–Detective Comics Vol. 2 #13
Early January 2013. On Tuesday, Bruce donates money to the Orthodontic Association and Batman ironically knocks some thug’s teeth out. The flashback from the second feature of Detective Comics Vol. 2 #13 shows Batman responding to the Bat-Signal in the Batplane. This flashback also takes place less than a week before the upcoming attempt on Bruce’s life by the Ghost Dragons, so we can assume that it is depicting Tuesday night’s adventure. On Wednesday, Bruce pays off the student loan debt of a bunch of orthopedic surgeons and as Batman breaks some thug’s bones. A few days later, Batman (at Alfred’s strong urging to hurry up) races to make a very important gala event—the opening of the Martha Wayne wing of the Neville Community Center. However, a jealous Penguin has decided that he wants the new wing to be named after his mom instead. Penguin has hired the notorious Ghost Dragons to simultaneously assassinate Bruce before he can dedicate the new wing and keep Batman occupied with multiple robberies across the city. A bit overwhelmed, the Dark Knight has Nightwing take care of the robberies while he takes out his own would-be assassin. By the time Bruce shows up late to the gala, Penguin has already forced the directors of the community center to accept his donation by threatening them with murder. Bruce witnesses the new ell dedicated as the “Esther Cobblepot Wing.” Satisfied with embarrassing and upstaging Bruce, Penguin calls off his assassins. However, there’s one big problem: The Ghost Dragons, once hired, never relent. The opening flashback from Detective Comics #14 (which takes place the next day) forms the direct continuation from the Ghost Dragon attack in ‘tec #13. Penguin seizes an opportunity and kills the Ghost Dragon assassin, not only saving Bruce, but earning himself the label of hero!
DEATH OF THE FAMILY
————————–Batman Vol. 2 #13
————————–Batman Vol. 2 #14, Part 1
January 2013. Batman Vol. 2 #13 begins immediately after Penguin saves Bruce’s life from the Ghost Dragon assassin. It’s been over a year since Joker went missing after getting his face sliced off. Joker now returns to Gotham with a murderous bang, steals back his face, makes a public TV appearance—not showing his face—and executes John Claridge (the son of his first victim Henry Claridge), and kills nineteen GCPD officers right under the noses of Commissioner Gordon and Batman. Batman confronts someone dressed in Joker’s old Red Hood outfit at ACE Chemicals, but it isn’t Joker, it’s actually Harley Quinn, who distracts the Dark Knight. Meanwhile, Joker, with his face literally tied-on like a mask, enters Wayne Manor, attacks Alfred with a hammer, and kidnaps him! Batman returns home to discover via audiotape that Alfred is the captive of his arch-enemy. The tape also leaves a clue threatening Commissioner Gordon.
–FLASHBACK: This event (as seen in Detective Comics Vol. 2 #14) occurs the morning after Bruce’s altercation with Penguin and the Ghost Dragons (which is also the same morning after the return of the Joker). Bruce and Damian discuss Penguin and Poison Ivy. Damian references Joker’s attack on the GCPD. Damian also asks where Alfred is, but Bruce dodges the question. Alfred, of course, has just been abducted by Joker.
–Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #13-14
It’s still the morning after Alfred’s abduction. Batman and Robin rocket into Earth’s orbit to monitor one of the Batcave’s information satellites, view a spectacular solar eclipse at close range, and have a heart-to-heart. Back on the Earth’s surface, Batman and a Joker-weary Commissioner Gordon investigate a supposed zombie uprising in a Gotham cemetery. Meanwhile, Damian easily fights off a mutant frog-monster assassin trying to earn the League of Assassins’ $500 million bounty on his head. Damian mentions (out loud to himself) that in “another couple of months [he will] start growing.” Don’t know that that means. Oh well. Shortly thereafter, Damian is swarmed by “zombies” and dragged into a subway station where a group of cultists prepare a cannibalistic feast. But these ain’t no real zombies; they are a mob of Gothamites that have been chemically altered by Joker! Batman joins Robin and they defeat the fake zombies. Afterward, Bruce scolds Damian for his impetuousness and recklessness. Despite the rocky path they’ve often tread, this argument ends with a touching teary-eyed father-son embrace.
–Detective Comics Vol. 2 #14-15
The night after Bruce’s encounter with the Ghost Dragons and Penguin (and the abduction of Alfred), Batman tries to apprehend Poison Ivy, who attempts to murderously sabotage one of Penguin’s environmentally-unfriendly pharmaceutical companies. Ivy has recently split from the Birds of Prey and returned to her more villainous ways. At the factory, Poison Ivy kisses Batman, causing him to lose a step and hallucinate an image of his girlfriend Natalya. Ogilvy (Penguin’s number one henchman) then takes Poison Ivy prisoner and then departs leaving Batman struggling to regain consciousness. Clayface then crashes into the factory looking for his “wife.” It is revealed in the flashback second feature to ‘tec #14 and in ‘tec #15 that Ivy recently broke Clayface out of Arkham, put him under her seductive spell, and brainwashed him (with plant implants) to think they are married and in love. Ogilvy buries Ivy alive in a graveyard per Penguin’s orders. Across town, Batman fights Clayface, returns to the Batcave to figure out how the super-villain has been controlled by Ivy, and goes back to “deprogram” him. Dressed in his fancy red and gold hazmat Bat-suit, Batman hoses Clayface down with herbicide, eliminating Ivy’s influence. Clayface retreats into the sewers and plans revenge against Ivy (as shown in the second feature of ‘tec #15). Meanwhile, Joker meets with a nervous Penguin and they depart for Arkham Asylum. Back at the graveyard, Ogilvy digs up Ivy, saving her life. Ogilvy then declares himself “Emperor Penguin,” stating that he no longer works for Penguin, believing that his former boss’ days are numbered due to the reappearance of the Joker.
DEATH OF THE FAMILY Continued…
————————–Batman Vol. 2 #14, Part 2
————————–Batman Vol. 2 #15
A full day has now passed since Alfred’s abduction. Batman decides to tell Commissioner Gordon about it. Gordon, having already been poisoned by Joker, begins bleeding out of every pore, but Batman is able to get him to the hospital in time to save his life. Batman then tells Nightwing about Alfred, but says that they are to keep his abduction a secret from the rest of the Bat-Family so that everyone will keep their emotions in check as they duel the Joker. Nightwing questions whether or not Joker knows their secret IDs, but Batman states his belief that Alfred was simply targeted because of his public link to Batman Incorporated. At the Gotham Reservoir, site of their first face-to-face encounter, Batman confronts Joker, who blows the dam and poisons the water supply. Joker also restrains the Dark Knight, claims that he knows the secret IDs of the entire Bat-Family, and that they will all be dead within seventy-two hours. As the GCPD surrounds the area, snipers working for Joker begin shooting at them. Batman gets knocked into the reservoir and loses consciousness. Luckily, members of the Bat-Family save him and stop the spread of the poison in the water. While Batman is unconscious and recovering in the Batcave, some other Bat-Family spin-off titles in the “Death of the Family” arc take place (including Catwoman Vol. 3 #13-14 and portions of Suicide Squad Vol. 4 #14-15). When Batman awakes, Nightwing has assembled Robin, Red Robin, Red Hood, and Batgirl for a meeting. Bruce learns that Joker has targeted all of them and also that his family knows that Joker has taken Alfred. Bruce still tries to tell them that Joker doesn’t know who they are, but they remain highly skeptical.
