(January 2014 to June 2014)
Let’s get caught up to speed. 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 was seriously injured. As Matu lay in the hospital, clinging to life by a thread, Batwing got 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 succumbed to his injuries. Cut to now. Devastated, David Zavimbe not only quits his job as a police officer but also meets with Batman by Matu’s grave in Tinasha to tender his resignation from Batman Incorporated. (Remember, at this point, Batman Inc is still under Batman’s control, but is being secretly run by Casey Washington.) David hands over his Batwing suit and Batman wishes him well on his future endeavors. The timing couldn’t be more propitious. Luke Fox has already been training to become a new Bat-Family member for the past five months with Tsunemoto and Chu Chin Li. Since Luke was Batman’s original choice to become Batwing, he is the perfect replacement for Zavimbe! Luke’s training will continue for one more month before he is officially sworn in.
–FLASHBACK: From Batwing #20. Mid January—supposedly around one month prior to Batwing #20. David Zavimbe has just quit as Batwing. In the Batcave, Batman officially deputizes Luke Fox, who has been training for around five months now, as the new Batwing.
–REFERENCE: In Batwing #24. Batman takes Luke Fox to Bat Bunker 3 and gives him his Batwing costume.
–REFERENCE: In Superman Unchained #1. Evil media mogul and owner of the Daily Planet Morgan Edge sends Jimmy Olsen to snap a paparazzi photo of a shirtless Bruce Wayne working out at a Gotham hotel. Bruce sends Jimmy packing immediately.
–REFERENCE: In Superman Unchained #1-2. Superman, having recently discovered that a person with super-powers may have been responsible for downing a US spy satellite (after finding a metal panel with a hand-print burned into it), drops off the handprinted panel with Bruce at the Batcave so that the Dark Detective can analyze it.
–the second feature to Superman Unchained #2
Batman, via the strained uncomfortable behavior of the bats in the Batcave, senses that Superman is on his way back to the Batcave—(it’s been two days since Superman dropped off the handprint-damaged satellite panel). Bruce decides to surprise Superman by putting on his newest anti-Superman failsafe: A Bat-suit that is completely invisible to the Man of Steel. (Bruce has spent a few years perfecting this baby.)
–Superman Unchained #2
Clark, having just fought the “terrorist organization” known as Ascension, which had unleashed a stolen construction mech upon Dubai, returns to the Batcave. There, Batman shows off the new Bat-suit that is completely invisible to the Man of Steel. Batman also discusses the rise of Ascension before telling Clark the results of his satellite panel findings. Whoever took down the satellite is a immensely powerful solar-powered being and this mystery person actually did Clark a favor by destroying the satellite because Ascension was about to take control of the satellite. After following Bruce’s lead to Utah, Superman comes face-to-face with Lois Lane’s asshole dad, US Army General Sam Lane. There, a seventy-five-year-old super-powered warrior with beefy musculature (the creator of the satellite handprint) emerges from a secret underground Army base. This guy, called WRAITH, is the big secret of the New 52—a government-sponsored super-power that predates all others on Planet Earth (besides a select few, including the Anchoress and Court of Owls Talons, which, of course, are also Scott Snyder creations). Superman Unchained #5 gives us a bit more backstory about WRAITH. WRAITH is actually an alien being that first made contact with the US Government in 1938. The aliens delivered WRAITH along with a geological mathematical equation that would allow for great technological military advancement. WRAITH and the equation have been kept secret and been controlled by the secret military branch known as “The Machine” since first contact in 1938. Sam Lane now heads the Machine and commands WRAITH, although the alien equation was deliberately jumbled up by the Machine’s original founder, who was fearful of what it might do.
–REFERENCE: In Superman Unchained #6. Superman commissions Batman to create a synthetic mineral that can be used as a “Kryptonite” against WRAITH. Batman begins working on it, based upon WRAITH’s energy signature.
–Superman Unchained #5-7
Mere days have passed since Superman Unchained #2. Lois Lane has been kidnapped by Ascension. While Superman and WRAITH look for her, the leader of Ascension, Jonathan Rudolph, explains the history of WRAITH and the Machine to Lois deep beneath the Atlantic Ocean in a submarine. Rudolph, grandson of the original founder of the Machine, reveals a giant cache of Earthstone, the culmination of scientific application of the geological mathematical equation given to the US Government by aliens in 1938. Rudolph has unscrambled the mixed-up equation to create the Earthstone crystals, which can be used to control almost any technology on the planet. Meanwhile, Superman allows WRAITH into the Fortress of Solitude. There, Batman secretly sends Superman the data needed for the anti-WRAITH mineral. WRAITH betrays Superman and demands that he, like him, serve the US Army. But before a fight can break out, Batman and Wonder Woman alert Superman—from a Watchtower video feed—that Ascension has launched every single high-alert nuclear missile on Earth. By tracing the energy signature of the Earthstone used to launch the missiles, Batman locates Ascension and sends Superman there. Batman also contacts Green Lantern for help as well. At the Atlantic Ocean HQ of Ascension, Superman rescues Lois and takes a piece of Earthstone, which prompts Rudolph to blow everything in his base to smithereens. Superman is able to use the Earthstone sliver to destroy every nuke safely. When WRAITH comes to collect the crystal, Superman refuses and a brawl breaks out. Superman uses Batman’s anti-WRAITH mineral weapon to subdue the beastly warrior. Superman then invites Lois back to the Fortress of Solitude for the first time ever (!) and they examine the Earthstone, which seems to emit very strange vibrations. But before further analysis can be undertaken, General Sam Lane and his Machine unit launch a government-backed US Army strike on the Fortress of Solitude. Meanwhile, Batman teleports back to the Batcave to find an angry WRAITH waiting for him. Batman slips on his anti-Superman suit and begins fighting WRAITH. Wonder Woman comes to help Batman. During the epic brouhaha every single Bat-vehicle is destroyed, the Bat-computer is damaged, and Batman’s T. Rex and penny trophies are wrecked. Meanwhile, in the Arctic, Sam Lane and his troops level half the Fortress of Solitude, prompting Superman to don medieval-looking Kryptonian armor to battle them. Lois uses the Earthstone to help Superman claim victory. The Man of Steel then rushes to assist Batman and Wonder Woman in Gotham, grabbing WRAITH and tossing him to a remote location in the Gobi Desert to fight one-on-one.
–Superman Unchained #9
Superman, having just defeated WRAITH, regroups with Sam Lane, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen near the ruins of the Fortress of Solitude. A hologram video feed of Lex Luthor appears and explains that an armada of alien spaceships piloted by WRAITH’s brethren, are en route to conquer Earth. Luthor, via a secret implant he had previously put into Jimmy, provides a solar syringe, which Superman can inject himself with, turning himself into a massive suicide bomb with enough power to blow up the whole armada. Batman reports in, citing that the space armada has sent an energy wave across the planet, neutralizing all global defense systems. Superman says goodbye to Lois and bolts into the stratosphere. In Earth’s orbit, Superman is blitzed with alien space rays, nearly getting killed in the process as the solar syringe floats out from his hand. All looks bleak when all of a sudden WRAITH, having found respect for Superman, arrives, injects himself, and sacrifices his own life to destroy his invading kin. A beat-up Superman then recaptures Luthor and puts him back in jail.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Eternal #22. Batman repairs the giant penny and his Tyrannosaurus Rex, both of which were damaged by WRAITH.
–Harley Quinn – Valentine’s Day Special #1
February 13-14. Batman captures the head of the Empire Street Gang and returns home for dinner at 2 AM. Alfred reminds him that he is being auctioned-off (the winning bidder gets a date) for a special charity event regarding the Wayne Foundation building an animal shelter in New York City. Harley Quinn, having recently straightened-out her life and moved to Brooklyn, NY to become an anti-hero of sorts, hears about the big auction on the news and discusses it with her roommates Big Tony Delfini and Egg Fu (Edgar Fullerton Yueng). Bruce’s visit inspires her to plan an assault on a fake Bernie Madoff Wall Street type named Barney Runoff. After a night’s sleep, which includes a bizarre dream where Harley is married to Bruce, she awakes refreshed and ready for action. Harley and Tony rough up Runoff in Brooklyn Heights and force him to give his dirty 1%er money back to the poor folks that deserve it (although they keep a million in cash for themselves). Social justice! Later that night, Harley dolls up and attends the Wayne Foundation charity event at Lincoln Center. Harley bids Runoff’s million to win a date with Bruce! But before they can leave the building, costumed animal rights activists The Carp and Sea Robin break-in and hold everyone up with a taser net gun and a puffer fish slime gun. Bruce gets knocked-out and has a nightmare where he and Harley are not only a couple, but they are also the new Dynamic Duo! Bruce wakes up, thankful it was only a dream, only to find himself tied-up by the Carp and Sea Robin at the Coney Island Aquarium. The villains demand five million dollars in exchange for his safety. Meanwhile, Poison Ivy helps Harley locate Bruce. At the Aquarium, the Carp tells Bruce he needs the money to help animals. Bruce replies by telling the Carp he will personally fund the Carp’s animal rights project and use Wayne Foundation’s own legal team to get any criminal charges lightened. Harley busts in, gasses the entire room, wallops the Carp and Sea Robin, and rescues Bruce. Later, Bruce goes on his date with Harley, who tells him about her new crime-free life in New York, (relatively crime-free, anyway). As their date comes to an end, Harley makes out with Bruce! An hour later, Batman arrives at Harley’s Coney Island residence and thanks her for saving his “friend” Bruce. Harley makes-out with Batman and then tells him that Bruce is a better kisser!
It’s been one month since Luke Fox was officially deputized as the new Batwing, but he still hasn’t seen any action. Until now. Luke, having lied to his dad (Lucius), saying he was going on a yearlong world tour, now begins his in-costume tenure as Batwing. Luke’s first mission as Batwing 2.0 is a trip to Africa to take on The Marabunta, an army secretly hired by Charlie Caligula, complete with robotic fire ant-themed queens and tons of ant drone soldiers. Batman guides Batwing via radio while the rookie kicks ass in his debut. In Tinasha, Batwing interrogates Lady Marabunta (using Scarecrow’s Fear Gas no less) and learns of an illegal diamond mining operation that funds the Marabunta army. At a bizarre underground palace, Batwing comes face-to-face with even more bizarre metahuman super-villains: Shango, Qandisa, Ngai, and their leader, the part centaur-part lion man known as Lion-Mane. Batwing defeats Lion-Mane and returns home to Gotham.
–FLASHBACK: From Batwing #22. Immediately after Batwing’s defeat of Lion-Mane, Bruce purchases the former Marabunta diamond mine in the Congo. A couple days later, Bruce visits his new purchase and is confronted by Atticus Fontaine, a representative of the evil multi-billion dollar diamond corporation called Seclorum. Fontaine attempts to buy the mine from Bruce, but Bruce denies him. Seclorum is secretly owned by Italian crime boss Charlie Caligula.
