood has been working undercover as one of Black Mask’s men. But now Black Mask, having injected both himself and a freshly-cloned brand new Bizarro with a techno-virus, which allows him to control the reverse-Superman, points a gun at an exposed Red Hood. Red Hood evades getting killed and teams with his new Amazonian acquaintance Artemis to fight against Black Mask and Bizarro. Eventually, the techno-virus inside Black Mask succumbs to the much more physically powerful link to the alien clone. Black Mask gets overwhelmed and begins to slip into a catatonic state. Red Hood gloats and destroys the antidote. Bizarro regains control of his senses and makes sure Red Hood and Artemis are okay. Police and news media arrive. A photographer snaps a picture of the three heroes, which gets published with the caption “Dark Trinity.” Red Hood sticks a paralyzed and drooling invalid Black Mask into the care of Ma Gunn. A few days later, a secret someone, who has beens stalking Jason for years, chuckles as he reads the “Dark Trinity” caption from the paper. Red Hood meets with Batman and tells him that he hates his “law and order crap” and won’t ever follow those rules. Batman laughs hysterically, telling Red Hood that Batman’s very existence is technically against the law. Jason and Bruce are once again, as they should be, at peace with each other. They then hang out and share take-out cheeseburgers. All is right in the world. (Batman does not eat his with a knife and fork. I guess he only does that when he is at home.)
–FLASHFORWARD: From The Flash: Rebirth #1, Part 1. As seen in a Flash vision, Batman fights crime in action with Wonder Woman and Superman.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #11—and also referenced in Batman Vol. 3 #9-10, Batman Vol. 3 #12, and Batman Vol. 3 #15. Selina decides to take the rap for her bestie Holly Robinson, who has spent the last few months murdering all 237 members of the Kahndaqi terror cell known as the Dogs of War. Knowing that Batman will now soon come for her, Catwoman writes a letter to him and mails it to Wayne Manor. The letter lies about why she killed the Dogs of War and details why, despite their closeness and intimacy, they’ll never truly be compatible. Batman chases after and reluctantly busts Catwoman, whom he does not believe is truly responsible for the murders. Catwoman is confined to Blackgate. With Catwoman behind bars, Bruce receives Catwoman’s letter. Selina will be quickly tried by Gotham’s fast-track courts of law and put on Blackgate’s Death Row.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #7. Batman orders a special “combat capsule” winged-jetpack from Steel, who constructs the weapon for the Dark Knight and delivers it to him. Batman also upgrades his cowl technology to include wraparound holographic video glasses that can appear and disappear with the press of a button. This new state-of-the-art tech is linked to the Batcave and GCPD computer systems.
NIGHT OF THE MONSTER MEN
———————-––Batman Vol. 3 #7
———————-––Nightwing Vol. 4 #5
———————-––Detective Comics #941
When a hurricane begins to flood Gotham, Batman orders the assemblage of Batwoman’s Bat-squad and Nightwing to assist in aid relief. The Dark Knight creates a serum that will allow Clayface to hold his form in the pouring rain. As the Bat Family gathers, Nightwing and Batman talk openly about the death of Tim for the first time. Meanwhile, several cadavers in the morgue, having been injected with Venom-Monster Serum by Hugo Strange, become re-animated. The first turns into a horrific towering monster and begins terrorizing the streets. Batman destroys a Batplane by flying it into the creature while ejecting into “combat capsule” winged-jetpack mode. After destroying the capsule as well to take down the monster, the rest of the Bat Family guides evacuees Alexander Olsen State Park on outskirts of the city. Batman, Batwoman, and Nightwing keep the downed monster sedated and send DNA back to Duke and Alfred, who find the monster’s ID as the suicide victim Robert Castro, thus linking Hugo Strange to the happenings. Two more giant Monster