–Detective Comics Vol. 2 #16-17
As Emperor Penguin begins inciting violence across Gotham (making it look like Joker is responsible), all of the Joker-inspired gangs in the city are going buck wild due to Joker’s reemergence. Batman begins a quick sweep and apprehends as many of the lunatics as he can at various locations. However, the worst of the bunch, a group known as The League of Smiles (led by The Merrymaker), has only just reared its ugly head. Batman soon realizes that all of the League of Smiles members are former patients of the supposedly deceased Dr. Byron Merideth. After taking down a cross-dressing circus strongman at Byron’s office, Batman converses with Gordon and Bullock at the morgue and discovers that Merideth’s corpse is not actually Merideth. At the Gotham Children’s Hospital, Batman exposes the Merrymaker as Merideth in front of his minions and reveals that Merideth had merely been using his ex-patients as pawns in an attempt to murder his ex-wife and her lawyer and get away scott-free.
DEATH OF THE FAMILY Continued…
————————–Batman Vol. 2 #15, Conclusion
————————–Batman Vol. 2 #16-17
Batman learns that one of Joker’s snipers is an Arkham guard. Batman also learns the horrific truth that Joker has been in control of Arkham for days, maybe even weeks. The Dark Knight visits Arkham and enters a hellish nightmare where a flaming horse runs wild, the inmates are all loose and attack him, and a patchwork tapestry of dozens of mutilated still-living people hangs on display (courtesy of Dollmaker). After easily dispatching Mr. Freeze, Clayface, and Scarecrow, Batman enters Jeremiah Arkham’s office and finds Joker and his royal entourage; Penguin, Two-Face, and Riddler. Among them are a few people dressed up as Justice League members, who are each forced to electrocute themselves to death by Joker. Batman quickly gains the upper hand, but Joker shows a video of the defeat and capture of the Bat-Family, which causes the Dark Knight to surrender. Joker orders Batman to sit in an electric chair. The Caped Crusader complies and gets fried into unconsciousness. When he awakes, Joker has the entire Bat-Family bound and gagged deep within the bowels of the Batcave! Alfred is alive and well, albeit completely Jokerized. Joker unveils some silver dishes containing the supposed sliced-off faces of each Bat-Family member. However, it’s all a trick. The Bat-Family’s faces are fine. Batman breaks free of his restraints and begins pummeling Joker. Meanwhile, the Bat-Family gets dosed with a new strain of Joker Venom and begins fighting each other. Joker winds up falling into the catacomb rivers beneath the Batcave and his washed away. At the other end of the cave, the Bat-Family shakes off the effects of the Venom and stops fighting. The next day, everyone recuperates and reflects on all that has happened. Bruce explains to Alfred that Joker knows their secret identities, but is so crazy that he doesn’t (and never did) care who was beneath the mask—to the crazed Clown Prince of Crime only Batman matters. Everyone tells Batman that while they were captured, Joker revealed some deep, dark truths about each Bat Family member, and as a result tension is high and trust is at an all time low.
–Red Hood & The Outlaws #17-18
Red Hood & The Outlaws #17 obviously takes place right after “The Death of the Family” and sometime before Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #1-8 (where Damian dies). Jason, Dick, Damian, Alfred, and Bruce all unwind at Wayne Manor following the recent Joker chaos. Starfire and Arsenal then meet up with Jason at Wayne Manor. While Nightwing hides from his ex (Starfire) and Robin play fights with Arsenal, Jason meets with Bruce in the Batcave and they have a touching heart-to-heart. Alfred tells Jason that he always has a place in the family. Jason then puts on his Red Hood helmet, which has been rigged by Joker to play a holographic taunt and deliver an agonizingly painful acid face wash. Batman dashes upstairs and rips Jason’s helmet off, but it’s too late. Jason’s face is burned and he is unconscious. During this issue, Jason not only reflects upon what happened with Joker but also on his recent time as the Wingman of Batman Incorporated, mentioning Damian’s time as Redbird (which we see in Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #3-4). However, this is either a massively huge continuity error or we must assume that Damian dresses in the Redbird costume before Batman Inc #3 (since it runs continuously until Damian’s death in issue #8) and that is what Jason is referencing. In any scenario, there is no way Jason can be referencing Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #4 (as the editor’s note implies) since it takes place after this issue! That night, Jason is nursed back to health by Alfred as Bruce watches on. Alfred determines that the acid won’t cause any permanent physical damage, but Jason remains comatose. While under, Jason has vivid hallucinations of Joker, his former mentor in the City of the All-Caste, his friends dying, and a scene featuring himself as Wingman talking to Batman. When Jason awakes, Bruce is still sitting by his side and they embrace as father and son. Jason will begin a series of blood tests with Alfred that will last for a couple weeks (as referenced in Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #20). These tests will ensure that there are no lingering effects from the Joker Toxin face wash.
–Batman & Robin Vol. 2 Annual #1
Batman defeats a young kid who joyrides in a military mech-suit. The next day, Bruce, via video, is challenged to a global scavenger hunt by Damian. Bruce agrees and immediately departs with Alfred for London, the supposed location of Damian. In reality, Damian is still in Gotham. He dons a self-made Batman costume (a mini version of his costume from the Batman #666 future) and hits the streets to work a case and bust some random costumed super-villain ass. In a hotel in London, Bruce finds Damian’s first “gift,” a picture that Bruce’s mom painted when he was a little tot. Damian, using a green screen to pretend to be in Barcelona, live video chats with Bruce, and tells him to get to Spain. While Bruce and Alfred catch up on some heartwarming bonding time, Damian puts on his 666 costume and kicks some more butt in Gotham. In Barcelona, Bruce, following Damian’s instructions, finds a picture of his parents on their honeymoon and visits the exact spot the picture was taken. Back in Gotham, Damian sends more instructions to his dad, this time to go to Greece. Then, lil’ Bat-Damian defeats the same military mech-suit Batman defeated two days prior, only this time its being operated by the previous user’s father. Damian also apprehends the criminal’s metahuman partner, The Weasel (who we’ve only seen before in the Batman #666 future)! The next day, in Greece, Bruce finds the stone tile that his father used to write a marriage proposal to his mother on. Damian flies to London and meets with his pop. Bruce is overjoyed and filled with love in regard to Damian’s wonderful scavenger hunt. Bruce and Damian then watch Alfred perform Shakespeare at the Old Globe Theater before returning home to Gotham (at the express request of Alfred, who can’t stand London or his ex-girlfriend anymore).
–Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #17
After a hard day and night’s work patrolling Gotham, Batman and Robin return home. Bruce, Damian, Alfred, (and Titus) all go to sleep for the night. Damian has a multi-layered nightmare featuring a creepy twin and his entire family dead. Alfred has a nightmare about Joker’s antics during the “Death of the Family” arc that turns into a good dream where he blows Joker’s head off with a shotgun. Bruce has a nightmare featuring his parents, a giant paper boat, and most of his rogues gallery. Upon waking, Bruce checks up on Damian, who has drifted into a much happier dream where he gleefully fights crime with his dad.