–All Star Western #22, Part 1
Booster Gold has been lost in time ever since JLI Annual #1. When he winds up in 1880s, Booster meets former Confederate soldier turned bounty hunter Jonah Hex. During an adventure together, Hex gets blasted to 2013 and winds up behind Arkham bars. After hearing Hex’s story, which involves details about Bruce Wayne’s ancestors Alan Wayne and Katherine Wayne, Jeremiah Arkham visits Bruce and has a chat with him. That afternoon, Batman and Alfred check up on Hex’s story and it turns out to be true. Later that night, Hex breaks out of the asylum and takes Jeremiah as a hostage. Meanwhile, Batman visits Aaron Cash at Arkham Asylum and tells him to give him a little time to take care of the situation. Batman, however, will have to hold off on this case because, as we learn in the second half of this very issue, Lucius Fox gets kidnapped by the Marabunta (which will happen in the next two bullets).
–Batwing #21, Epilogue
Three days after Bruce’s visit to the Congo, Batman contacts Luke while the latter is chilling at home with his family. The Dark Knight warns him that the Marabunta are in Gotham and are coming for revenge!
February—according to Luke’s cellphone, this arc supposedly takes place on October 5-7, which is way, way off. In order to have enough room for other stories that follow and to synch-up properly with other stories, this arc must occur in February. The Marabunta kidnaps Lucius Fox because of his link to Batman. Against his boss’ wishes, Luke suits up as Batwing and assists Batman in a rescue attempt. They locate Lucius in a ship in Gotham Harbor. There, the Marabunta unleash a giant red ant mech upon the heroes while they try to suck Lucius’ brain dry with a biosynthetic computer that looks like something out of eXistenZ. Batman and Batwing easily defeat the Marabunta and rescue Lucius. Later, Luke has to hold his tongue as he gets chewed out by his entire family (mom Tanya Fox and sisters Tiff Fox and Tam Fox) for “running away” during the attack. Things then get worse for Luke—first, his girlfriend Zena Zlenko dumps him, and then, Lady Vic bombs Wayne Tower and attacks him on behalf of Charlie Caligula. Batwing manages to escape fatality at the hands of Lady Vic, but his suit is badly damaged. Back at his apartment, Luke finds Zena waiting for him—her father has died and the grief-stricken gal has changed her mind and wants to be back together again. Luke radios Batman to let him know about Lady Vic. They chat while the Dark Knight takes down the super-villain group known as Crime Nouveau at the Gotham Modern Art Museum. Batman orders Luke to go to Bat Bunker 3, which holds various technological marvels and advanced weaponry, including the unfinished Batman Beyond suit (likely the one we’ve seen before in Batman #20). There, Luke builds a brand new Batwing suit and uses it to fight Lady Vic. Using Fear Gas (again!), Batwing defeats Vic and finds out she and the Marabunta were hired by Charlie Caligula, who owns Seclorum. Batman orders Batwing to head to Caligula’s base of operations in Rome. Once there, Batwing is to team-up with Legionary (Pippi Giovanni) to take down Caligula. (Batwing and Legionary will easily defeat Caligula.)
–All Star Western #23
The bulk of this issue overlaps completely with the previous Batwing #23-24, but here’s what went down. After two days on the road with Jonah Hex, Jeremiah Arkham came to fully believe that Hex is from the past. By shacking up with the progressively sex-positive and über sexual Gina Green, Hex learned all about the “nihilistic terror generation,” global climate change, the world economy being on the brink of collapse, LGBT rights, and more. Gina’s roommate even tried to put the moves on an uptight Dr. Arkham. This here is an interestingly bizarre but strong issue by Jimmy Palmiotti, I’ll tell ya that. The foursome wound up driving a mini-van across multiple state lines into somewhere in the South where they got into the middle of an ugly scene—a crazed divorcee shot guns at a breast cancer cure rally. Hex said “to hell with keeping a low profile,” borrowed a gun from a shop, and blew the dude to kingdom come—an act that quickly landed Hex back behind bars. Cut to now. Things don’t look good for Hex until Bruce Wayne arrives with an expensive crack legal team (Mr. Shapiro and Miss Evans) to defend him!
–All Star Western #24, Part 1
Bruce and his crack legal team of Shapiro and Evans have the charges against Jonah Hex formally dropped in front of a judge, citing Hex as an “authentic” time-traveler and a hero. Afterward, Hex tells Bruce that Bruce’s 19th century ancestors fought the Court of Owls and that he (Hex) once saved Bruce’s great-great grandmother Katherine Wayne from Vandal Savage. Hex walks free, but is trapped in the 21st century. Bruce and Jeremiah Arkham return to Gotham together.
–Batman: Joker’s Daughter #1
This issue takes place immediately following the recently occurring Batman-less Catwoman Vol. 4 #26. In this issue, an Arkham orderly states that “Death of the Family” happened “a few months ago.” Eh, that depends on your definition of “a few.” “Death of the Family” happened over nine months ago. Our tale starts with Joker’s Daughter, a homicidal teenager that has found Joker’s sliced-off face and wears it as a tribute to her “father.” JD recently ruled (for a short time) a large chunk of Gotham’s Underworld—a vast system of labyrinthian tunnels and underground sci-fi structures that exist deep below Gotham. This Underworld is constantly warred-over by rival post-apocalyptic gangs and bizarre super-villains. Now obsessed with locating her “father,” JD sets a school bus on fire to lure out Batman. Instead, Batman lures JD to the exact spot where Joker fell down a waterfall during “Death of the Family,” not far from the Batcave. After an unsuccessful attempt to talk some sense to the crazy-pants gal, Batman turns her over to the GCPD. However, JD escapes custody and busts into Arkham looking for answers about Joker’s whereabouts. There, JD fights both Mahreen and Eric Border (SPOILER: Border is actually a disguised Joker) and then kills an orderly named Roger. The intervention of the Anchoress is the only thing that sends JD running. JD visits Dollmaker and gets him to surgically graft Joker’s old face onto her face! He also gives her a vial of Joker’s blood, which she injects into her body. Later, in an abandoned house outside of Gotham, JD (and her pet kitty named Ugly Cat) get a purple note delivered that says, “Hello beautiful.” Could it really be from the Joker? Likely so, since Joker would have just met her (and been impressed) while disguised as Eric Border.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics Vol. 2 #26 and Detective Comics Vol. 2 #27, Part 6. Early March. Scarecrow now kicks into gear a plan that has been secretly months in the works. A while back, Scarecrow unleashed a new strain of chemicals upon the entire city of Gotham. These chemicals, which have been taking effect slowly over the course of the past few months, now finally kick-in hard and cause a majority of Gotham’s populace to fall into an insane drug-induced hallucination where the city begins to take on the feel and look of a shining utopia. Crime rates have legitimately gone down nearly 90% ever since Scarecrow started dosing the city with drugs months ago, slowly morphing person by person into mindless zombies. This may seem like a good thing, but in reality Scarecrow is altering the entire city’s perception and collective consciousness with the ultimate goal of taking complete control. With his own consciousness now altered, Batman comes to truly believe that Gotham is the safest city in America thanks mostly to his own actions as a savior. As an editor’s tagline states, Batman and the mass populace of the city believe that “Gotham has always been this way.” Not only that, in his clouded and drugged stupor, Batman unmasks and reveals himself as Bruce Wayne to Catwoman, inviting her into the Batcave and Wayne Manor. Batman makes Catwoman his new sidekick, giving her a new costume and dubbing her “Catbird.” Bear in mind that the Catbird costume is merely a part of the illusion—she is still wearing her Catwoman digs in reality. The world of “Gothtopia” hasn’t fully emerged, but it will blanket everything in a few short days.
–the second feature to Detective Comics Vol. 2 #25
Early March. After a grisly murder underneath the New Trigate Bridge, Officer Wallace notices a sweaty and unnerved Kirk Langstrom among the onlookers that have gathered at the crime scene. Langstrom rambles about how his wife has killed yet again before morphing into a man-bat, clawing Officer Henry Wallace’s face, and flying away. Later, Officer Wallace and Commissioner Gordon activate the Bat Signal, which Batman immediately responds to.
–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics Vol. 2 #26. Early March. Coming straight from where the second feature to Detective Comics Vol. 2 #25 left off, Commissioner Gordon fills in Batman on the details about the bat-murder under the New Trigate Bridge.
–Detective Comics Vol. 2 #26
Early March. A day after the bat-murder under the New Trigate Bridge, Batman chats with Commissioner Gordon (via morgue holographic projector) about some fresh new bat-murders. The new killings are similar to the New Trigate Bridge murder, but appear as though a swarm of bats tore the flesh off of the victims. Three hours later, Batman has tracked down Kirk Langstrom (in man-bat form) and confronts the winged beast. Using ultra-low sound frequencies and pheromone capsules, Batman turns Kirk back into human form. Kirk tells Batman that both he and his wife Francine can turn into man-bat and she-bat at will. Kirk also sadly tells Batman that Francine was always a corporate spy (real name Felicity Lee) sent by her powerful boss (ED Caldwell) to court him and wed him in an effort to steal the secrets of his bat research. Batman and Kirk then go to battle Felicity in her lair using sonic wave emitters and an anti-serum that will temporarily turn her human. (Batman secretly injects the anti-serum into Kirk.) Once they arrive, Batman and Kirk come face-to-face with Felicity, who controls a giant swarm of bats and now calls herself Bat-Queen. Kirk morphs into a man-bat and bites his former wife, injecting her with the anti-serum in the process and turning her human again. Batman then hauls Felicity into Arkham and Kirk willingly turns himself in. The next morning, Bruce wakes up and an angry Catbird is upset for not bringing her along on the previous night’s action.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics Vol. 2 #27, Part 6. March. Scarecrow’s total chemical dump on Gotham fully takes effect now that it has completely permeated the city. As the entirety of Gotham, including Batman and his comrades, start to blindly believe in Scarecrow’s “reality,” Black Mask takes over as Police Commissioner, Penguin becomes the Mayor of Gotham, and Scarecrow becomes the head of Arkham Asylum. Batman dons a white costume (it merely appears white to him) and comes to believe that the authority of these villains is the normal state of things in Gotham. In fact, all the heroes of Gotham, thanks to Scarecrow’s cloud of gas and drugs, think they are different heroes that have been protecting Gotham for a long time under different monikers. Under this false status quo, Gotham’s heroes mis-believe that they have different memories and new costumed IDs. Batgirl (now “Bluebelle”), Batwoman (now “Brightbat”), Batwing (now “Flying Fox”), Calvin Rose (now “The Gothamite”), and the Birds of Prey (now “The Wings of Truth”) all fall victim to the mass delusion. For anyone wondering, the Birds of Prey team now consists of Black Canary, Condor, former Talon Strix, and part-timer Batgirl. With this new world firmly implanted in his mind as a reality that has existed for several months (or possibly always), Batman seems under the thumb of his deadliest foes. While the heroes of Gotham think that several months have passed, the effects of the mass hallucination have seriously messed with their ability to correctly gauge the passage of actual time and it has only been a week or two at most. In fact, Catwoman Vol. 4 #27 shows that it is X-mas time and a couple days later in Catwoman Vol. 4 #28 it is suddenly Valentine’s Day. Time has become a quickly-moving illusion thanks to Scarecrow. Therefore, we must ignore all topical references in “Gothtopia”—not as continuity errors, but as a part of the hallucinogenic nature of the narrative arc.