Men, resembling Godzilla monsters more than men, come out of the morgue and begin attacking the city. Batman and Batwoman fight them while Nightwing heads to the morgue while radioing Alfred. Alfred tells Nightwing that the bio-scan of the chemicals in the creature has turned up multiple partial hits, including nice fanboy references to Penelope Young (from the Arkham Asylum video game-verse) and Jackson Chappell (from the 1990s Batman Beyond DCAU), but it is something entirely new at its core. At the morgue, Nightwing notes that there are four corpses missing. Alfred IDs the corpses-turned-monsters in addition to Robert Castro: Darcy Purnelli, Joseph Stucci, and Oleg Balinoff—the other suicide victims during the Psycho-Pirate debacle. All these men were former patients of Hugo Strange. When Balinoff—now a giant Evangelion-esque monster as well—attacks Blackgate Island, Nightwing rushes to one of Batman’s nearby “tech sites.” In the Batcave, Claire has heard enough. She suits up as Gotham Girl and flies to Blackgate to fight the creature. Meanwhile, some of the refugees in the caves of Alexander Olsen State Park, covered with red goop from the monsters, begin mindlessly aggressing, with the viral rage spreading from person to person. At Blackgate, Nightwing watches as Gotham Girl smashes dozens of mini-monsters that are being birthed out of a grotesquely-mutated Balinoff, now afflicted with gross tumefaction to such an extent he has become a full-blown creature of horror. A wild Gotham Girl brutally kills the monster, splashing pink slime all over both herself and Nightwing, turning them into monsters too!
NIGHT OF THE MONSTER MEN Continued…
———————-––Batman Vol. 3 #8
———————-––Nightwing Vol. 4 #6
———————-––Detective Comics #942
Batman Batwoman continue fighting the giant monster with Batman eventually electrocuting it with one of the new Bat-cycles. Batwoman branches off to confront the transformed monster Nightwing and Gotham Girl. Nightwing flies off with Batwoman attached to him via grappling hook. Meanwhile, Clayface forms a Batsuit and attaches himself to the Dark Night, allowing him to wallop the mutated Gotham Girl for a short while. Lark arrives with an antidote that he and Alfred have cooked up. At Alexander Olsen Park, Spoiler and Orphan use a bunch of flares to burn away the deadly algae goop that is causing the populace to rage uncontrollably. With everyone back to normal, things seem good until a new giant monster—made out of the cave rocks and trees themselves—grows itself out of the expelled algae goop. Back downtown, Lark injects Gotham Girl, returning her to normal. Shortly thereafter, the Bat-team cures Nightwing as well. Within minutes, the new monster is upon the city, hurling train cars and crawling up buildings. With no other option, Batman activates the Wayne Watchtowers. A few Wayne Enterprises-owned buildings become electrically charged, sending a high voltage shock into the monster. The downed creatures all combine to form a destructive mega-monster that stands tall over Gotham. Spoiler and Nightwing locate Hugo Strange at nearby Anders Towers and deliver the news to Batman, also revealing that Strange is obsessed with him and wants him face-to-face. While Batman confronts an unhinged Bat-costume-wearing Hugo Strange, the Bat Family operates the Wayne Watchtowers, grappling the giant mega-monster in its place, but not before it knocks down a dozen skyscrapers. Nightwing dives into the monster’s mouth, causing it to vomit profusely and shrivel-up into a small clump. Unable to touch Hugo Strange because his costume is rigged to kill him upon impact, Clayface seals off the air in the room until Strange passes out. Days later, the Bat Family and the Justice League (with Jessica Cruz) clean up the horrible disaster area that is downtown Gotham. ARGUS seals off a section of the city around the corpse of the final monster, turning the spot into a weapons research outpost, something that Batman is not happy about at all. Bruce anonymously donates money to have the bodies of the “Monster Men” buried properly. At the cemetery, Bruce and Kate have a friendly chat.