For months, a former Talon gone good named Calvin Rose, has been warring against the Court of Owls (with the assistance of his mentor Sebastian Clark and friend Casey Washington). Batman and Nightwing review Rose’s activities (although they don’t know who he is) and watch some blurry security footage of Rose fighting the Butcher of Gotham, a Talon named Felix Harmon. Elsewhere in Gotham, Rose stalks the Grandmaster of the Court of Owls, a dangerous undertaking. He infiltrates the Court’s HQ on Securitus Island, but gets captured by three Talons. In Uptown Gotham, Harmon brutally murders a family just for kicks, which draws the attention of Batman and Commissioner Gordon. Harmon is about to attack Batman, but his boss tells him to stand down, recalling what happened the last time the Court dealt with the Dark Knight. On Securitus Island, Rose is delivered to Grandmaster John Wycliffe. In a Total Recall moment, Wycliffe explains to Rose that everything he has done in his war against the Court has actually been strategically manipulated by the Court itself. Not only that, his mentor Sebastian Clark is only leading him against the Court because he was the Grandmaster that was ousted and marked for death following his botched “Night of Owls” offensive! Just as Rose is about to be executed, one of Wycliffe’s Talons goes rogue, saves Rose’s life, and helps him fight off the other Talons. After escaping, Rose rushes to make sure Casey is okay, but gets literally tied-up by Batman, who warns him that fighting the Court of Owls is bad for everyone. Before Batman can haul-in Rose, he escapes and gets away scott-free. Luckily, Casey (and her young daughter Sarah Washington) have fled to safety. However, Rose doesn’t fare so well. Clark is waiting for him with his new partner, Bane! Bane promptly snaps Rose’s neck, instantly killing him.
–NOTE: Clayface brushes Bruce’s skin while the latter attends a corporate gala with Damian (as referenced in Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #20). Clayface is slowly losing his own DNA, but has gained the ability to completely replicate others’ DNA. With Bruce’s DNA “on file” within his system, Clayface will eventually strike.
–FLASHBACK: Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #1-5 occurs now. Mid to late January 2013. It’s been over two months since Talia Al Ghul dramatically revealed herself as leader of Leviathan. Our story begins less than a week since the conclusion of “Death of the Family” and one month prior to Gordon and the GCPD showing up to arrest Bruce Wayne—but we’ll get to that in a month’s time. Here in the present, Batman and Robin chase down some goat-masked henchmen who try to set up Robin for an assassination ambush by their boss, sniper extraordinaire Goatboy, who hopes to collect on the Leviathan bounty. The assassination fails, but Goatboay gets away. Meanwhile, across town at a secret meeting, Talia and her right hand man, the mysterious and powerful Heretic (aka “Fatherless”), strong arm Gotham’s weirdest corporate, social, and criminal leaders to turn over their operations to Leviathan. Batman and Robin manage to stop a shipment of poisoned meat from entering Gotham’s markets—and take one of the healthy bovines as a pet, which Robin dubs Bat-Cow! Unfazed, Talia’s ninja man-bats drop the corpse of one of Gotham’s top mobsters in front of the Dynamic Duo to send them a message that she means business. In San Francisco, behind a secret wall in a sex shop lies Batcave West (!), complete with an Outsiders “Hall of Trophies,” where Batman Incorporated members regroup following the recent Leviathan battle. Wingman gathers the troops—Batwing, Hood, Gaucho, Freight Train, Looker, and Halo—and we learn that the world, including Leviathan, believes that all of these heroes have perished and Batman wants it to stay that way for now. Back in Gotham, the Dynamic Duo stops some Mutant Gang members, under Leviathan orders, from delivering more tainted beef. However, while Robin deals with the Mutants, Batman spots Goatboy and confronts him. Despite the heat from the Caped Crusader, Goatboy is able to put a bullet in Robin’s head! Of course this is a ruse and Damian is fine. Talia, who isn’t fooled so easily and sees right through the trickery, then meets with her father, Ra’s Al Ghul, who as usual reprimands his daughter and tells her to stop her war against Batman. Talia effectively takes over her father’s empire and puts him under house arrest. Instead of being upset, Ra’s Al Ghul seems to finally have garnered genuine respect and admiration for Talia. Meanwhile, back in Gotham, Batman dons his Matches Malone guise and, along with an undercover Gaucho, Hood, and Freight Train (or is this Batwing?), pumps the local bar scene for information regarding Leviathan, which now has secret agents operating within the judicial system, the GCPD, the education system, and the food distribution industry. Nightwing plays Batman for a one-time gig while “Malone” questions some crooks. Later, in the Batcave, Nightwing goofs around by wearing a cape, combining Batman’s fighting togs with his own. After “Malone” interrogates Goatboy, Batman—still in his Malone guise—visits a mansion owned by Leviathan only to get ambushed and captured by new bizarre League Assassins, including Goatboy himself. Sick of playing dead, Robin knocks-out Alfred, dons his Redbird costume, and goes to rescue Batman. At the Leviathan house, Batman Inc—including Redbird, Gaucho, the Hood, Wingman, Nightwing, Batwing, Knight, Squire, Red Robin, and Freight Train—engages in a battle royale against the weirdest assortment of League Assassins ever assembled—including the Seven Men of Death, Alpha, Tzin-Tzin, Sportsmaster, Ojo, Shrike, Mad Dog, Aron Aromowitz, the Turnip Twins, Kitty Kumbata, Wam Wam, and a host of other super-villains we’ve never seen before. Matches quickly becomes Batman again and leads the charge as the heroes decimate the bad guys with relative ease. Goatboy gets killed in the process. Afterward, Wingman unmasks in front of all, revealing himself as Jason Todd! Despite victory, Damian senses something ominous and asks his dad what’s going on. Bruce has another revelation: In order to end the insane war between Leviathan and Batman Incorporated and to spare Gotham (and the world) the carnage of what might happen, Bruce has decided that the only course of action is that Damian must return into the care of his mom. Why? Bruce tells Damian the whole of his vision of the apocalyptic dark future of Gotham if Damian should ever become Batman (the possible future from Batman #666, Batman #700, and Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #5). Despite the shocking story, which involves the deaths of everyone in Gotham, Damian adamantly exclaims that no one, not even Batman, can know the future for certain. Meanwhile, Knight, Squire, Batwing, and the Outsiders are all lured to the Leviathan HQ at Crime Alley, where a bomb explodes seemingly killing them all.