————————–Catwoman Vol. 4 #27, Part 1
————————–Detective Comics Vol. 2 #27, Part 6
————————–Detective Comics Vol. 2 #28-29
March. Even though we see a holiday parade in Catwoman #27 and there are candy canes and X-Mas trees shown, Scarecrow’s mass hallucination is messing with everyone’s conceptualization of time, speeding things up exponentially in their minds. In reality, no more than a couple weeks have passed since Batman and Catbird have become a crime-fighting couple (although they think several months have passed already). In the warped “reality” created by Scarecrow’s drug bath, our heroes also still believe that crime is virtually nonexistent in Gotham. Batman and Catbird take to the happy streets and, in-between public make-out sessions, bust some crooks amid the nearby clamor of a “holiday parade.” Selina then reports to her job at the Gotham Peace Department as a therapist. Later, Selina and Bruce have dinner. The next day, kissy kissy Batman and kissy kissy Catbird then take to the fake happy streets to fight Poison Ivy, who is immune to the effects of Scarecrow’s drugs. Despite her best efforts, Poison Ivy cannot make Batman see the truth, but does stick him with a thorn. After handing Poison Ivy over to the Black Mask-controlled GCPD and saving some citizens in trouble, Batman and Catbird join Brightbat and Bluebelle to get some awards from Mayor Cobblepot. Harvey Bullock informs Batman about a suicide attempt and Batman saves a man who claims that reality is all screwed-up. The saved man then shoots himself in the face. Back at the Batcave, Bruce muses aloud to Alfred and Selina how crime is at an all-time low but suicides are at an all-time high in Gotham. While Batman walks in the courtyard garden of Wayne Manor, Poison Ivy’s thorn takes effect and Batman realizes that things ain’t right. Later, Batman, having received an analysis of his blood, tries to convince Catbird that they have all been played, but she reacts violently, calling in the backup to restrain Batman. Rather than fight his friends (including Brightbat, Bluebelle, Flying Fox, the Gothamite, and the Wings of Truth), Batman takes a dive and winds up in a straightjacket at Arkham. Batman’s dive and his delivery to Arkham are also shown in Catwoman Vol. 4 #27, Part 2 and Birds of Prey Vol. 3 #28. Batman has come to his senses but is locked inside a Scarecrow-controlled Arkham. After a visit by a still delusional Catbird, Batman decides to take action. He escapes from his cell and takes down a few of Scarecrow’s henchmen, including Nocturna and Eduardo Flamingo. But in order to create an antidote to Scarecrow’s new Fear Gas strain, he needs help from Poison Ivy. After making-out with Poison Ivy—to get some of her delicious anti-toxins in his system—Batman teams-up with her to create the antidote. After curing everyone in Arkham, Batman and Poison Ivy take down Killer Croc. Scarecrow arrives and sics a brainwashed Calvin Rose, Catwoman, Batwoman, and Batgirl on them. The Birds of Prey (still believing themselves to be “The Wings of Truth”) also briefly join in the fight (as shown in Birds of Prey Vol. 3 #28). When Scarecrow threatens to murder Catwoman, Batman submits to another Fear Gas dosing. Unknown to Scarecrow, Batman is immune, but Batman plays along to find out more information. Scarecrow forces Batman to change into a Scarecrow-version of the Batman costume and then the Dark Knight accompanies Professor Pyg and the Merrymaker on some fear-mongering errands. OK, I can’t hold my tongue anymore. This whole time, NONE of the baddies care to find out who any of the heroes are underneath their masks? Scarecrow even makes Batman put a new costume on. Does he give him use of a private changing room? Ugh. This is one of many reasons “Gothtopia” sucks. I digress. Back to the narrative. As his first act as Scarecrow’s top henchman, Batman gets to personally choose the night’s Fear Gas victims, twelve deadbeat ex-cons he put in jail before, who from now on will each have a permanent debilitating fear of Batman. At an airfield, Scarecrow reveals his plan to spread his Fear Gas across the entire Eastern Seaboard via blimps. Thanks to some pre-planned sabotage, the Fear Gas blimps explode, releasing the antidote all over the city, ending the mass hallucination instantly. The villains are defeated and all wind up back behind bars, except for Poison Ivy, who Batman lets walk. A few days later, Catwoman meets with Batman to discuss everything. They both only have vague fleeting memories of “Gothtopia.” For instance, they both know that they were in a relationship and madly in love, but Selina doesn’t recall Batman’s secret ID anymore, nor their time spent together at Wayne Manor or in the Batcave. Batman remembers a lot more, but in order to keep things uncomplicated, he gives poor Catwoman the brush-off. Later, Batman re-apprehends Clayface.
During the haze of “Gothtopia,” Luke Fox’s sister Tamara was kidnapped by Luke’s former-friend-turned-super-villain Russell Tavaroff, who has just returned to Gotham after six years of absence and is now calling himself Menace. A day after “Gothtopia” ended, Menace (with help from Rat Catcher) also kidnapped Luke’s other sister Tiffany. Batman and Batwing search for the missing girls for a couple days in vain. Each day, Bruce must painfully discuss the case with the troubled father Lucius. Finally, Tam surfaces, but she’s been beaten and drugged up with Snakebyte. At the hospital, the Foxes and Bruce learn the terrible news—Tam has permanent severe brain damage and is basically a vegetable. A pissed-off Batwing searches the area where Tam turned up and discovers a hidden gateway into the Gotham Underground, the massive secret city that runs for miles deep beneath “Gotham Above.” There, Batwing fights both a gang led by a dude called Anubis and a colossal mutated sewer fish-monster. Batwing also frees a bunch of slaves from a forced labor camp run by the metahuman Speakerheads. Meanwhile, further above ground in the Bat Bunker, an angry Lucius Fox begs Batman for help. Batman tells him that he’s doing all he can. Back down below, Batwing disguises himself like one of the steampunk tribal dwellers of the Underground and continues searching for Tiffany. Eventually, Batwing gets in a huge fight with the Mother of Anubis and her entire tribe, known as the Children of Anubis. After defeating dozens of warriors and taking Mother hostage, Menace arrives to challenge his former friend face-to-face.
Batwing rescues his six-year-old sister Tiffany from Menace and Rat Catcher, revealing his secret ID to her in the process. Later, Batwing takes down a biker gang and meets with Batman. An angry and emotional Batwing argues with Batman about personal loss and the meaning behind their war on crime before flying off into the Gotham night.
–Nightwing Vol. 3 #30, Part 1
This item takes place about one month before the conclusion of Forever Evil. Batman visits a shaken Leslie Thompkins, who tells him that a month ago she was nearly killed by the German terrorist group known as The Fist of Cain. Luckily, she was saved by Spyral—specifically agent Helena Bertinelli—only to be drugged and interrogated about Batman, revealing many of his secrets. Batman decides it is time to check in on Spyral. He finds out that Spyral, now seemingly under new leadership (i.e. not Kathy Kane), is targeting superheroes, trying to find out their secret IDs. But Batman, unsure of what his next step should be, puts his plan to strike against Spyral on hold. (HUGE SPOILER: As learned in the amazing Grayson #8, Kathy Kane has secretly stepped back as top agent of Spyral in order to use new fake top agent, super-villain Mr. Minos, to lure Dick into the fold. Kathy knows that her absence and the appearance of Minos, who actually believes himself to be the new number one at Spyral, will force Batman to send Dick undercover. As learned in Grayson #19, unknown to all parties involved, Max Lord is actually responsible for the creation and implanting of Minos as a pawn/mole, in order to give Checkmate secret power over Spyral and to prevent the eventual return of Otto Netz.)
–Batman: The Dark Knight Vol. 2 #28-29
When a new string of man-bat murders plague Gotham, Batman suspects and shakes-down Kirk Langstrom, who has just been released from Arkham. After a blood analysis from one of the crime scenes, Batman is surprised to discover that the culprit is actually Langstrom’s evil billionaire corporate tycoon father, Abraham Langstrom. Abraham was once Thomas Wayne’s biggest business rival back in the day. After receiving a special antidote serum from Lucius Fox, Bruce suits up and goes after Abraham. Batman battles the new man-bat, which is larger and stronger than any he’s faced before (including Bat-Queen, who curiously is never mentioned in this story). Batman gets beaten up and stitched-up and then visits Kirk to gets his veins filled up with Anti-Man-Bat Serum. Then, disguised as a homeless man, Batman confronts the beast again and this time takes an Abraham man-bat bite to the chest, losing a ton of blood but sending enough Anti-Serum into the crazy man-bat to revert him back to human so the cops can bust him. Later in court, Abraham’s fancy lawyers get him off scot-free with a temporary insanity plea and no proof that he injected himself. Afterward, life goes on as usual for Abraham, but Batman will be watching.
–Catwoman Vol. 4 #29
Taylor Pharmaceuticals, a company that has created prototype versions of a dangerous Venom-like steroid and a cancer medication, has been bought out by WayneTech. The night before the takeover, Batman hires Catwoman to break in, destroy the steroid, and steal the cancer treatment. During the heist, Batman deletes all records of the steroid’s existence. The next day, Bruce makes sure that his new Taylor employees, who previously worked on the steroid, focus on testing and researching the cancer medication instead.
–Justice League Vol. 2 #18
This story takes place “a few weeks” before Justice League Vol. 2 #27 (which occurs smack dab in the middle of Forever Evil). It also starts out with Flash sarcastically apologizing to Aquaman for being absent during the “Throne of Atlantis” arc, which occurred OVER A YEAR AGO. While Flash talks about “Throne of Atlantis” like it was more recent, this has to be the first time Flash is seeing Aquaman since then, helping us place this story where it properly goes. Since the Jusitce League hasn’t met in such a long time, the team 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’ second test version of the Metal (Wo)Man warrior android, goes berserk and starts attacking. The combined might of the collected heroes destroys 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. (SPOILER: It was Earth-3 Alfred.) Note that the Justice League has existed for six years, so it actually has a six-year case file history. It is likely that the team didn’t start detailing cases until they moved into the Hall of Justice, which would make Cyborg’s comment make a little more sense. However, this is probably a continuity error that must be disregarded.