–Nightwing Vol. 4 #7-8 (“RISE OF RAPTOR”)
“Night of the Monster Men” has recently ended. While Damian chats with his dad about the “Godzilla” battle he was absent for in Gotham, Nightwing meets up with Tiger and Spyral to assist on a Parliament of Owls bust in Sydney. But the bust comes a moment too late as a genetically-engineered Kobra assassin kills all the Parliament members first. After taking down the Kobra assassin, Tiger and Nightwing learn from Spyral tech-whiz and recent Saint Hadrian’s graduate Lotti Duff that the Book of Wisdom is digitally transferring info to Kobra via a result of Raptor’s meddling. Nightwing immeidately pays a visit to the double-crossing Raptor, who thrashes him and sends him crashing into a room filled with pictures of Dick ever since he was a boy. Raptor has known Dick his entire life, used to have a relationship with his mother at the circus, and has been tracking his every movement for decades. Raptor then drugs the pissed-off Nightwing, sending him into unconsciousness. Later, in Gotham, Bruce talks to Alfred, citing worry that Dick hasn’t spoken to him since “Night of the Monster Men.” Bruce publicly addresses a Gotham crowd, assuring them that the city is safe, despite the recent attack of the monsters. Raptor beats up all of Bruce’s security and confronts Bruce head-on, whispering to him that he knows his secret ID. Unable to act in front of so many onlookers, Bruce is kidnapped by Raptor on live TV and taken to Paris. Robin radios Nightwing for assistance. Nightwing wakes up and tells Robin that it’s a personal matter and goes after Bruce solo. In Paris, Raptor straps Bruce into a death trap in which he is unable to move. The deadly contraption will automatically execute Bruce should Wayne Enterprises stock go up past a certain point. Raptor reveals that he has been watching Dick ever since Dick was a boy. Nightwing arrives and immediately brings the fight to Raptor, who slugs it back while monologuing about how much he hates the entitled, privileged, and idle rich. Raptor further reveals that he grew up with Dick’s mom in Paris where they were teenage anarchists and small-time thieves together. Raptor says he hates Bruce for spoiling Dick and for taking Dick away from his roots. Dick defeats Raptor and then catches Bruce, who has dislodged himself from the death trap and jumped down from a great height with his hands bound. Tiger, Keshi, and a Spyral sqaud arrive to clean up and take Raptor into custody. Tiger tells Bruce that they will brainwash him using hypnos so that he forgets Batman’s ID. Bruce and Dick then share a tender moment. Bruce tells Dick that he jumped because he knew Dick would catch him.
–FLASHBACK: From the second feature to All-Star Batman #6. Batman and Lark go on an unspecified mission somewhere where it is snowing. Batman is injured and Lark helps him.
–Deathstroke Vol. 4 #4-5 (“THE PROFESSIONAL”)
When we last saw Deathstroke in Gotham, two years ago, he had become young again thanks to some I-Ching magick. That magick has run its course and Deathstroke is once again a classic gray-haired eye-patch-wearing badass. When someone in Gotham puts a hit out on his daughter Ravager, Deathstroke begrudgingly returns to Batman’s city. After prepping for the inevitable battle with the Dark Knight with some help from hacker Hosun and right-hand man William Randolph Wintergreen, Deathstroke and Ravager wait in the shadows of an elevated train station in a quiet Gotham neighborhood. After learning Deathstroke is in town, Batman does extensive research on the assassin and his family. The Caped Crusader also digs into the hit that has been put on Ravager, finding nothing but dead ends. Batman then learns Deathstroke’s location and disguises himself, entering the street and planting several infrared jamming tools to mess with the villain. Robin, disguised as a paperboy, rides a bike through the scene as part of surveillance