–FLASHBACK: The main action from Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #6-10 continues and picks up right where issue #5 leaves off. I’ve simply split it up for aesthetic purposes. Batman, with a bunch of GI Bat-Robots, goes to Crime Alley where the GCPD has set up a perimeter. Inside, Batman chats with Talia via radio and fights Leviathan agents. Outisde, ninja man-bats fight a chaotic aerial war versus GI Bat-Robots. At the top floor of the building, Batman’s agents lie bloody and battered, nearly all dead except for Batwing and Knight. Knight barely manages to revive the heartbeat-less Squire with a shock from his taser. Back at the Batcave, Jason rallies the troops and prepares to engage Leviathan. Alfred gives the grief-stricken Damian a new pet cat, which he names Alfred. Back across town, Talia explains that Batman must choose between the death of Damian or the combined destruction of Gotham and collapse of the US economy. Talia also explains that the Otto Netz’s “Oroboro” is a new energy source that she controls and that will replace all others, causing this global power shift. The monstrous hulking Heretic enters the scene, murders a bunch of hostages, and snaps Knight’s neck, killing him instantly. As a teary-eyed Squire pounds on Heretic to no avail, the villain beats-down Batman and tosses him through a window. An unconscious Dark Knight is taken away by ninja man-bats. At Batcave East (underneath an abandoned WayneCorp oil refinery), the Hood betrays Batman Inc for the second time, pledging his loyalty to Spyral and taking-out Jason with an electric shock. Red Robin chases after Batman, but is nearly blown to bits by yet another bomb. Back at Crime Alley, a schoolbus full of Leviathan brainwashed children attack Nightwing, Batwing, and Commissioner Gordon with knives and spears. Talia, the Heretic, and a small army of Leviathan soldiers takes over an undefended Wayne Tower. Thanks to a report from Traktir and Spidra (who are also under Leviathan assault in Yemen) sent to Batwing, Damian confirms that the Heretic is none other than an adult clone of himself. Atop the Wayne Tower skyscraper, the Heretic throws a locked safe (with Batman trapped inside) into Bruce’s penthouse swimming pool. Damian convinces Alfred to let him attempt a rescue of his father. Alfred agrees. Robin suits up in his armored rocket-suit, saves Nightwing and Gordon, and heads to Wayne Tower, where Red Robin (with frontdesk girl Ellie) is battling Leviathan’s best. Robin and Nightwing then team-up at Wayne Tower to fight crazed kiddies and more Leviathan soldiers. The Heretic enters the lobby, dispatches with Nightwing, and brutally murders Robin, who dies a hero’s death. Batman, escaped from the safe, shows up a second too late to save his son. Batman, Nightwing, and Red Robin all join forces, fight off the Heretic, and flee to safety with Damian’s corpse and the Oroboros weapon-activator. The next day Bruce, Dick, Tim, and alfred hold a solemn funeral and lay Damian to rest at the Wayne Cemetery plot. Bruce swears revenge and also orders Alfred to take a vacation until his affairs are settled with Leviathan (partly a punishment for allowing Damian to show up at Wayne Tower in the first place). Across the pond in London, Knight is given a hero’s funeral parade—with the Royal Family in attendance. Beryl takes up the mantle of her mentor and becomes the new Knight. Meanwhile, behind closed doors Prime Minister David Cameron, with an aide, discusses the possibility of there still being an active Lazarus Pit somewhere. Back in Gotham, with Leviathan still in control of Wayne Tower, looting and riots continue across the city. The media reports that Leviathan struck against Wayne because of his public link to Batman Incorporated. Leviathan contacts Mayor Hady with an ultimatum. They demand the shutdown of Batman Incorporated, the arrest of Bruce Wayne, and the banning of the entire Batman brand from the city or else the city will crumble. Mayor Hady addresses the media and says that he will comply with the demands, citing that Batman Incorporated has violated the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (an actual real life thing, BTW)—essentially operating as a sanctioned private paramilitary venture but disregarding various US laws while doing so. Hearing the rough news, Batman Inc goes underground. A day later, in an undisclosed location, Nightwing, Red Robin, Knight, and Dark Ranger touch base via satellite link-up with Gaucho, Man-of-Bats, Red Raven, Batman Japan, and Nightrunner. In the process, they learn that there is a super Oroboros bomb in each location where a Batman Inc member has been recruited. Elsewhere, in an undisclosed Spyral base, original Bat-Woman Kathy Kane (!), the Hood, and a gang of St. Hardian’s girls hold Jason Todd hostage. In the Batcave, Batman tends to his wounds and utters a primal scream at the loss of his son. With Leviathan controlling all of Gotham and making outrageous ultimatums that keep the National Guard and GCPD at bay, Talia visits her father in Switzerland to brag about her achievements. However, Ra’s laughs, doubting her ability to finish the job. Returning to a Gotham where Batman is made public enemy number one, Talia liquidates some of her own men before demanding that the Dark Knight surrender to her by eleven o’clock. In the Red Hook section of Gotham, Red Robin, Nightwing, Knight, and Dark Ranger locate Jason and bust in to rescue him. There, the Hood tries to explain the complexity of his betrayal, stating that Spyral may not be working with Batman Inc, but they are definitely against Leviathan. With his surrender deadline quickly approaching, Batman prepares for his confrontation with Talia across town. First, he acquires some Man-Bat Serum from the office of the inventors of the stuff, Dr. Kirk Langstrom and his wife Dr. Francine Langstrom—this scene is deliberately vague, showing the cops interrogating Kirk, who denies both meeting or harboring the Caped Crusader. Batman, meanwhile, is perched outside on a window ledge, making his presence known by punching the lead detective in the face and then swinging away as the officers shoot at him. In order to jibe with continuity, we must assume that Batman doesn’t actually meet the Langstroms face-to-face yet, since his ostensible first meeting with them will occur in Detective Comics Vol. 2 #19. Thus, in this scene, he has stolen the serum and antidote just prior to the Langstroms and police entering the room. Batman then meets with Azrael and borrows the Suit of Sorrows! Nearly eleven o’clock, Batman dons the magickal armor underneath his costume, injects himself with Man-Bat Serum, and suits up into a flying combat robot suit.
–FLASHBACK: The main action of Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #11 picks up right where issue #10 leaves off. Rain falls over Gotham. Batman, jacked up with the Suit of Sorrows, a Bat-mech suit, and Man-Bat Serum, charges into battle. But first, random Chris Burhnam scripted Batman Japan interlude flashback to the early days of Batman Inc!
–Detective Comics Vol. 2 #18
This issue appears to take place immediately following “Death of the Family” but since it takes place after Damian’s death, it must happen now. Arkham has been restored to its fully functioning level (for the first time since the Joker ran the show over a month ago) in the capable hands of head of security Aaron Cash. Batman returns to Arkham and busts a few heads to keep things in line. All the inmates are accounted for except for Zsasz. Despite the fact that Batman wants Penguin, who has been languishing in Arkham for a whole month, to stay incarcerated, the villain gets to walk. When Penguin gets home, he realizes that Ogilvy (aka Emperor Penguin) has stolen all of his assets, estates, money, and criminal empire. Back at the family plot outside of Wayne Manor, Alfred and Bruce mourn the passing of Damian by the boy’s graveside. Bruce takes his mind off the tragedy by patrolling and kicking some ass. When shots are fired at the Iceberg Casino, Batman responds and finds Penguin shooting up the place in an attempt to get to Emperor Penguin. Batman punches out Penguin as the cops arrive to cuff him. Penguin laughs and says that his lawyers will have him free in no time. However, ironically, across town Zsasz (hired by Emperor Penguin) has murdered Penguin’s attorneys. Penguin gets hauled-off on charges of criminal trespass and vandalism. Batman remarks on how the charges may be lesser than Penguin deserves, but they’ll stick and he’s going to Blackgate Prison. For the only the second time in his career, Penguin goes to jail! In Penguin’s former office, Emperor Penguin meets with former League of Assassins/Leviathan agent Anya Volkova, who delivers him a vial of Man-Bat Serum!
–Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #18
Bruce and Alfred mourn the death of Damian. Bruce gears up for his nightly patrol, but can’t help but be haunted by the image of his lost son. Fueled by rage and sadness, Batman apprehends nearly a hundred criminals over the course of a single night—some regular crooks, but many weird costumed villains as well. Back home, Batman finds a letter among Damian’s things. The letter, addressed to Bruce and from Damian, says that Talia “gave him life” but his dad “taught him how to live.” Bruce breaks down in angry tears, clutching his son’s tattered fighting togs.
–Batgirl Vol. 4 #18
Gotham’s Finest bust and interrogate the remnants of Joker’s gang while Batgirl deals with the debuting Firebug. Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon and tells him that Robin has died. Gordon immediately calls Babs and tells her the terrible news. Batgirl uses her sadness to motivate her, tracking down Firebug and easily busting him. Afterward, Batgirl reluctantly begins a war against her psychotic serial killer brother, James Junior.