This arc must be an antecedent to “Trinity War”/Forever Evil. While Superman is smashing up some asteroids in Earth’s orbit, Batman is in Gotham fighting one of Superman’s arch-enemies Metal-Zero (aka John Corben aka Metallo). But when Superman’s prisoner vanishes without a trace and the Man of Steel discovers that Metal-Zero is safely in prison and has been for quite some time, a mystery is afoot. In Gotham, award-winning video game designer Hiro Okamura (better known as Toymaster) has invented a new game that allows the user to saddle up in a hard-light avatar of real life superheroes or villains and duke it out in the streets. Batman had actually been fighting Toymaster controlling a Metal-Zero avatar. Later, Toymaster sets up a beta-test for the game where four players (including Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen) control a Nightwing avatar with the goal of killing Batman. Unknown to Jimmy and the players is the fact that it’s more than just a game. When “Nightwing” attacks Batman, the Dark Knight smashes the avatar through the nearest window, which happens to be where Toymaster is hosting the game from. Once the jig is up, Toymaster explains that even he doesn’t understand the technology or how it manifested from virtual reality to actual reality, telling Batman that he got the tech from his partner Agnes Samson. Just then, the culprit explodes onto the scene. Mongul, with the help of Agnes (who is actually a WarWorld alien in disguise) has activated a machine that has caused the tech craziness. Mongul and Agnes have also released “Golden Fury” spores that have raised the level of violent behavior in just about everyone on the planet. Mongul then blasts Batman in the chest with a laser canon killing him instantly! Luckily for Batman, Jimmy still thinks it’s all a game and selects Batman as his new avatar, an action that causes a nanotech cloud to reanimate the Dark Knight’s brain function and motor skills. Jimmy then has Nano-Batman attack Superman until both heroes become aware of Jimmy’s presence. Superman angrily scolds Jimmy, who immediately realizes that it is the real Man of Steel. Just as the World’s Finest regain their composure, Agnes launches the alpha version of Okamura’s game, opening the game for free onto the Internet. The effects of the Golden Fury cause millions of gamers to log on in a frenzy. Within minutes, literally millions of people are simultaneously controlling both Batman and Superman in a one-on-one knock-down-drag-out fight to the death, which ravages large chunks of Gotham. Eventually, Superman allows Batman to defeat him, thus becoming a “playable” character as well. In doing so, the Man of Steel puts his faith in both humanity and in the logic of trite gaming narrative. Sure enough, 100 million people choose Nano-Batman and Superman to team-up against the greater “boss challenge” of Mongul. Mongul is easily defeated and goes into the Phantom Zone. Twelve hours later, Batman wakes up alive and fine thanks to some high-tech nano-reversion surgery courtesy of Toymaster. Clark helps a victim of the recent chaos by giving her some Wayne Enterprises money. Elsewhere, Mongul’s son Jochi watches angrily.
–Batman/Superman Annual #1
Before starting a synopsis, some brief notes: Batman/Superman Annual #1 acts as a follow-up to the previous Batman/Superman arc AND goes before the equally problematic Superman/Wonder Woman #3-7 arc that features Warworld in the Phantom Zone (where Warworld winds up in this very issue), meaning we must be PRE-Forever Evil. Also, Batman/Superman Annual #1 mentions Superboy’s recent death in the “Krypton Returns” crossover arc. This mention of Superboy’s death seems like an error because we’ll see him in the upcoming Forever Evil #2. However, thanks to the paradox of time-travel (and writing that is difficult to decipher) it’s actually NOT an error! If you are feeling a bit perplexed, then it’s probably best to ignore it. Synopsis: Batman visits Superman’s Fortress of Solitude to check-up on Mongul’s status in the Phantom Zone. Later, Mongul’s son Jochi smashes the gargantuan planetoid known as Warworld into Earth’s orbit and challenges Batman and Superman to a multi-team duel in a day’s time (or else he will destroy Earth). Superman chooses Supergirl and Steel (Dr. John Henry Irons) as his partners and gets a smooch from his GF Wonder Woman before heading out to meet Batman. The Caped Crusader, meanwhile, surprisingly picks Red Hood for his interplanetary experience. And surprisingly, Red Hood agrees to go. At the time of departure, Batgirl invites herself onto Batman’s team. Krypto the Superdog comes along as well. On Warworld, a 3-versus-3 tournament to crown the new leader of the planetoid has already begun. While Steel and Batgirl secretly search for a way to hack into Warworld’s system, Batman enters the tournament with Red Hood and Jochi as his partners. (Jochi joins with the good guys because he decides he wants to spare Earth.) Superman enters with Supergirl and Krypto. After a day of victories, a lovely supper in the contenders’ mess hall, and a restful night’s sleep, our two heroic teams wind up facing each other in the final. In the brutal battle, Batman gains the win by punching out Superman with a chunk of Kryptonite in hand. But when Batman obviously refuses to kill Superman, the crowd goes wild and demands the destruction of Earth. Thankfully, Steel and Batgirl have deactivated Warworld’s weaponry. The heroes hightail it off the plummeting satellite planetoid and Superman tosses the entire thing into the Phantom Zone. In the Phantom Zone, a disgusted Mongul murders his own son for having become a hero.
–Superman/Wonder Woman #3-5
Mid May. This is tough to place, so let’s look at what we know before starting a synopsis. There are a few accumulated pieces of evidence that are quite telling. NUMBER ONE, Superman/Wonder Woman #3-5 is in the middle of the uninterrupted arc that includes S/WW #1-6 and the first half of S/WW #7—(the second half of S/WW #7 is a prelude to Superman: Doomed, which definitely occurs 100% after Forever Evil). NUMBER TWO, the Batman-less S/WW #6 tells us that this arc occurs after B/S Annual #1 via an appearance by Warworld in the Phantom Zone. So, we definitely know it occurs after B/S Annual #1. NUMBER THREE, we see Vibe and a scarred-up criminal Lex Luthor, which provide two HUGE reasons this is a pre-“Trinity War”/Forever Evil arc. Vibe is missing after Forever Evil. And Luthor is healed and a hero after Forever Evil. Those facts firmly cement this arc before Forever Evil. The other things are totally 100% continuity errors. First error is a topical reference. Stores are dressed for X-Mas and WW gives Supes an “early” X-mas present. Unfortunately, in order for other stories to fit in this year, we cannot already be near X-Mas. May at the latest. Next error is an editor’s note that places S/WW #3 “before the Justice League learns of the ARGUS Counter Strike Team.” Since “the ARGUS Counter Strike Team” simply means “the Justice League of America before its public debut,” we must ignore this note. OK, moving on! A week ago, Superman and Wonder Woman briefly fought Doomsday, who phased out of the Phantom Zone momentarily. An hour ago, Superman fought Wonder Woman’s half-brother and current ruler of Olympus, the Greco-Roman God Apollo, who blasted him with pure sun energy. A shaky and jazzed up Superman flies around the Earth 300 times to settle down and then steadies himself on the dark side of the moon. Batman radios in from the Watchtower to chat with Superman and calm him down with a brotherly heart-to-heart about life dating Wonder Woman. Meanwhile, Zod (an evil Kryptonian criminal) phases out of the Phantom Zone and appears in the Sahara Desert. The secret “ARGUS Counter Strike Team” i.e. the JLA before its public debut—Steve Trevor, Martian Manhunter, Vibe, and Hawkman—responds to the interdimensional breach only to get their asses handed to them. Superman and Wonder Woman then arrive and subdue Zod, who seems to placate himself upon meeting Jor-El’s son. Superman then takes Zod and places him into a comfortable holding cell in the Fortress of Solitude, which Zod willingly and understandably enters. Afterward, Wonder Woman gives a very early X-Mas present (ignore X-mas) to Superman: the gift of a vacation. For the next few hours or possibly full day, the JL will take care of all problems on the planet, leaving Superman and Wonder Woman to relax. The lovers embrace and kiss, but the tender moment and vacation is ruined when the Man of Steel’s super-hearing picks up bad news. Their relationship is no longer a secret. Clark’s business partner Cat Grant has spilled the beans to the public on Clark’s own news-site, clarkatropolis.com. The next day, the world is abuzz with the news of the power couple. Clark goes to a celebration party thrown by Cat at Lord Innovation. Cat lies to Clark and says that she got the scoop from an anonymous source. In his cell in Utah, Lex Luthor flips out when he hears the news. In Gotham, Batman flips out at the fact that Superman couldn’t keep it a secret. Wonder Woman takes out her frustrations about the leak by training with her bestie, Amazonian ex-pat Hessia. Later, Superman revisits Zod in the Fortress of Solitude. Zod easily breaks free of his cell, releases all the creatures from the Fortress’ intergalactic zoo, and then frees his lover Faora from the Phantom Zone. Superman immediately calls for help from Batman, who is beating up some Gotham goons. Batman calls Cyborg, who calls Wonder Woman. In the American Pacific Northwest, Superman and Wonder Woman fight Zod and Faora to a stalemate. (S & WW eventually defeat Z & F and put them back into the Phantom Zone, as seen in S/WW #6 and the first half of issue #7.)
–Justice League Vol. 2 #19-20
These two issues act as a DIRECT uninterrupted prelude that leads immediately into “Trinity War, which is then immediately followed by Forever Evil. (Justice League Vol. 2 #19 through Forever Evil #7 cannot be broken up.) Issue #19 contains a HUGE continuity error that I will address below, a mention in the narrative about Superman and Wonder Woman’s relationship that must be ignored. Onto the synopsis. Jason Todd breaks into Wayne Manor to have a chat with Alfred, who is about to place Damian’s old costume on display as a memorial in the Batcave. An emotional Alfred breaks down and cries. All of a sudden, a mysterious ninja-like masked figure (SPOILER: Earth-3 Alfred) 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 novitiates get stood up by the rest of the team aboard the Watchtower, Superman and Wonder Woman illegally travel into the war-torn Middle Eastern nation of Kahndaq to rescue some hostages being held by the Sons of Adam (a terrorist group that worships the deceased villain 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 Kahndaq and the US, but also giving the JL another PR black eye. Cyborg booms Batman to Kahndaq, where a MAJOR CONTINUITY ERROR THEN OCCURS. In the narrative of JL v.2 #19 Batman surprises the Big Two by revealing that he knows about their developing sexual relationship and then scolds them about it. For reasons listed above (see Superman/Wonder Woman #3-5), “Trinity War” must happen after Superman/Wonder Woman #1-7 (not including the Superman: Doomed prelude that forms the second half of issue #7), during which the entire world learns about Superman and Wonder Woman’s relationship. There would be NO surprising the Big Two with anything. Moving on. Batman 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!
–REFERENCE: In Batman Eternal #10. Batman repairs the windows and rewires his security systems, which were damaged when Jason broke into Wayne Manor recently.