run, unknowingly passing through some sprinkler water that has been dosed with a knockout drug by Deathstroke. While Batman confronts Deathstroke in the latter’s car, Ravager takes down Robin, who passes out due to the drug. Deathstroke’s rigged car explodes and rockets into pieces, allowing the assassin to escape. An hour later, Batman invites Ravager to ride along with him in the Batmobile. Batman plays mind-games with Ravager, talking about her dysfunctional relationship with her dad and calling them both killers. (A panel’s worth of this driving scene is also repeated verbatim in a small flashback from Deathstroke Vol. 4 #6.) Downtown, Batman stops the car, pausing briefly to thrash some crooks and relieve them of a nuclear warhead. Batman continues his regular patrol with Ravager tagging along, following a tip and heading to a house in the burbs where he thrashes more young gun-toting thugs. Ravager assists him with would-be fatal violence, which nets her a stern scolding from the Dark Knight. Batman and Ravager eventually arrive at Robin’s location, where the Boy Wonder has spent hours mocking Deathstroke and just escaped a death trap. Batman, realizing that Deathstroke himself put the hit out on his own daughter, reveals the truth to Ravager. Ravager takes off and calls her boyfriend Luis Trayce, whom she had secretly paid to orchestrate a (failed) hit on her dad. Like father, like daughter. Elsewhere, Deathstroke, having learned that Luis (in a weird double-twist) was responsible for trying to kill Rose and collect on his (Deathstroke’s) hit, puts a knife to Luis’ throat and kidnaps him. (The way things play out at the end of issue #5 is very abstruse. Please forgive me if I’m getting the narrative layers incorrectly!)
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #13. Batman builds a Bat-Sub, which he stores in a secret location in the Atlantic Ocean.
–FLASHBACK: From Batman Vol. 3 #18. Batman responds to the Batsignal for an unspecified case. As he does so, he talks aloud to his mother, showing us that the neurotic Dark Knight still indeed speaks to his dead mom, even after all these years.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 3 #12. Batman is informed (likely by Commissioner Gordon) that Catwoman has become extremely “problematic and violent” inside Blackgate, so violent, in fact, that she is going to be transferred to Arkham. Batman, unable to face Catwoman, writes a letter, which is delivered to her (probably, again, via Commissioner Gordon). Batman, speaking from the heart in ways he never has before, tells Selina personal details about his parents and his decision to become Batman as a bereaved boy. He also reveals a suicide attempt when he was only ten-years-old. He talks about his pain, saying that his life has been one long drawn-out suicide. He also echoes Selina’s words from months ago, agreeing that the pain goes away every time they kiss. Batman also implies that he doesn’t truly believe she killed those 237 people, and he says that he will find the truth and free her one day.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #5. Batman develops new rapid-expanding wire mesh shielding, specifically to catch falling rubble during an earthquake. From this point forward he will keep this tech in his utility belt.
–Detective Comics #943-945 (“THE VICTIM SYNDICATE”)