–Nightwing Vol. 3 #18
It’s been two weeks since the conclusion of “Death of the Family” and a few days since the death of Damian. Batman meets with Dick and tells him that the Dealer has reared his ugly head in Gotham and his auctioning-off memorabilia from “Death of the Family,” including false teeth traps and Dick’s father’s circus outfit. A pissed-off Nightwing busts up the Mirror House auction, but his father’s costume gets burned when the entire place goes up in flames. The next day, Dick visits Damian’s grave and places the former Boy Wonder’s favorite video game on the marker. Dick then visits his friend, Sonia Branch (daughter of Tony Zucco, the man who killed the Flying Graysons). Sonia drops a bombshell—Tony Zucco faked his own death and is alive and well in Chicago!
–Batman Vol. 2 #18
The stark realization of the fact that Damian is really gone has finally sunk in for Bruce. For a week straight, Batman, hoping to take his mind off of the loss of his son, fights crime day and night with no sleep. By the end of the week, Batman is unhinged and off his game, getting stabbed in the leg by a mugger. A weary Batman then confronts an animal abuser who sics a bunch of genetically modified, Venom-enhanced mutts on him. Harper Row, who has been training to fight crime for months now, shows up and unnecessarily tries to help out her hero. Batman defeats the man and his dogs and then warns Harper to back off by punching her in the face and breaking her nose! The next day Harper meets with Bruce at Wayne Tower, hoping to offer an electric grid blueprint that will help the Dark Knight to the esteemed head of Batman Incorporated. Bruce, feeling sorry for bruising up the poor girl, accepts the assistance and says he will talk to Batman. Later, back in his Batman gear, Bruce apologizes to Harper. Harper then gives the Dark Knight a motivational speech and delivers a present to him: the Wayne Tower building lights up with an giant “R” that will cycle the word “resolve.” Ironically, the “R” forms a giant Robin symbol and acts as a tribute to the fallen sidekick, although Harper couldn’t have known that Robin was dead.
–Worlds’ Finest #10
During the middle of a war campaign against business rival Michael Holt (Mr. Terrific), Power Girl learns that Damian has died. She immediately tells Huntress, who is devastated. Huntress visits Damian’s grave at Wayne Manor, but makes a quick getaway when she spots Batman coming her way.
–Catwoman Vol. 4 #18
Catwoman steals a bunch of famous paintings of Arkham Asylum, partly for the money given to her in exchange for the items, but also because she knows it will personally irk Batman. Batman angrily chases her down and they have an emotional conversation about Joker’s actions earlier in the month. Eventually, they calm and embrace. Catwoman begs Batman to open up, but he coldly leaves her as he always does. Later, Selina visits GCPD HQ in search of her best friend Gwen Altamont, who has been arrested. Gwen walks thanks to some shady new underworld friends—Selina enters the building just as Gwen exits, the two just missing each other. That night, Catwoman steals back the paintings and returns them to the museum as a gesture of goodwill towards Batman.
Batwoman has recently gotten engaged to Maggie Sawyer. She and her sidekick Hawkfire (Bette Kane’s new moniker) have also just defeated the mystical global criminal organization known as Medusa. Now they take down Mr. Freeze and Batman comes to clean up the mess. Batman and Batwoman argue as the former demands Mr. Freeze’s freeze-gun. Batwoman breaks it in half and give the Dark Knight one of the halves. Later at DEO HQ, Cameron Chase and Mr. Bones discuss how their agent, Batwoman, has gotten increasingly more and more disobedient as of late. Hoping to reassert their dominance, they decide it’s time to sic the mysterious “Party Crasher” on her.
–second feature from Batman Vol. 2 #19-20 (“GHOST LIGHTS”)
Batman investigates the outside of a building containing a supposed supernatural mass murder. Superman joins him in an attempt to discuss the death of Damian, but Batman doesn’t want to address it at all. (Batman has successfully avoided Superman since Damian’s death). Batman and Superman enter the building, which resonates with such intense supernatural vibes, Superman gets dizzy and suffers sever nausea. In a back room, our heroes come across what is obviously an occult ritual gone terribly wrong, as bodies litter the floor surrounding a pentagram and arcane symbols etched into the floor. After chatting with a ghost, Batman and Superman come face to face with the horrific supernatural being known as the Will o’ the Wisp. The Will o’ the Wisp is a demonic creature known as a Soul Eater, which literally eats souls. Soul Eaters were featured in a few Modern Age Batman stories, but this is the first appearance of one in the New Age. While Superman fights a losing battle against the Will o’ the Wisp, Batman chats with the ghost and learns how to send the Soul Eater back to the realm from whence it came. Just as Superman is about to get consumed, Batman completes the exorcism ritual and makes the ghouls disappear. Batman thanks Superman for his compassion in regard to Damian, but says he’s not ready to talk about it. The do then departs to complete the Dark Knight’s routine patrol together.
–Justice League Vol. 2 #18-20
The Justice League decides to have a recruitment drive aboard the Watchtower. The invitees are Nightwing, Black Canary, Black Lightning, Blue Devil (Daniel Patrick Cassidy), Element Woman, Firestorm, Goldrush, Platinum, Vixen, Zatanna, and the Atom. Despite attending, Nightwing tells Batman that he doesn’t want to be on the team. Everything is going fine until Platinum, Dr. Will Magnus’ first test model warrior android (in a series called the Metal Men), goes berserk and starts attacking. The combined might of the collected heroes stops Platinum. Afterward, the JL chooses Element Woman, the Atom, and Firestorm as its three newest members! However, the celebratory atmosphere quickly fades as Cyborg reveals that, while Platinum was raging, someone hacked into the Watchtower’s computer system and stole the team’s entire five-year history case files. For anyone wondering, the team has been together for longer than that, but it’s been only five years since the team moved into the Watchtower and became more secretive. Later, in Gotham, Alfred shares a cry with Jason Todd in the Batcave as they talk about Damian. In the middle of their conversation, a mysterious ninja-like masked figure breaks into the cave, subdues both men, and accesses the secret vault via retinal and fingerprint scan. Inside the vault, the mystery man steals some Kryptonite from Superman’s “emergency weakness briefcase.” Meanwhile, as the JL rookies get stood up by the rest of the team aboard the Watchtower, Superman and Wonder Woman illegally travel into the civil-wartorn Middle Eastern nation of Khandaq to rescue some hostages being held by the Sons of Adam (a terrorist group linked to Black Adam). Back in Gotham, Batman, Cyborg, and Aquaman search the Batcave in an attempt to find out who broke in, but they come up empty. Across the Atlantic, Superman and Wonder Woman’s actions are covered by the media, not only nearly sparking an international incident between Khandaq and the US, but also giving the JL another PR black eye. Cyborg booms Batman to Khandaq, who scolds the Big Two for both their militaristic intervention and their developing sexual relationship. Batman also confesses to Wonder Woman that he’s been keeping stuff that could be used against the team, including the Kryptonite, which he also tells her has been stolen. Back aboard the Watchtower, Despero returns with the Kryptonite ring on his finger! The Atom, Firestorm, and Element Woman get the crap kicked out of them by Despero, who causes the Watchtower to plummet towards Earth. Martian Manhunter shows up and easily takes down Despero, but tells Atom, who is the only one who sees him, to deny his ever being there. The Watchtower crashes in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. The JL convenes there and decides to make their new HQ in a nearby cave. The Kryptonite ring is recovered, but a microscopic sliver is missing. Everyone worries and wonders about who stole the Kryptonite—obviously someone who knows Batman’s secret ID. In the Batcave vault, Batman shows Superman his “emergency briefcases,” specifically Wonder Woman’s, which is empty. Batman explains that Superman is Wonder Woman’s only weakness. Batman then gives Superman a mystery “emergency Batman briefcase,” saying only to open it if he loses control and must be taken down. Later, the Atom reports secret details about the JL to Amanda Waller and Steve Trevor. She’s a mole planted on the JL by the Justice League of America! The JLA is a publicly-endorsed US government team directed by Amanda Waller and Steve Trevor. In addition to Trevor, the JLA features an active lineup of Martian Manhunter, Katana, Simon Baz, Vibe, Stargirl, Hawkman, Green Arrow, and Catwoman (the team’s lone secret member). Waller has designed this group to act as an anti-Justice League and plans on warring with the JL in the near future.
–Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #19-20
College student Carrie Kelley (her first ever appearance in any mainstream continuity!) pops by Wayne Manor looking for Damian. Bruce visits her at school, learning that Damian had been friends with her for some time. He had been taking acting lessons, playing video games, and getting burned copies of classic TV and movies from Carrie for three months. The next day, Batman apprehends Frankenstein, who works for the secret government peacekeeping agency known as SHADE (Super-Human Advanced Defense Executive). Batman steals Frankenstein away to his castle near the North Pole, hoping that the original re-animated man can somehow help him re-animate Damian! After analyzing the castle’s lab setup and preparing it for nearly a week, Batman begins his dirty business. When Frankenstein refuses to help, a crazed Batman takes him apart (literally) and begins a bizarre autopsy/experimentation, complete with cadavers that the Dark Knight has stolen from a hospital! Worried, Alfred sends Red Robin to check-up on/stop Batman. Batman argues with Red Robin and sends him away. Red Robin, seeing that the unreasonable Batman is slightly unhinged, destroys the entire lab with a hail of Teen Titan warship artillery. A pissed-off Batman simply glares at Red Robin and departs, leaving Tim to piece Frankenstein back together again. Back in Gotham, Bruce sends Carrie a check for the outstanding amount that Damian owed her (plus a lot more) for the various lessons. A couple nights later, Carrie visits Wayne Manor to find out what happened to Damian and to return the extra cash. Bruce tells her that Damian is on a several-yearlong study abroad program. Bruce also tells her to get lost. Alfred, who is much nicer, escorts her out, but offers her a job as Titus’ permanent dog-sitter! Later, Jason Todd gets the results of his final blood-workup from Alfred, certifying that there is no lingering Joker Venom in his system. Bruce then asks Jason to accompany him to Ethiopia to get revenge against some snipers who tried to collect on Talia’s bounty on Damian a few months ago. Batman and Red Hood fly to Africa and kick some serious violent ass. Red Hood gets the green light from his former mentor to use guns (non-lethally, of course), and Batman permanently cripples a few of the bad guys. Batman then reveals the truth behind the mission, taking Jason to the exact spot where he died. A crazed Batman orders Jason to tell him the details behind his resurrection, but Jason refuses and they have a good ol’ fashioned slugfest. The weary and overly-emotional Batman unmasks and takes a few heavy shots to the face. Jason, disgusted, leaves poor Batman standing in the desert, alone and bloody. Elsewhere, Two-Face (I think?) flips his coin. Not sure what that’s about. Tomasi is really capturing a tortured side of Bruce that we’ve never seen before. With Batman Inc presumably axed (except maybe overseas), Nightwing set to depart for Chicago, Batgirl and Red Robin more distant than ever, Red Hood acting like Red Hood, and Damian dead, Bruce truly has lost his Family, and it’s really hurting him deeply.
–NOTE: Batman starts re-examining corpses of Victor Zsasz’s cold case John Doe/Jane Doe victims in an effort to “make sure nobody is forgotten” (as referenced in Detective Comics Vol. 2 #19). It’s no surprise that Batman would be so keen on finding closure for these victims so shortly after the death of his own son.
–Detective Comics Vol. 2 #19-20
A man-bat virus hits Gotham, turning hundreds of normal citizens into ravenous man-bats. Batman, decides not to contact the Bat Family (because things are rocky in the fam in light of “Death of the the Family” and Damian’s recent death). Plus, after a little more than a week of tying up loose ends in Gotham, Nightwing is on his way to Chicago anyway. Batman takes down a bunch of man-bats, including GCPD Officer Hector Melendez, and then finds the cause of the contagion, a man-bat version of Victor Zsasz, who was tricked into unleashing the man-bat serum by Emperor Penguin. Batman takes down man-bat Zsasz and receives some help from Batwoman, which is surprising considering how they left each other in the recent Batwoman #18. Kirk Langstrom and Francine Langstrom then show up, explaining that they created the Man-Bat Serum, but it was stolen years ago (first by Talia Al Ghul to make her ninja man-bat army, and then by Anya Volkova, who delivered it to Emperor Penguin, who tricked Zsasz into using it now). Since the virus is DNA specific and an airborne pathogen, Kirk reverses the man-bat disease the only way he knows how, by switching the pathogen to effect only his DNA. Everyone in Gotham is cured, but Kirk becomes a man-bat, possibly permanently. Kirk had previously created an aerosol antidote for his Man-Bat Serum (as referenced in Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #10), but we must assume it is ineffective against this new strain. As Zsasz is hauled back to Arkham, he tells Batman about Emperor Penguin. Batman then swings into the night and its business as usual, beating up hoods. Meanwhile, Francine decides to take the man-bat serum as well! Elsewhere, Emperor Penguin collects on a big haul, having used the chaos created by the outbreak to rob Gotham blind. Emperor Penguin’s lieutenant, Mr. Combustible, acting as a mole, meets with Penguin in Blackgate and fills him in on every move that Ogilvy has made thus far. Penguin, hoping to get out of jail early, orders Combustible to threaten the judge presiding over his trial, which begins in the morning. Sure enough, the judge drops all charges against Penguin, who walks free. After shaking down Mr. Mosaic, Batman goes after Ogilvy, crashing onto his property with the Tumbler (from the Nolan Batman films). But Ogilvy has a trick up his sleeve, having taken Man-Bat Serum, Venom, and a Poison Ivy-created metahuman cocktail. The hairy blue-skinned super Ogilvy beats the tar out of Batman and leaves him for dead, hanging from a tree. Penguin arrives just in time to save Batman’s life, allowing the Dark Knight to re-fight Ogilvy and bring him to justice. A few nights later, Bruce and Alfred swing by the Penguin’s child center, where Penguin has generously changed the name back to what it was intended to be: The Martha Wayne Children’s Center. Penguin chats with Bruce, saying that he doesn’t want to be a target anymore and that Bruce can keep Gotham’s adoration, while he will gladly return to the shadows of his criminal empire. Spying from high atop a building, a six-armed mystery femme-fatale, who has a history with Bruce, mutters to herself that she is in Gotham to kill some people. Meanwhile, Ogilvy winds up in Blackgate where he murders the Boss to become the top dog on the inside. Imprisoned, but triumphant, Ogilvy changes his name to “Emperor Blackgate.” Oh, and last but not least, there is a flashback section of ‘tec #19 that details Bane (!) as he trains an army with the intention of warring with the Court of Owls. This sequence occurs a few months ago.