————————–Justice League Vol. 2 #22
————————–flashback from Forever Evil: ARGUS #6
————————–Justice League of America Vol. 3 #6
————————–Justice League Dark #22
————————–The Phantom Stranger Vol. 4 #11
Superman and Wonder Woman incarcerate Despero at Bell Reve Prison. Afterward, Pandora confronts them and tries to get Superman to open her skull-faced box (the original box that released the Seven Deadly Sins upon the universe). Pandora’s logic is that Superman is so pure-of-heart that he will undo all the damage she did way back in 8000 BCE. However, Pandora is wrong, and Superman temporarily freaks out when he touches the thing. Panicked, Pandora flees. Meanwhile, at the still smoldering wreckage of the Watchtower in Happy Harbor, the JL oversees the damage. Atom notices that the Superman chess piece from Despero’s giant chess board (which was in the trophy room) is missing. Cyborg then reports that Shazam (Billy Batson) has entered Kahndaqi airspace, which is not only an infraction that violates international law, but very bad news because the country is in a state of war too. Billy simply means to respectfully spread the ashes of his deceased rival Black Adam across the Kahndaqi desert, but nobody knows this. With fear in their hearts, the JL (with new member Zatanna, who has left the Justice League Dark) rushes to Kahndaq. Meanwhile, alerted to the situation, Amanda Waller sends the JLA (including new member Dr. Arthur Light, who has been blackmailed into joining the team) to Kahndaq to test their mettle against the JL. In Kahndaq, the Kahndaqi Army begins firing upon Shazam. As the fight escalates, the JL and JLA both arrive and confront each other. Secret Origins Vol. 3 #10 shows this tense moment in a single panel that depicts the JL charging at the JLA. An all-out war then begins, during which Steve Trevor questions whether or not Wonder Woman ever loved him and also during which Superman seemingly kills Dr. Light. Elsewhere, Plastique (Bette Sans Souci) blows up Madame Xanadu’s parlor and kidnaps her on behalf of the mysterious leader of the Secret Society, who reveals that he has manipulated the details behind Dr. Light’s death. (Madame Xanadu sees what she mistakenly believes is a glimpse of the future, featuring Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman standing over a ravaged planet Earth. However, this is actually a flashback to Owlman, Ultraman, and Superwoman standing over an already ravaged Earth-3.) As the battle continues, Vibe blasts Flash, de-powering him. A devastated Superman halts the war and demands that they take him into custody for Light’s murder. Back at ARGUS HQ, the two Justice Leagues unite and try to figure out what the hell is going on. In a locked-down chamber, a powerless Superman, who believes that Pandora’s box has sapped him of his abilities, chats with Wonder Woman and Batman. Wonder Woman then interrogates Hephaestus about Pandora’s Box, but the Greco-Roman God of Blacksmiths reveals that the Box was made by an unknown force. Worried, Wonder Woman then asks help from the Justice League Dark, a unit that currently reports its activities to Steve Trevor and consists of John Constantine, Deadman, Frankenstein, and Black Orchid (Alba Garcia). Back at ARGUS HQ, Firestorm creates a bunch of different colored Kryptonite for Amanda Waller! Meanwhile, The Phantom Stranger (Judas Iscariot) appears to warn the heroes of impending doom. At the other end of the complex, The Question breaks the wan Superman out! The Question reveals that Dr. Psycho secretly had a hand in Dr. Light’s death, prompting all the heroes at ARGUS to turn their backs on Waller, fight off her soldiers, and then fly off with Superman to hunt Dr. Psycho. Meanwhile, at the House of Mystery (the interdimensional HQ of the JLD), Steve Trevor and Batman lead a mix of JLers and JLAers to stop Wonder Woman and the JLD from going after Pandora’s box, which they think is a dangerous idea. Chaos erupts and two sides are formed: An anti-going-after-Pandora group (Trevor, Batman, Flash, Catwoman, Simon Baz, Vibe, Deadman, and Katana) versus a pro-going-after-Pandora group (Wonder Woman, the JLD, Zatanna, Hawkman, Aquaman, and Stargirl). Constantine and Shazam go off on their own. Elsewhere, the leader of the Secret Society tells a bound Xanadu that he has a mole on the JL. After some convincing by Batman, the Phantom Stranger takes Batman, Katana, and Deadman into what he calls “Heaven’s Basement,” a region of the afterlife closest to the Earth-plane where spirits roam freely and try to suck the souls of the living, in search of the recently deceased Dr. Light. After traversing “Heaven’s Basement,” the heroes wind up in the New 52 version of Heaven, a place that is a conceptual transitional realm, merely one of many progressive levels of human afterlife. Heaven exists as a multifaceted conglomeration of seemingly never-ending worlds that each are tailored to the beliefs of the deceased. After completing a stay in Heaven, the angels usher the spirits into the next level of afterlife. While in Heaven, Katana slips into a dreamlike “paradise” where she is reunited with her long dead husband. Likewise, Batman views himself as a ten-year-old spending X-mas with his mom and dad. Eventually, the heroes arrive at the “paradise” of Dr. Light, an entire universe made of pure light. Phantom Stranger awakens Light, but he can offer very little information. Phantom Stranger then proclaims that he will raise Light from the dead, which greatly excites Batman. However, before he can, Zauriel and a host of Heavenly Angels arrive. Zauriel banishes the mortals from Heaven and then executes Phantom Stranger for violating the laws of the afterlife!
TRINITY WAR Continued…
————————–Justice League of America Vol. 3 #7
————————–Justice League Dark #23
————————–Justice League Vol. 2 #23
The Superman-led hero group attacks Dr. Psycho and learns (via a Martian Manhunter mind-wipe and telepathic scan) that the villain was merely a decoy used by the Secret Society. The Atom then exposes Waller as having less-than-positive intentions, which prompts the heroes to go after her. Batman, Deadman, and Katana then reemerge in the House of Mystery. Phantom Stranger, in his last act before fading from existence entirely, tells them that only Madame Xanadu knows the truth about Pandora’s Box. Back at ARGUS HQ, Superman’s team confronts Waller, but Plastique detonates Dr. Light’s body in the morgue, which causes a huge explosion. Elsewhere, Wonder Woman’s group prevents Pandora from giving her Box to Lex Luthor. Instead, Wonder Woman touches it and gets possessed. Shazam returns and punches out the raging Wonder Woman to claim Pandora’s Box for himself. Upon holding the skull-shaped evil, Shazam’s magick explodes, causing him to turn into a Black Adam-like crazypants. The reverberation of magickal energy can be felt all across the multiverse—from Earth-2 to Gem World and all points in-between. Likewise, Deadman feels the burst of intensity, which gives him the location of Madame Xanadu—in Greece. As revealed in Trinity of Sin: Pandora #3, the invisible Seven Deadly Sins (who are annoyingly linked to Pandora against her will) play the surrounding Box-feuding heroes like puppets, causing them to clash bloodthirstily for a piece of the gilt artifact. Ultimately, John Constantine returns, cooly collects the Box from the ravaging heroes, and teleports away with Zatanna. The Box zaps the duo to Madame Xanadu’s location in Athens, Greece just as Deadman’s group (which includes Batman) arrives as well. Waiting to greet them is the vile leader of the Secret Society, who watches as all the other heroes arrive as well. Unfortunately, all of the heroes are under the influence of crazy dark magick and they all turn evil and start fighting each other. This epic war scene is also shown in a flashforward from The New 52: Free Comic Book Day Special #1. Once the skull box is passed from Constantine to Batman to nobody, everyone gathers their senses and calms down. During the break in the action, Atom does yet another shocking turn, revealing that she works for the Secret Society. Superman isn’t sick because of Pandora’s Box. Superman is sick because Atom went into his head and put the tiny sliver of Kryptonite into his brain, at the same time activating the nerve that controls his heat vision, which she used to murder Dr. Light. Atom also causes Cyborg’s tech (in the form of the sentient computer virus known as the Grid, which has been growing inside of him for years) to reject him, literally spitting out his nearly lifeless mangled body. The Grid restructures the remains of the Cyborg suit into his very own fully-formed Terminator-esque body. The Secret Society leader then picks up Pandora’s Box and drops a bombshell. Pandora’s Box is a gateway to Earth-3 that can only be activated by someone from Earth-3! He turns on the Box and a deceased Sea King (Earth-3’s Aquaman) falls through a portal. A moment later, The Crime Syndicate passes through (with a mystery hooded prisoner in tow)! SPOILER ALERT: The hooded prisoner is Alexander Luthor. Earth-3 Alfred Pennyworth has done the bidding of his master, Owlman (Thomas Wayne, Jr.), and created the Secret Society as a means of allowing his Crime Syndicate pals to enter onto the primary Earth. The helpless and attenuated heroes brace for the Crime Syndicate—Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick, Power Ring, Deathstorm, Atomica (aka the turncoat Atom), and the Grid—to begin their assault. Things seem invidious. FYI, within Power Ring’s power ring resides a trapped Earth-3 Volthoom, thus making the ring a sort of sentient entity that bosses around its weak-willed human host.
–FLASHBACK: From Forever Evil #3. Deathstorm literally rips Firestorm apart, exposing the matrix within him. All of the heroes are sucked into the Firestorm Matrix and trapped there, except for Batman, Catwoman, and the extremely critical and unconscious Cyborg. The remaining trio escapes into the sewers and slowly makes their way to a Justice League safe house.