First off, the 3/11/2016 date given makes absolutely no sense and must be summarily ignored. Lucius Fox refers to the “monster attack” as happening “last month,” meaning several weeks have passed since “Night of the Monster Men.” Our story begins with Bruce and Lucius finalizing a deal to foot the bill for the entirety of last month’s reconstruction. The Victim Syndicate (The First Victim, The Mute, Mr. Noxious, Madame Crow, and Mudface)—comprised of former collateral damage “victims” of Batman’s war on crime who want revenge against the Caped Crusader—enter Wayne Enterprises and kill three security guards before the terrified eyes of Lucius Fox and secretary Ellie. They then spray paint a red Bat-symbol on the wall. This prompts Renee Montoya to call her old flame Batwoman to the scene of the crime. Meanwhile, Batman confronts his Uncle Jake in the Belfry prison, but Jake tells him to piss off. Batwoman chats with Batman via radio about how Tim’s “death” is affecting Stephanie. Across town, Stephanie visits Harper Row, who is volunteering at Leslie Thompkins’ clinic along with Jean-Paul Valley. In the Mud Room, Clayface and Orphan train. Later, the entire Bat Family puts on their finest fancy clothing to attend a ritzy police charity gala at the museum, outside of which thousands of anti-Batman protesters, angry at the destruction from the monster attack, gather to inveigh against the heroes. Luke Fox, now running his own FoxTech business and playing up a playboy persona akin to Bruce’s façade, arrives in a flying car to a swarm of paparazzi. Bruce reveals to Kate that Luke is Batwing and they are here to recruit him to be the caretaker of the Belfry. Luke introduces himself to Kate, but she isn’t impressed, unable to see past his smarmy celebrity persona. Just then, an explosion erupts through the room and the Victim Syndicate enters. The Bat Family—joined by Renee Montoya, Harper Row, and Batwing—gathers to confront the Victim Syndicate. After a long monologue by the First Victim and each villain showing off their unique powers, including Mr. Noxious poisoning Spoiler, Madame Crow causes all the cops in the room to become extra gun crazy. They all fire their guns randomly, but thanks to a special feature designed into the weaponry by Luke Fox, the guns only fire rubber bullets without proper authorization, saving tons of lives. Orphan and Harper puts an injured Stephanie into the care of Leslie Thompkins. Batman, Batwoman, and Batwing go to the Belfry to regroup. Clayface, too upset to join them, goes off on his own. Luke makes himself immediately at home in the Belfry. Batwoman reports on each Victim Syndicate member, revealing secret IDs and how they all fit into Batman’s history. Only the First Victim and the paralysis villain have no information. Leaving the Belfry in Luke’s control, Batman visits Leslie and asks her to do psych evaluations on his team. She flips out and scolds him for endangering the lives of children, specifically referencing Tim’s death and how it is affecting Stephanie, since they were dating. Meanwhile, the First Victim sneaks through the back window and confronts Stephanie, telling her that the Victim Syndicate just wants to make sure she is okay. After Harper and Batman question Stephanie about the First Victim’s visit, Batman meets with Batwoman and tells her that Leslie’s psych evals should commence immediately. Alfred and Batman then try to recollect their vague memories of Batman’s first two nights out in costume. At the Belfry, Clayface gets his head shrunk by Dr. Thompkins while Batwing shows off new anti-Victim Syndicate costumes for each Bat Family member to Stephanie. Once Clayface’s session ends, Stephanie steps into the doc’s office. Unknown to the Bat-squad members, Batman is secretly watching and listening to their supposedly-private conversations. In another Belfry room, Batwoman watches her dad in his cell via security cam and then argues with Batwing. During Steph’s session with Dr. Thompkins, the former realizes that Batman is listening-in and calls him out. Batman and Steph argue before Batwing reports that the Victim Syndicate is attacking Harper and Jean-Paul at the Thompkins Clinic. Batman angrily suspends Steph from duty and rounds up the other Bat-squad members for action. A dejected Steph visits the Mud Room to find “Android Red Robin” waiting for her. This synthetic Red Robin is a robot copy Tim has made of himself using a combination of Clayface’s DNA and a digital databank of his own brain.