–FLASHBACK: The flashback sequence that functions as the main action of Batman Vol. 2 #19 occurs (six days prior to Clayface mimicking Bruce Wayne and framing him for a plethora of public crimes). Batman broods in the Batcave, viewing old vid recordings of Damian. Batman snaps out of his funk when he learns that his friend Brian Wade, has supposedly committed suicide. Batman investigates and runs into Wade, who attacks him and flees. Back at the Batcave, Batman tests Wade’s DNA and discovers that it is none other than Clayface, who now has evolved and has the power to not only shapeshift, but also to copy others’ DNA. The next day, Bruce meets with Lucius Fox, but it ain’t Lucius, it’s Clayface again. The evolved villain then attacks Bruce!
–Batman Vol. 2 #19-20 (“NOWHERE MAN”)
Bruce tries to fight off Clayface in the Wayne Enterprises R&D lab (even activating the GI Bat-Bots in a failed defense), but the latter replicates the former, tossing him into a Star Wars-like trash compacter with Lucius Fox. Clayface, posing as Bruce, then goes on a killing spree and robs a bank. Commish Gordon, Bullock, and the rest of the GCPD are stupefied as “Bruce” mouths-off and holds a hostage for all to see. “Bruce” then shoots Gordon square in his bulletproof vest and flees, but not before Gordon spots the Batman costume underneath his blazer. Back in the trash compacter, Lucius explains that it is used for destroying non-effective R&D weapons and tech. Bruce finds a Bat-suit that resembles the Batman Beyond costume (and that wouldn’t have been completed or cost effective for another twenty years), straps it on, and flies Lucius to safety. Snyder, by throwing this black and red Bat-costume into the mix, is very likely making some version of Batman Beyond officially canon in the future of the New Age! Batman then tells Gordon about Clayface’s new replication powers, wears his hazmat suit, and traps Clayface in a containment cell. As the police arrive, Clayface tries to tell them that Bruce is Batman. Batman fools Gordon and company, claiming that he was wearing a fiber thin skin mask containing Bruce’s DNA, which is why his DNA ostensibly matched Bruce’s DNA. Gordon is presumably convinced, but he has to have more than a sneaking suspicion that Bruce might be Batman following this affair. Clayface then replicates Damian, which causes Batman to completely flip out until Gordon calms him down. Back in the Batcave, Bruce and Alfred shed some tears while watching the footage of Damian fighting the Reaper.
Before beginning a synopsis, we should note that there is a possibility that the Batman Incorporated organization might end with the conclusion the Batman Incorporated series. If this is the case, Batman could still probably legally operate Batman Inc outside of the United States, hence the continuation of Batman Inc in Africa, South America, and parts of Europe. Moving on. Less than a week ago in Tinasha, DRC, during a fight between Batwing and Matu Ba versus Sky-Pirate, a super-villain hired by the evil billionaire Phillip Marksbury, Matu is seriously injured. As Matu lies in the hospital, clinging to life by a thread, Batwing gets revenge by expelling Marksbury’s hired assassin Dawn (Rachel Nomo) from Africa, arresting his serial killer son Ancil Marksbury, blowing up Sky-Pirate’s ship, and punching-out Marksbury himself. A few days later, Matu succumbs to his injuries. Devastated, David not only quits his job as a police officer but meets with Batman by Matu’s grave in Tinasha and quits Batman Incorporated as well! David hands over his Batwing suit and Batman wishes him well on his future endeavors. The timing couldn’t be more perfect. Back in Gotham (in the Batcave), Batman officially deputizes Luke Fox, who has been training for the last six months, as the new Batwing. (Fox was Batman’s original choice to become Batwing two years ago, but he ultimately went with David Zavimbe instead). Fox, lying to his dad (Lucius) and saying he is going on a yearlong world tour, begins his tenure as Batwing. Batwing 2.0 suits up in what very well could be a revamped version of the prototype Batman Beyond suit from Batman Vol. 2 #20—hence this arc’s placement after Batman #20 on our timeline. Fox’s first mission as Batwing is a trip to Africa to take on the robotic fire ant-themed Lady Marabunta and her army of drone soldiers. Batman guides Batwing via radio while the rookie kicks ass in his debut. In Tinasha, Batwing interrogates Marabunta (using Scarecrow’s Fear Gas no less) and learns of an illegal mining operation that funds her army. At a bizarre underground palace, Batwing comes face-to-face with even bizarrer metahuman supervillains: Shango, Qandisa, Ngai, and their leader, the part centaur-part lion man known as Lion-Mane.
–Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #16-20
April 2013. For a week straight, mass kidnappings of random people have been perpetrated by large mobs of organized criminals. Batman tries to take down one of the mobs, but the Batplane gets shot down with a bazooka. Improvising, the Dark Knight uses the downed plane as a giant roadster to save as many lives as he can. Later, Bruce meets with an upset Natalya at Wayne Manor. They discuss his inattentiveness, mysterious nature, and absence as a real partner in their relationship. Bruce can’t deny any of it, but of course cannot offer any defense. Broken-hearted, Natalya dumps Bruce for the second time. After interrogating Penguin, Batman realizes that all of the criminals have been wearing hats or wigs. They have all been mind-controlled by Mad Hatter! Batman does some “bata-mining” and learns that Mad Hatter has purchased a bunch of corporations and has been using them to fund businesses, events, and stores, from which he literally steals and brainwashes his victims. Batman rescues a boy from Mad Hatter’s Pediatric Hospital fair and thinks he’s located the villain’s hideout, but Mad Hatter is hidden safely away in an underground abandoned missile silo. After shaking down Tweedle-Dee, Batman locates a factory belonging to Mad Hatter and beats up a bunch of his brainwashed soldiers there before taking a lead pipe shot from the a drugged-up Hatter himself, who immediately flees. After an unsavory conversation with Catwoman, who inquires about his sex life and steals a hubcap off the Batmobile. Across town, Mad Hatter, searching for his perfect Alice, brutally kills his old unrequited love from back in high school, along with a dozen other blondes that just don’t make the cut. Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce thinks about his life and decides to make a huge decision: He visits Natalya and spills the beans about his life as Batman! Natalya is cool with it and pretty much moves into Wayne Manor! Love is in the air, but so is terror as Mad Hatter murders several hundred people in a single night. Mad Hatter also targets Natalya to be his “Alice” when one of his mind-controlled minions reports seeing Batman showing a little TLC to her before a piano performance. Batman continues to search for Mad Hatter, pausing momentarily to take stock of his life, now in a healthy loving relationship with Natalya, but still reeling from the death of Damian. Bruce tells Alfred that he may consider hanging up his crime-fighting boots for good. But before further contemplation can occur, Mad Hatter kidnaps Natalya and ruthlessly tries to beat the secret identity of Batman out of her. Natalya, bloodied and bruised, remains stalwart and refuses to spill the beans. For her courage, Mad Hatter throws Natalya out of a helicopter and into the proverbial fridge, where so many female characters wind up these days. Natalya crashes to her graphically violent death, right into the Batsignal atop the GCPD HQ, and also right before Batman’s very eyes as he arrives a second too late to save her.