–Forever Evil #2-6
The Crime Syndicate and Secret Society have taken over the Earth. Ultraman has pushed the moon into a permanent lunar eclipse, casting darkness across half the planet and causing widespread tidal waves and earthquakes. The world’s power supply is completely controlled by the Grid. The majority of the three Justice Leagues are trapped inside the Firestorm Matrix. The Crime Syndicate has reported to the world that they are dead. Nightwing has been badly beaten by the Crime Syndicate and his secret identity has been publicly exposed to the entire global populace. While things are in complete control of the Crime Syndicate, there is some dispute among their ranks as to exactly how they should rule. Johnny Quick and Atomica want pure anarchy. Ultraman wants organized military law. Owlman and Superwoman (who secretly is pregnant with Alexander Luthor’s child) want to execute their masked prisoner (Alexander Luthor), but Ultraman forbids it. With most of the Earth’s heroes defeated, the Teen Titans take on Johnny Quick and Atomica, but get their butts kicked hard. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor, thinking of himself as the last possible savior of the planet, suits up in his green-and-purple power-suit and prematurely activates a mindless but loyal clone of Superman (Clone B-Zero, who will come to be known as Bizarro)! At STAR Labs in Detroit, a bedraggled Batman and Catwoman (the only two that managed to escape the onslaught of the Crime Syndicate!) bring the nearly lifeless mutilated Cyborg to his father, Dr. Silas Stone, with hopes of fixing him up. Meanwhile, Luthor and Bizarro aren’t the only villains that don’t see eye to eye with the Syndicate/Society. Ultraman beats the stuffing out of a truculent resurrected Black Adam and leaves him unconscious at the bottom of the sea. Likewise, Power Ring traps the rebellious Rogues (Captain Cold, Trickster, Heat Wave, Mirror Master, and Weather Wizard) in Mirror Master’s Mirror Dimension, except for Captain Cold, who flees but loses his icy powers thanks to a DNA restructuring courtesy of Deathstorm. Black Manta pulls Black Adam out of the drink, saving his life, and joins with Captain Cold, Bizarro, and Luthor to form an anti-Syndicate League. Meanwhile, Batman blindfolds Catwoman and takes her into his inner sanctum, the Batcave! (Catwoman has been there before during “Gothtopia,” but she doesn’t remember.) The Bat and the Cat dip into the anti-Justice League contingency briefcases and take a Mother Box and a yellow power ring before departing for Wayne Enterprises, where Batman hopes to charge up both items. In Utah, Superwoman tells a quickly weakening Ultraman (in need of more Kryptonite to power up) that Owlman has joined forces with Nightwing (!) and plans on betraying the Syndicate. In Gotham, after a genuinely touching moment between Luthor and Bizarro, Luthor’s squad busts into Wayne Enterprises only to come vis-à-vis with Batman and Catwoman. Power Ring enters the scene (with backup support from Deathstroke, Giganta, Copperhead, Shadowthief, and Blockbuster) and starts attacking. Unable to activate the Mother Box, Batman slips on the yellow power ring and becomes a Yellow Lantern Batman! Unfortunately, the ring doesn’t have any juice left in it, allowing Power Ring to snatch it away and destroy it. Things look bleak until Sinestro appears and kills Power Ring. Ring’s ring immediately shoots off into the sky in search of a new host. Meanwhile, Batman, Catwoman, and Luthor’s villain-squad defeat the Syndicate stooges. Deathstroke is convinced to switch sides and kills Copperhead, saving Batman’s life in the process. With no other choice, Batman and Catwoman reluctantly join forces with Luthor’s gang. Luthor allows Sinestro to “lead” the team. On the outskirts of Gotham, Ultraman, Superwoman, and Owlman rummage through the Batcave. Alerted by the Grid, they high-tail it to Maine where a red fissure splits the dark sky. The monster that ruined Earth-3 is coming for them. Sinestro and Luthor’s anti-Syndicate league travels to the downed JL Satellite in Happy Harbor, RI, which is fully-controlled by the evil Earth-3-lings. After infiltrating the satellite, Batman and company are shocked to find Dick Grayson trapped inside Grid’s “Murder Machine,” a bomb attached to Dick’s heart that can only be deactivated if he dies. Meanwhile, Black Manta stabs Alfred-3 to death and the Syndicate arrives to battle Sinestro’s team. Captain Cold freezes Johnny Quick’s leg and smashes it to pieces. In the Murder Machine room, the bomb-clock quickly counts down. Luthor, seeing no other option, seemingly kills Dick, shutting down the device. As Batman pummels Luthor in rage, Captain Cold releases the Syndicate’s hooded prisoner, who says his magic word and powers up with magic lightning. Alexander Luthor is free and deadly-dangerous, immediately killing Johnny Quick with a smile on his face.
–Forever Evil #7
Lex Luthor fights off an insanely pissed-off Batman and then restarts Dick’s heart with a shot of adrenaline. Allayed, Batman drops the Lightning Rod and hugs Dick. A reconstructed Cyborg, fixed-up and given a new sleek design by his dad, bursts in, chucking down a disassembled and deactivated Grid. Before splitting-up, Lex and Batman shake hands, but Batman is so unnerved by Dick’s near death that Lex is able to successfully steal his Kryptonite ring. Meanwhile, Alexander Luthor and Superwoman confront Ultraman and Deathstorm. Superwoman reveals that Alexander is the father of her unborn child. Alexander and Superwoman fight Ultraman and Deathstorm, which results in the death of Deathstorm. Inside the wreckage of the Watchtower, Cyborg catches Batman, Catwoman, and Nightwing up to speed. Owlman appears for just a moment before disappearing, saying that he just wants to be partners with any version of Dick Grayson again. Cyborg then explains that someone with a close personal link to Wonder Woman, using the Lasso of Truth (which Cyborg has retrieved from Steve Trevor), can save Firestorm and release the trapped heroes from within him. Batman is able to make the plan work, revealing a possible secret history between he and Wonder Woman that makes Catwoman a bit jealous. All of the heroes are freed, except for Vibe and Element Woman, who both mysteriously vanish without a trace. Outside, Alexander kills Bizarro, which makes Lex very sad. Sinestro then stabs Alexander in the chest with the Lightning Rod. As Alexander clutches onto his counterpart in an effort to crush him to death, Lex realizes that he has the same voice as his attacker and calls down the magick lightning of “Mazahs.” Alexander is struck and morphs back into normal human form, instantly dying of the Lightning Rod wound in his chest. Ultraman then attacks Lex, but Sinestro and Black Adam move the moon, ending the solar eclipse. Sunlight washes over Ultraman, causing him to instantaneously shrivel into a weakling with no powers. Atomica crawls out of some rubble only to get squashed to death by the heel of Lex’s boot. Baller Lex continues his streak of bad-assery by performing life-saving brain surgery on Superman.
–REFERENCE: In Nightwing Vol. 3 #30. Batman, with plans for Dick to infiltrate Spyral, tells the rest of the Bat-Family that Dick was killed by the Crime Syndicate.
–Forever Evil #7, Epilogue Part 1
A day after Forever Evil, hailed as heroes, Lex, Black Manta, Sinestro, Captain Cold, Black Adam, and Catwoman are given full pardons for all their previous crimes. Ultraman and Superwoman are imprisoned. Later that night, Batman pleads with Catwoman to make the most of her new lease on life. But realizing that a relationship with Batman is clearly not a part of that new life, Catwoman angrily swings off into the Gotham night, future uncertain. Back in the Batcave, Batman discusses the fact that Dick’s identity is no longer secret. The Dark Knight tells Dick that he has a new mission for him. Dick will remain “dead” to the world (including the members of the Bat-Family) in order to go deep undercover as a Spyral agent.
–FLASHBACK: From Secret Origins Vol. 3 #8—and also referenced in Nightwing Vol. 3 #30 and Grayson #2. The Bat-Family mourns Dick’s “passing.” A small private funeral is held with Bruce, Alfred, and Babs.
–Forever Evil #7, Epilogue Part 2
A day after Dick’s fake funeral, Wonder Woman interrogates the jailed Superwoman, who gloats that her baby will one day doom the world. Superwoman even tells Wonder Woman that she feels the baby kick inside of her belly, but this has gotta be bullshit since Superwoman would only be like two weeks pregnant at this point. “Good guy” Lex meets with and befriends graduate school super-genius and inventor Ted Kord, owner of Kord Industries. Lex then attempts to re-clone a new Bizarro, but his science team tells him it will take five years. Later, Lex puts the obvious two-and-two together, connecting Dick to Bruce, and realizes that Bruce is Batman. In the Batcave, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman discuss all that has happened. Superman says that the vile monster that nearly breached into the universe during the crisis (the one that destroyed Earth-3) surely must be Darkseid. But he’s wrong, it’s actually someone who hates Darkseid and wants to go to war with him: Mobius aka The Anti-Monitor! (Yes, this is THE Anti-Monitor from the original Crisis on Infinite Earths! And allied with the Anti-Monitor stands the half Amazonian daughter of Darkseid, Grail.)
–Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman vs. Bane #1
Forever Evil is over. But trouble is still afoot. During the crisis, Bane, allied with the Court of Owls, was able to defeat all of Arkham’s inmates and all of Blackgate’s inmates to take total dictatorial control of Gotham. Batman briefly reunites with Alfred before taking down some Talons with a freeze gun and delivering Scarecrow back to the GCPD. Batman then easily freezes William Cobb and beats the tar out of Bane, ending his reign. Bruce immediately begins funding the reconstruction of Gotham and puts a ton of financial backing into upgrading security at Arkham, where Bane is sent in chains.
–Nightwing Vol. 3 #30, Part 2
In the Batcave, Batman and Dick spar, during which Batman reminds Dick of his new Spyral mission and gives him further details about the mission. Batman and Dick’s sparring turns into a merciless fight against one another in the Batcave. They destroy cars, motorcycles, boats, the giant dice, and the giant question mark, all while ripping each other’s flesh to gratuitously bloody shreds. Eventually, the worn-out heroes collapse. Dick agrees to Batman’s mission. Dick will join Spyral and secretly report back to Batman. (Dick will now travel the globe taking down members of the Fist of Cain until he eventually gets recruited by Spyral. Also note that there will likely be many uncharted clandestine briefings between Dick and Batman going forward that won’t be detailed in any of the comics. We simply have to imagine those secret contact meetings scattered throughout our timeline below.)
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Robin Eternal #1. Now that Dick has gone off the grid to go on Batman’s Spyral mission, the Dark Knight upgrades him to the highest level of Bat-computer access clearance (from “high” to “very high”).
–FLASHBACK: From Justice League Vol. 2 #30-32. A few days have passed since the end of Forever Evil. The JL, JLA, and JLD are publicly blamed for the disaster that was Forever Evil. (The JLD is kaput and the JLA has disbanded with Stargirl and Martian Manhunter planning on starting a new team based in Canada.) Meanwhile, Lex Luthor rides the media whirlwind of positive PR, having been Presidentially pardoned and been declared a superhero on the front pages of newspapers across the globe. Elsewhere, the new Doom Patrol—Professor Niles Caulder, Robotman (Cliff Steele), Negative Man (Larry Trainor), Elasti-Girl (Rita Farr), and Element Woman—angrily watches the news and vows to punish the JL for Forever Evil. In Gotham, Lucius Fox and the Wayne Enterprises board of directors try in vain to convince Bruce to work with reformed Luthor. Bruce then calls Clark and they chat about how “good guy Lex” is a very bad thing. The JL begins searching for Luthor, but they can’t find him. Wonder Woman and Flash capture and interrogate Metallo, who reveals that there are still over a dozen active members of the Secret Society (now finally officially calling itself the “Secret Society of Super-Villains”). The JLers meet in the Batcave where they receive and electronic invitation from Luthor to board a satellite in Earth’s orbit. After teleporting to the station, the JL meets with Luthor and Shazam. Luthor explains that he (and Shazam) want to join the JL to help protect the world from whatever destroyed Earth-3 and also to save the JL’s public image. Wonder Woman lassos Luthor, who divulges truthfully that he wants to join the JL to save the planet and also because he is an egomaniac. An angry Superman denies Luthor’s application. Luthor gives the team his “New Watchtower” as a gift anyway and departs, saying to call him when they change their minds. In Portland, OR, the deceased Power Ring’s power ring has finally found someone worthy to be its next host: clinically agoraphobic and doomsday phobia-stricken Jessica Cruz. As her sister Sara Cruz pounds on her door, the ring hovers above a teary-eyed Jessica, declaring that she has been chosen to “annihilate the Earth.” Jessica tries to fight-off the ring, but it turns her into the brand new Power Ring. In Gotham, Luthor visits Wayne Manor and asks Alfred for an audience with Batman! Lex sits with Bruce and accuses him of being Batman, which Bruce casually denies. Lex then points a gun at Bruce, prompting Alfred to point a gun at Lex. A scuffle ensues and Lex blows-up the secret entrance to the Batcave using an exploding bullet. With his secret exposed, Lex tries to blackmail Bruce into convincing his superhero partners to let him onto the Justice League. Bruce ejects Luthor from his home. Meanwhile, Cyborg and Shazam alert the JL to the power ring situation in Portland. In Portland, Power Ring rages out of control and is confronted by the new Doom Patrol. Jessica, a puppet of the evil ring, lashes-out at the Doom Patrol. Chief Caulder shows that he is more interested in getting the ring than helping nearby victims of the violence. Luckily, the JL shows up and saves a bunch of people. Cyborg grabs ahold of Jessica, which allows him to see that Earth-3 Volthoom resides within the power ring. Earth-3 Volthoom tells Cyborg that his goal is to bring his master (the Anti-Monitor) to Earth-0 to retrieve Superwoman’s baby once it is born. Just as Caulder is about to get the ring off of Jessica’s finger, Luthor shows up, having just made Captain Cold LexCorp’s new Head of Security, and puts Caulder in an arm-bar wrestling hold.