–Detective Comics #946-947 (“THE VICTIM SYNDICATE” Continued…)
After rounding-up items needed to defeat the Victim Syndicate at miraculously breakneck speed, Batman and the new Bat-squad fight the Victim Syndicate at Leslie Thompkins’ clinic. Back in the Belfry, a depressed Stephanie talks to Android Red Robin. Just as the Bat-squad defeats the Victim Syndicate, Spoiler arrives to challenge her teammates. She has become completely disillusioned with Batman’s war on crime. After taking down the entire Bat Family by herself, Spoiler punches-out the First Victim and addresses Batman face-to-face, saying that his “costumed games” have hurt too many innocent people, including the love of her life. Spoiler tells Batman that she will reveal his secret ID to the world (using a mobile device connected to the Belfry system) unless he shuts down all crime-fighting operations. She passionately speaks of another world where each Bat Family member did something positive for the community without having to wear masks and join a paramilitary group. Batman reminds her that they don’t live in that world—a simple statement that rather elegantly reminds us (the readers) that the DCU is truly a unique place, one that might reflect our reality, but one that can never be classified as “normal.” The other members of the Bat-squad stand-up for Batman’s war, delivering their own panegyrics about why fighting crime in-costume is important to them. Batwoman knocks Spoiler’s mobile device out of her hand, preventing her from releasing Batman’s secret ID. Spoiler tells the Bat Family that she will forever be their rival before motorbiking away. The Victim Syndicate goes into Arkham Asylum. Two days days after Spoiler’s betrayal, Batman brings Spoiler’s cell phone back online, revealing that she was bluffing in regard to releasing Batman’s secret ID. The phone never had the capability to do so. A day later, Batman receives a call from Commissioner Gordon, who tells him that someone (Spoiler) deactivated the Bat Signal, causing the Bat-squad to miss a shootout between cops and the Black and Whites Gang. Batman, Batwoman, and Basil Karlo then pay a visit to Arkham Asylum. Basil visits Mudface in her cell and vows to see her every week if he can. On the other side of the building, Batman and Batwoman view the First Victim in their cell. Batman tells Batwoman that he wants to continue the Bat-squad program, but insert some of Tim’s more egalitarian ideas about rehabilitative social justice. He also says to ask Jean-Paul Valley and Harper Row to join the team. Batman notes that Harper will probably turn them down. The Dark Knight also asks Batwoman to reach-out and try to reconnect with her dad. He tells Batwoman that he failed Spoiler, needs to listen more, and keep victims in mind more often. Batman also says he will let Spoiler operate on her own, but will keep tabs on her. (Note that we won’t see Batman keeping tabs on her on our timeline below, but he will definitely be monitoring her from a distance when he has time. On the flip side, Spoiler will begin a website called “Spoiler Alert,” as referenced in Detective Comics #955. “Spoiler Alert” will crowdsource photos of Gotham vigilantes in action—so Stephanie will be watching Batman quite a bit herself.) Later, Red Robin is able to escape his cell in Mr. Oz’s lair. Before he can make it down the first hallway, he is zapped with a blue electric light and teleported right back into his cell.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1. Green Lantern Jessica Cruz rejoins the Justice League. She quit a bit ago but never really seemed to get too far away from her superhero pals and was still making herself available to the team. It’s safe to say (and highly probable) that she is officially back on the team now.
- NICK SMILES / COLLIN COLSHER: There is at least a two month gap from late December’s “Darkseid War” to “Final Days of Superman.” We know this because Deathstroke Vol. 3 #14-17 occurs during “Darkseid War,” between Justice League Vol. 2 #45 and Justice League Vol. 2 #46. Deathstroke Vol. 3 #18-20 specifically takes place two months after that, but prior to “The Final Days of Superman” and DC Universe: Rebirth #1. (DC Universe: Rebirth #1 occurs in March.)↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Grayson #16 starts now and continues straight-on through to Grayson #20. None of these Grayson issues feature Batman. The entire five issue arc takes up a span of nearly an entire month, overlapping with some stories below. In the arc, Dick goes against Spyral and then winds up fighting against a team of international super spies, after which he defeats a reincarnated Otto Netz and his secret identity is re-masked to the world via a brainwashing satellite. At the end of Grayson #20, Dick returns to his Nightwing persona, sporting a blue-and-black costume. A continuity error, unfortunately, must be mentioned: Poppy Ashemore is still shown as Spyral Agent, which is very wrong since the cannibalistic doctor has already betrayed Spyral by this point.