-  COLLIN COLSHER: The flashback from the second feature of Detective Comics Vol. 2 #13 shows Penguin’s number one henchman, Ogilvy, as he does prep work for the upcoming robberies that will distract Batman later in the week. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER: Nightwing Vol. 3 #18 tells us that Damian’s death (in the upcoming Batman Inc Vol. 2 #8) occurs roughly two weeks after “Death of the Family” ends. It is my firm belief that “Death of the Family” opens 2013 (and doesn’t occur earlier) for a few reasons. First, having “Death of the Family” open the new year allows the entire late December Scarecrow arc from Dark Knight #10-15 to fit uninterrupted and contradictory-free right where it belongs at the conclusion of 2012. Second, having “Death of the Family” open the new year allows it to dovetail more smoothly with Batman Inc #1-8, which is clearly what DC editorial wants. Furthermore, any subtle hints within Scott Snyder’s text that insinuate that “Death of the Family” should take place earlier can be explained or negated. Snyder tells us it’s been a little over a year since Joker’s disappearance—it has been a little over thirteen months since Joker’s disappearance, so there’s nothing wrong there. But how do we explain the opening lines of “Death of the Family” where Gordon talks about omens, including the “early snows blocking [the river's] mouth”? Well, Gordon is talking about hindsight and is referencing recent history. However, Gordon could be talking about a day ago, a week ago, or even a month ago. I know “early snows” implies pre-winter, but it could also mean winter proper i.e. late December or early January, which could actually make sense here. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER: Harley Quinn has been forced to play this role by Joker (as depicted in Suicide Squad Vol. 4 #14). Joker also breaks Dick’s former lover Raya Vestri out of Blackgate and holds her hostage (as seen in the conclusion of Nightwing Vol. 3 #14). The kidnapping of Raya occurs shortly before the upcoming kidnapping of Alfred. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER: Batman #14 cuts off here and is split into two parts in order to give room for the events of Batman & Robin #13-14 and Detective Comics #14-15. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER: Damian specifically says something about Joker’s “recent attack on the GCPD.” The attack was, of course, definitely more than recent. It was a night prior. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER: Bruce, at this point, has opted not to tell anyone about Alfred’s abduction yet. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER: Batman & Robin #13-14 take place after Batman #13. The Joker is on the loose and has kidnapped Alfred. Batman knows about Alfred’s kidnapping, but hasn’t told anyone about it. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER: As was pointed out to me by contributor LISONBEE, an actual solar eclipse occurred on November 13, 2012. This would have provided a specific date for “Death of the Family” had the arc taken place in November. As mentioned above, however, we must be in January. We should always remember that real-life events that happen in our reality don’t necessarily coincide with what goes on in the fictional DCU. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER: Detective Comics Vol. 2 #14 takes place after Batman #13. The Joker is on the loose and has kidnapped Alfred. Batman knows about Alfred’s kidnapping, but still hasn’t told anyone about it. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER:While not that important, I noticed that in the second feature to Detective Comics #14 we seem Roman Sionis behind bars wearing what looks like his signature skull mask. Obviously, he would never be allowed to wear his powerful magick mask. Not to mention, his mask is currently in an evidence locker at GCPD HQ. This must be a fake mask that the docs at Arkham are allowing him to wear in an effort to keep him calm. Also, the sumo wrestler in the cell next to him named “Sumo”—who? ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER: It’s been “a few days” since Joker’s return (like two days to be exact). While Batman deals with the League of Smiles in Detective Comics Vol. 2 #16-17, Joker abducts Red Hood and Red Robin (as seen in Red Hood & The Outlaws #14-16, the conclusion to Teen Titans Vol. 4 #14, and Teen Titans Vol. 4 #15-16). Joker also abducts Batgirl, Nightwing, and Robin as well (in Batgirl Vol. 4 #14-16, Nightwing Vol. 3 #15-16, and Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #15-16). Thus, these abductions must take place following the main action of Batman Vol. 2 #15, but before Batman arrives at Arkham at the issue’s conclusion. ↩
-  DCJOKERZ17: Detective Comics Vol. 2 #16-17 must be after Batman Vol. 2 #14-15 since, in the morgue, Bullock refernces Gordon’s “beat-down” from Batman #14. These issues take place next to (simultaneous with) the other tie-ins where the Bat-Family gets abducted, such as Teen Titans or Batgirl. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER: The epilogue to Detective Comics Vol. 2 #17, which features Ingatius Ogilvy declaring his ultimate control over Penguin’s criminal empire, takes place after the main action of Batman Vol. 2 #15. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER: During the huge battle scene Wingman seems as if it is his first time seeing Redbird ever. However, thanks to the reference in Red Hood & The Outlaws #17, this cannot be their first interaction as Wingman and Redbird. Thus, the way Wingman reacts must simply be because he didn’t expect Damian to be there in any capacity. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER: There’s been a lot of Internet rumbling about how anyone who dies can simply be revived in a Lazarus Pit. First of all, Batman Inc #9 tells us there are supposedly no active Lazarus Pits left (although it hints at at least one hidden one). But beyond that, I think people forget that the Lazarus Pit makes you insane. Let’s take a look at what we know about the Lazarus Pits (as gleaned from the Modern Age). Ra’s Al Ghul has used the Lazarus Pit to prolong his life for ages, and he’s pretty psychotic (even for someone who has probably built up a tolerance). When we have seen him emerge from the Pit, Ra’s Al Ghul is particularly unhinged. Take Jason Todd, for example. Jason was always a bad dude, but he was over-the-top evil for years after taking a dip in the Pit. Nora Fries (Mr. Freeze’s wife) was revived in a Pit once and emerged as a violent crazed metahuman monster. Likewise, as proof that the Pits tend to revert you back to your original state, Joker was put in a Pit and came out temporarily sane! Bane had a similar experience with the Pit as well, becoming extremely benevolent and honorable afterward. If Damian were to be submerged in the Pit, I suspect that Batman knows it would have unhealthy and dire consequences for his son that might not be worth it. Sure he’d be alive, but his more carnal aspects—aspects cultivated by murderous ninja training—would probably be the prevalent traits expressed, trumping or even erasing all the “good” within him. Bruce, in the Modern Age, was also confronted with the prospect of his parents being revived via the Pit, but fought tooth-and-nail to prevent it from happening. I can’t imagine his opinion on the matter would change in regard to his son. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER: A notable difference about Kirk Langstrom’s debut from previous continuities: Langstrom is no longer the first person to become a man-bat. A few years ago, while Kirk and Francine Langstrom were perfecting their “atavistic gene recall serum,” which is meant to cure deafness, several test subjects turned into man-bats (as we learn via flashback in Detective Comics #19). Talia then stole the Langstrom formula and forced her soldiers to overdose, thus creating ninja man-bats next. As we see in ‘tec #19, which is the New Age debut of Kirk and Francine Langstrom, the outbreak that occurs in Gotham is the third wave of man-bats. Thus, Kirk is far from the original man-bat anymore. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER / DIEGO: The Bane section of ‘tec #19 supposedly occurs less than a year removed from Bane’s last encounter with Batman (in Dark Knight #7), which places it not now, but a few months prior to ‘tec #19, which is absolutely fine. What isn’t fine in ‘tec #19 is a seemingly glaring continuity error where we are ostensibly told that the “Night of Owls” (which happens to include the tie-in issue of Dark Knight #9) occurs before Dark Knight #7. This is impossible. Via flashback, we learn that Bane was en route to enact the same vile plan his Tom Hardy counterpart unleashes upon Gotham in the film Dark Knight Rises, but a bunch of Talons stop him claiming that “a night of owls is about to descend.” Here’s a stretch: Maybe the Talons, since they use the ambiguous “a” instead of “the” are referencing that a big Court of Owls strike is coming soon, meaning within the next few months instead of right away. Like I said, it’s a stretch, but you have to be pretty limber when it comes to botched editorial stuff in the New 52. ↩
-  COLLIN COLSHER: April 2013. Baseball season has begun. (One could also argue that it’s March and MLB is still in Spring League pre-season, but I’d lean toward April). ↩