–FLASHBACK: From Justice League Vol. 2 #33-34. Continuing where Justice League Vol. 2 #33 left off, Lex Luthor and Niles Caulder continue fighting while the Doom Patrol and Justice League try to keep the raging Power Ring under control. A spike of Jessica Cruz’s green energy is enough to alert the Anti-Monitor (currently in parts unknown) to the location of the ring on the primary DCU Earth. Both Luthor and Caulder have radical and violent ways of incapacitating Power Ring, but Batman shuffles them both aside in favor of a more humane approach. Knowing that the Earth-3 energy ring is based on fear, Batman talks down Jessica Cruz with a empathetic speech of empowerment. After hugging Jessica, Batman takes the ring onto his own finger and easily suppresses the evil (Earth-3 Volthoom) within. Batman then scolds Luthor for interfering. The heroes learn that the Doom Patrol is ARGUS’s new counter-strike team, filling the role left vacant by the JLA. Later, Batman convenes with Superman and Wonder Woman and asks for their permission to invite Luthor onto the JL in a “keep your enemies closer” attempt to keep tabs on him. Luthor is sworn-in as the newest Justice Leaguer. The next day, at LexCorp Tower, Captain Cold wakes up in his lavish room and prepares for the day ahead. Mirror Master appears in his mirror and asks Captain Cold what his deal is. Captain Cold replies by saying that working for Luthor is all part of a big long con. Elsewhere in Metropolis, Superman and Lex Luthor reluctantly team-up to defeat Gorilla Grodd. Concurrently, in Detroit, Shazam hangs out with Cyborg, who gets a tune-up courtesy of dad, Dr. Silas Stone. Aboard the Watchtower, Flash teaches a nervous Jessica Cruz to control her power ring (which is stuck on her finger) and to suppress the Earth-3 Volthoom evil within. Later, Lex Luthor accompanies Wonder Woman on a JL/LexCorp sponsored food hand-out in an unnamed Swahili-speaking African country. Later still, Bruce initiates a plan to arrest Luthor, which starts off with Bruce seemingly giving-in to Luthor’s blackmail regarding his secret ID—Bruce agrees to semi-merge the assets of WayneTech and LexCorp into a partnership. After the paperwork is signed, Bruce chats with Luthor in private, telling him to play straight or go down hard. After Luthor leaves, Bruce tells the JL that everything is going according to his plan. He plans on exposing Lex as a criminal and arresting him after their partnership announcement, which is scheduled to occur the very next night. An hour later, Luthor delivers a televised speech announcing his induction into the JL. That night, Luthor secretly meets with Owlman, who offers his allegiance to Luthor in exchange for Superwoman’s baby once it is born.
–Justice League Vol. 2 #30
Four days have passed since the aftermath/wrap-up to Forever Evil. Luthor adds Captain Cold and Shazam onto the Justice League line-up. The new JL then takes down the remnants of the Secret Society of Super-Villains, including Dr. Psycho, Dr. Alchemy, Livewire, Clayface, Tattooed Man, and Scavenger.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League Vol. 2 #35. On the afternoon of the same day as busting the rest of the Secret Society of Super-Villains, Bruce does extensive research into Lex Luthor’s past looking for any information that might be psychologically pertinent to staying one step ahead of the tricky new Justice Leaguer. Bruce finds that Lex long ago left his hometown of Smallville after his sister Lena Luthor became paralyzed and he was unable to cure her.
–Justice League Vol. 2 #35-37 (“THE AMAZO VIRUS”)
Still on the afternoon of the same day as busting the rest of the Secret Society of Super-Villains, the new version of the Justice League adds Power Ring to the line-up and then spends part of the rest of the day helping out three emergencies across the globe. Batman, Aquaman, and Lex Luthor rescue folks from a capsized ferry in Indonesia. That afternoon, Lex and Bruce make a public announcement unveiling the details of the LexCorp/Wayne Tech partnership. With all of the Justice Leaguers standing-by undercover just outside of LexCorp HQ, Bruce is escorted by Lex into the building’s top secret labs. Despite finding various anti-Superman weapons and cloning vats, Bruce is stymied and cannot find anything illegal. Lex then introduces Bruce to his paraplegic sister Lena Luthor. All of a sudden, the nuclear metahuman assassin Neutron (Nathaniel Tryon) attacks the LexCorp labs and tries to execute Lex (on behalf of mystery boss). The Justice League prevents the assassination, but during the assault a canister of sentient Amazo Virus is accidentally released. Lex saves Lena and Bruce and an immediate government evacuation and quarantine is started. The JL helps with the evacuation. Within twenty-four hours, the virus has spread all over the United States, causing those infected to manifest random metahuman powers before dying. The entire JL is infected and comatose except for Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, and Captain Cold. Superman and Batman, wearing the latest upgrade of the Haz-Bat Suit, take to the streets to fight new metahuman crazies and save their lives at the same time. With most of the infected quarantined at an ARGUS base camp, Lex explains to Steve Trevor that he created the Amazo Virus using an enzyme taken from Amazo’s body in order to potentially suppress powers in metahumans. Lex explains further that the only reason the Amazo Virus is acting in its current form is because the first person to get infected, a mystery “patient zero,” must have mutated it and spread it. So, just like in literally every other DC Comics virus story, it isn’t long before Batman and Superman come face-to-face with “patient zero,” Lexcorp scientist Dr. Armen Ikarus, who has Amazo’s power to copy others’ powers. (The scene of Batman and Superman confronting Ikarus for the first time is also shown via flashback from Super Sons #3.) Wonder Woman soon joins Batman and Superman to fight the monstrous Ikarus. Batman’s mask is shattered, exposing him to the virus. Meanwhile, Lex gets grief from both his sister and Captain Cold for having created the disease in the first place. Concurrently, a masked assassin named Bullet explodes into LexCorp and knocks-out Lex.
–Justice League Vol. 2 #38-39 (“THE AMAZO VIRUS” Continued…)
Batman, infected with the Amazo Virus, obtains the power to shoot sound waves out of his mouth à la Black Canary. Using this new power, the Caped Crusader takes down Armen Ikarus. Back at LexCorp, Captain Cold rescues Lex Luthor and takes down Bullet. A pissed-off Luthor wrenches Neutron out of his coma and demands to know who wants him dead. Superman, Wonder Woman, and a sick Batman arrive with Ikarus in tow. When Ikarus’ blood proves to be worthless, Lex demands some of Superman’s blood, revealing that he infected him with the virus four years ago in a failed attempt to remove his powers. Lex also demands complete impunity from involvement with crimes related to the outbreak. Batman succumbs to the virus, becoming a mindless zombie and blowing up the room with his sound power. Neutron, Ikarus, and the infected Justice Leaguers rise up as evil warriors all connected by a shared hive-mind. While Captain Cold and Wonder Woman fight the virus-controlled folks, Superman and Lex create an anti-virus vaccine out of Superman’s blood. The vaccine is distributed over the course of the next twenty-four hours. The virus goes away and everyone is cured, except for 3% of the infected, who keep their powers. There are dozens of new metahumans on Earth now, which is of distinct interest to corrupt businessman Amos Fortune, who is shown plotting in his office. The Amazo Virus stays within the incarcerated Ikarus, who becomes the new Amazo. A dying Neutron tells his doctors that he wants to cut a deal with Lex. Neutron will reveal his mystery boss in exchange for something special. Meanwhile, on the JL Satellite, Flash invites Hal Jordan to train Power Ring!
–REFERENCE: In Justice League of America: Rebirth #1. Batman claims and is granted ownership of the land in Happy Harbor where the downed former JL Satellite wreckage still remains.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Eternal #22. Batman repairs the giant dice trophy in the Batcave, which had previously been damaged during a fight with Dick.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #51. Batman repairs the Riddler’s question mark, which had previously been damaged during a fight with Dick.
–FLASHBACK: From Justice League of America Vol. 4 #5. The Justice League holds a champagne party on the Watchtower. Martian Manhunter is invited, but plays wallflower. Batman keeps distant from the other heroes as well, but mostly just to keep an eye on Martian Manhunter.
–Detective Comics Vol. 2 Annual #3
Late May. This issue tells us that the date is supposedly October 9-10, which is totally incorrect. In order for other items to fit neatly later on, we must be nearing summertime. Pro motocross rider Annette “Annie” Aguila rides with her boyfriend Dante. They secretly plan to elope to New Orleans in a day’s time, much to the chagrin of Annie’s mom, philanthropist Elena Aguila. Dante has one final score, planned with his fellow Kings of the Sun biker gang members later that night, to make some money before they take off and leave town for good. That night, Batman goes after a gang called the Bastards of Blackgate, who have stolen a bunch of the Wrath’s old weaponry. Meanwhile, Holter, leader of the Kings of the Sun, drops-off a cache of the drug Icarus with Dante. Dante’s orders are to guard the Icarus until the Kings of the Sun can set up a delivery to mob boss/drug pusher The Squid (Lawrence Lo). A bit later, Batman wails on the Bastards of Blackgate and learns that they are headquartered in a nearby salt yard thanks to info from a ten-year-old boy named Aden. Batman also learns that Aden is the neglected and physically abused son of Julian Day. Later, across town, the Squid orders his little brother Jonny Lo to learn the criminal ropes by tailing his number one henchmen, Julian Day. At a bar, Batman, as Matches Malone, beats the crap out of Julian Day, citing the poor treatment of Aden as the reason for the shellacking. With Julian Day out of the picture, Jonny decides to take business into his own hands and secretly steal from his brother and the Kings of the Sun. Jonny rounds up a small crew and attacks the warehouse where Dante is protecting the Icarus stash. A nervous Dante overdoses on Icarus and dies just as Jonny comes bursting in guns-a-blazing. Jonny answer’s Dante’s cell phone and Annie learns that her lover is dead. Batman then visits the Gotham Rock Salt Depot and shuts down the Bastards of Blackgate operation going on there. Later, after Jonny has hidden away the stolen Icarus for himself, he regroups with his brother and Holter. Jonny keeps a low profile and makes it seem like Julian Day stole the Icarus. Half an hour later, Batman checks-up on Aden only to find a ransom note. Aden has been kidnapped by the Bastards of Blackgate, who have been hired by the Squid to get back the stolen Icarus from Julian Day. Batman suits-up in his mech-costume and descends upon the Gotham Rail Yard. There, Batman defeats the rest of the Bastards of Blackgate and rescues Aden from their leader, known as the Big Bastard. The next morning, Bruce personally puts Aden into the care of Elena Aguila at her Shelter for Women and Children.