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / NICK SMILES: The entire “Renegade” Hal Jordan/missing Green Lantern Corps Saga occurs in the first two months of Year Nine. In this saga, Hal gets disavowed as a Green Lantern, grows his hair out, and wears a trench coat, eventually making it his mission to locate his disappeared comrades. In the end, Hal finds them and returns to his status quo. Because Hal is is normal self and because the Green Lantern Corps appear in “Darkseid War,” this saga—which includes the following stories in order: Green Lantern Vol. 5 #41-48, Action Comics Vol. 2 #50, Superman/Wonder Woman #27, Green Lantern Vol. 5 #49-52, Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1, and then Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1—must go after it, even if such placement causes continuity errors. What are the errors? Green Lantern Vol. 5 #48, Action Comics Vol. 2 #50, and Superman/Wonder Woman #27 each feature the robo-Batman, who should be retired at this juncture. We will explain this situation in greater detail below. In any case, Green Lantern Vol. 5 #41 starts now and continues through to Green Lantern Vol. 5 #48, Action Comics Vol. 2 #50, and Superman/Wonder Woman #27, which are all listed below.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / NICK SMILES: As briefly explained in a footnote above, the appearance of robo-Batman is anachronistic and incorrect. Either we retcon this robo-Batman to the regular Bruce Wayne Batman or we assume that the GCPD has enlisted Jim Gordon (or someone else) to temporarily wear the robo-Bat-suit for the Sonar case. Obviously, the “vacation” comment was meant as a reference to Batman’s post-“Endgame” status. However, depending on how we read this scene, thanks to the terrible continuity error here, we might be better off regarding Bruce as actually being on vacation right now.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / NICK SMILES: Again, the appearance of robo-Batman is anachronistic and incorrect. Either we retcon this robo-Batman to the regular Bruce Wayne Batman or we assume that the GCPD has enlisted Jim Gordon (or someone else) to temporarily wear the robo-Bat-suit. If we choose the latter path, then this is the same person in the robo-Bat-suit as seen in the previous Green Lantern Vol. 5 #48, which immediately precedes this issue.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / NICK SMILES: Since Superman/Wonder Woman #27 is the immediate follow-up to Action Comics Vol. 2 #50, the robo-Batman is again included in the story. And, again, his appearance is still anachronistic and incorrect. We must retcon this robo-Batman to the regular Bruce Wayne Batman or assume that the GCPD has enlisted Jim Gordon (or someone else) to temporarily wear the robo-Bat-suit.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / NICK SMILES: The Saga of Hal Jordan and the Missing Green Lantern Corps continues immediately following Superman/Wonder Woman #27 and Superman Vol. 3 #50. It continues with Green Lantern Vol. 5 #49-52, Hal Jordan & The Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1, and then Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1, the latter of which is listed on our timeline below.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Following Harley Quinn Vol. 2 #25, events drastically alter Harley’s life. At this point on our timeline, according to Harley Quinn Vol. 2 #28, Harley Quinn has finally decided to leave the Suicide Squad behind for good. (It is implied in that same issue—via Red Tool’s dialogue—that she left the Suicide Squad at some point in the recent past, possibly in recent months.) But just when she’s gotten out, Amanda Waller begs to differ. Waller ain’t about to let one of her best pet soldiers skip away untrammeled. Harley Quinn & The Suicide Squad April Fools’ Special #1 (aka Harley Quinn & The Suicide Squad Special Edition #1) takes place now and rips Harley Quinn’s empowered agency away, plunging her deeper into insanity and unadulterated villainy than she’s ever been before thanks to a Clockwork Orange-style torturing at the hands of Amanda Waller. This long torture sequence features Batman and the Justice League, but they look as they appeared prior to “Endgame.” Waller tells Harley outright that the experience fighting the JL might have been completely fabricated. I’m here to tell you that it definitely was. This April Fools’ Special is part of a repackaging for the “Rebirth” era wherein which Harley Quinn will resemble her Margot Robbie counterpart from cinema and return to the Suicide Squad. (Harley already dyed her hair in the recent Harley Quinn Vol. 2 #26.) Likewise, Amanda Waller has gained quite a bit of weight to resemble her Viola Davis counterpart from the Suicide Squad film as well.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: The main reason Batman Vol. 3 #1 goes after Justice League: Rebirth #1, “The Extinction Machines,” and Superman Vol. 4 #7 is because, in this issue, Bruce tells Alfred to contact “Clark” and “Hal.” It isn’t until after “Extinction Machines” and Superman Vol. 4 #7 that Batman finally begins trusting the Modern Age Superman a little bit more. It would be both strange and out-of-character for Bruce to casually refer to the Man of Steel as “Clark” prior to those issues.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Batman Vol. 3 #1 is separated from the rest of “I am Gotham” because in Nightwing Vol. 4 #2, Batgirl mentions being in Gotham during a period where “the Gotham twins” and “Batwoman’s bootcamp” are both concurrent (and both have yet to have gone through their fatal tragedies that are to come). This means that Batman Vol. 3 #1 occurs prior to Nightwing Vol. 4 #1-4, Gotham’s death, and Red Robin’s death. Batman’s dialogue to Gotham in Batman Vol. 3 #2 also implies a gap between Batman Vol. 3 #1 and Batman Vol. 3 #2.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Titans Vol. 3 #8, which occurs shortly after Bruce begins paying for the Titans and provides for their NYC HQ, explicitly takes place a “few weeks” after “Outbreak.” Therefore, it is safe to say that Bruce’s involvement with the Titans must occur pretty shortly after “Outbreak.”↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Detective Comics #934 and subsequent ‘tec issues include the moody backdrop of heavy snowfall, yet we must be in springtime. But hey global climate change, so y’know, who knows, right? There technically could be snow in springtime. Probably best to just ignore the weather in this one, though.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Detective Comics #934 is separated from Detective Comics #935 because Detective Comics #950, Part 3 tells us that Nightwing Vol. 4 #1-4 happens before the main action of “Rise of the Batmen” (which really kicks-off with Detective Comics #935). As mentioned in Nightwing Vol. 4 #2, Nightwing Vol. 4 #1-4 occurs both after Gotham and Gotham Girl have debuted publicly and after Batman has assembled Batwoman’s Bat-Squad team (but before the tragedies of Gotham’s death and Red Robin’s death happen).↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Nightwing Vol. 4 #1 is up next, which means that Batgirl Vol. 5 #1—where Babs goes to Japan—begins now. In the upcoming Nightwing Vol. 4 #2—which takes place two days after Nightwing Vol. 4 #1—Babs will phone Dick from Japan and tell him about “Batwoman’s bootcamp” and “the Gotham twins.” This puts us squarely after Gotham and Gotham Girl’s debut (but before tragedy befalls the siblings). It also puts us squarely after the Bat-squad has formed (but before tragedy befalls Red Robin). A day after phoning Dick, in Nightwing Vol. 4 #2, Babs will leave Japan to briefly meet Dick in Norway.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: This issue occurs after Gotham and Gotham Girl’s debut (but before tragedy befalls the siblings) and after the Bat-squad has formed (but before tragedy befalls Red Robin)—as mentioned in Nightwing Vol. 4 #2.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Dialogue in Batman Vol. 3 #3 implies that Hank and Claire Clover returned to Gotham from overseas roughly a month ago. Since they are shown in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, this suggests, if the dialogue is truly to be believed, that “I am Gotham” occurs about a month after DC Universe: Rebirth #1.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / TIPTUP JR 94: As mentioned above, we should probably ignore the heavy snowfall in this arc, especially since no other issues around this arc show any snow in Gotham at all. Bizarrely, ‘tec #937 gives us the very specific date of Wednesday, May 31, 2016—a fictional date that not only doesn’t even exist in real life, but one that would also never have snowfall. No matter the case, May 31 seems a bit late for this story any way you spin it. Best to ignore all specificity here. Also, the gap between issues #934 and #935 is meant to exist, but it is written as if it is only a few days long at the most. In order to accommodate other tales, however, this gap must be about two weeks long.↩