–Batman and… #24-28 (“Batman & Two-Face” / “THE BIG BURN”)
This takes place post Forever Evil. Something big is going down with Gotham’s top crime families, but Batman doesn’t know what. He spends a night roughing up some thugs linked to the families and returns home in the morning to find Alfred re-covering the empty graves of Damian and Talia. Bruce admonishes his oldest friend and tells him to leave the graves open as a reminder that Ra’s Al Ghul is still out there with the bodies of his dearly departed. (Since it has been a full year since the deaths of Damian and Talia and the graves have been shown to not be open in various other books, we can assume that the graves have been covered by tarp this whole time, but left open underneath as per Bruce’s orders.) That night, the GCPD flushes out the returning Erin McKillen, who has come back to Gotham for the first time since murdering Gilda Dent and disfiguring Harvey Dent into Two-Face. Batman chases after Erin and arrests her. Batman then confronts Two-Face, who makes it clear he wants Erin dead. Two-Face then bails, using a group of hostages strapped to a bomb to distract Batman long enough to escape. Erin requests a jailhouse visit from her old high school chum Bruce Wayne. At GCPD HQ lockup, Erin asks Bruce for Batman Incorporated protection. Bruce replies that Batman Inc is shut down, but even if it wasn’t he wouldn’t help her. (Don’t forget that Casey Washington now runs a secret Batman Inc from Securitus Island, and while Bruce basically bankrolls the entire thing, he now has little to do with its clandestine operations). At Blackgate, Erin is attacked by fellow prisoners, but is saved by Matches Malone! Bruce (as Matches) breaks Erin out of the slammer, knocks her out, and meets with Alfred, who submarines them to the Batcave. Later, a surprised Erin wakes up in the care of Bruce at Wayne Manor. Bruce chats with Erin before releasing her into the care of her cousin Kieron McKillen. Unfortunately for Erin, her cousin has sold out to Two-Face and turns her over to him. By the tombstone of Gilda Dent, Two-Face betrays Kieron and kills him, prompting a violent fight between Two-Face’s hoods and Batman, who winds up falling into an open grave. Two-Face is about to pour acid onto Erin when the McKillen gangster squad shows up and bullets start flying again. A drop of acid scorches a scar onto Erin’s face during the melee. The McKillen gunners announce that they want Two-Face alive, but they no longer have need for Erin. Betrayed by her own team, Erin is forced to team with Batman and Two-Face. The unlikely trio escapes into the sewers, but Two-Face is caught by the mobsters. Batman and Erin eventually tunnel through the sewer roof and into Noonan’s Sleazy Bar, located in Gotham’s Irish section of town known as The Cauldron. Noonan’s, of course, was home to Tommy Monaghan, Natt “The Hatt” Walls, and Sean Noonan, and is still currently home to Sixpack, Section Eight, and Baytor—all stars of the Garth Ennis masterpiece from the Modern Age, Hitman! These characters are on display in framed photos on the bar walls. Hacken is the bartender, which, along with a couple canon New 52 Sixpack minis, insinuates that much of the Hitman series also happened in the New 52—(in the final Hitman issue, after most of the aforementioned characters die, a flash-forward revealed that Hacken stayed on and became a bartender at Noonan’s). Pretty cool. At the bar, the former McKillen Gang plasters images of a captured Two-Face all over live TV and threatens to execute him publicly. Batman races across town towards Two-Face, ejecting Erin from the Batmobile into police custody along the way. At the old Gotham Movie Studios, Batman rescues and teams-up with Two-Face, who reveals that he knows Batman is Bruce Wayne! With the McKillen Gang defeated, Two-Face plays villain again and shoots an arriving Commissioner Gordon in the shoulder before departing. A couple days later, Two-Face seemingly commits suicide! Back at police HQ, as he does every time the Bat Signal is busted, Batman delivers a new Bat Signal to Gordon, who is in an arm sling with a partially torn artery in his shoulder. (SPOILER: Remember kids, if you don’t see a body, you can’t confirm a death! As we will see in All-Star Batman #1, Two-Face ain’t dead. While he has indeed shot himself, he has survived. Although, we won’t see or hear from him for almost two years!)
–REFERENCE: In Worlds’ Finest #20. Batman, noticing that his Kryptonite ring has been stolen, makes a new one. He begins carrying it in his utility belt, just in case.
–Worlds’ Finest #19
WF #19 and the follow-up “First Contact” crossover occur after Batman/Superman Annual #1. (B/S Annual #1 is in-between B/S #7 and B/S #8.) Lately, Power Girl’s powers have been totally outta whack and totally out-of-control. Not only that, Power Girl’s company has been bought out by Michael Holt (Mr. Terrific). The disaffection caused by the buyout causes Karen to lose control of her heat vision during a business meeting, endangering those around her. With no other options, Karen’s best friend Huntress finally decides to ask Bruce for help. Huntress breaks into the Batcave and reveals herself to Bruce.
———————-–Worlds’ Finest #20
———————-–Worlds’ Finest #21
June—Batman/Superman #9 tells us that this arc takes place one month after Batman/Superman #7. Batman captures Huntress and hears her story. While she speaks, Batman has a fleeting vision of his blocked memory of the time he met his Earth-2 counterpart. After their conversation, Batman tests Helena’s DNA. Sure enough, everything checks out. She really is his daughter from another Earth. Batman and Huntress then fly to Baja California where Power Girl’s heat vision is stuck on full blast. Superman shows up, takes down Power Girl, and flies her to the middle of the Pacific Ocean where she calms. Meanwhile, Batman and Huntress realize that Power Girl has gone bananas due to nanites injected into her system by the ruthless dictator of New Gamorra (formerly Rheelasia), Kaizen Gamorra. Bruce then attends a presidential ball being held by Kaizen at his palace. While Bruce’s “date,” a dolled-up Helena, distracts the crowd, Bruce hacks into Kaizen’s files and learns that the nanites will soon cause Power Girl to explode like a nuke. Superman, upon learning the news, flies Power Girl into orbit and takes the brunt of the explosion, saving Power Girl, but causing the nanites to switch over to him. Batman arrives and attaches his Kryptonite ring to a necklace, which he places around Superman’s neck in order to quell his super-human abilities (that the nanites feed off of). While Batman infiltrates New Gamorra through the sewers and a de-powered Superman and Huntress enter New Gamorra posing as reporters, Power Girl takes a direct approach and confronts Kaizen face-to-face. Kaizen tricks Power Girl into thinking that he injected her with nanites in order to find a bridge to her home of Universe 2. The idea of Kaizen’s bridge, which supposedly needs her Kryptonian 2 DNA for activation, is alluring enough that Power Girl inserts her hand into a DNA-replicating device. Batman enters the room just as Kaizen unleashes his “Army of Gamorra,” a group of genetically-made warriors with Kryptonian DNA. Batman and Power Girl fight the warriors for a while and are eventually assisted by Huntress and Superman, who wears a weird Toymaster-created armored Man of Steel suit that can subdue the nanites in his system. All of this hanging out with Huntress and Power Girl finally causes Batman and Superman to remember key parts (not all parts) of their memory-blocked initial Batman/Superman adventure on Earth-2 from six years ago. The four heroes defeat the “Army of Gamorra” just as Kaizen opens up a portal to a ravaged Earth-2, which, as per Darkseid’s bidding, has been destroyed by an evil “resurrected Superman-2″—actually the Bizarro known as Brutaal (either from Bizarroworld or from Earth-2) that mistakenly believes he is an evil Superman. Darkseid sends cosmic omega-level power through the portal and endows Kaizen with it. This omega-level power also burns out all the nanites in Superman and Power Girl. Despite Kaizen’s new found strength, Power Girl German-suplexes him through the wormhole. Moments later, Kaizen re-emerges with his master, the fake evil Superman-2! Our heroes are amazed to see that Superman-2 is now evil, not knowing that he is actually Bizarro in disguise. “Superman-2” orders Power Girl to return with him and sics some Parademons on Batman, Huntress, and Superman. The Parademons are easily defeated and the portal machine is destroyed with “Superman-2” and Kaizen stuck on the Earth-2 side of the Bleed.
Before Batman and Superman can reflect on the wild revelations from “First Contact,” an emergency occurs on the Chinese Space Station, which requires the World’s Finest to spring to action. Batman and Superman repair the damaged Chinese Space Station, but afterward Batman mysteriously slips into a coma inside the Fortress of Solitude. Superman surprises the SHADE (Superhuman Advance Defense Executive) organization by grabbing hold of the three inch floating “Ant Farm” sphere that houses their entire shrunken headquarters. The Man of Steel speaks to SHADE’s leader, Father Time, who is currently in the body of a young unnamed Japanese schoolgirl. Superman demands the assistance of their UN liaison, Dr. Ray Palmer. At the Fortress, Superman explains that a microscopic alien race has nestled itself in a blood vessel in Batman’s brain. Superman and Palmer shrink down and enter Batman’s brain, finding the tiny race of people, microscopic jungles, and a teeny spaceship. The heroes then fight Dr. Smashammer and Titan Super Gladiator. Using Palmer’s tech, Gladiator is able to eject himself from Batman’s brain and enlarge to human size in the Fortress. Superman takes down Smashammer while Palmer puts all of the foreign alien stuff into a micro-micro sphere, saving Batman’s life and waking him from his coma. Batman quickly beats the crap out of Gladiator. Superman and Palmer then burst out of Batman’s nose and return to normal size with the alien race tucked into the micro-sphere. Before departing, Palmer not only takes responsibility for caring for the mini-alien race, but also chooses his superhero name—The Atom. Unbeknown to Batman or Superman, Father Time and his top scientist Dr. Belroy have imbedded micro-trackers inside their bodies and can now track their every move.
Batman/Superman #12-15 take place before the Superman: Doomed tie-in issue of Batman/Superman #11. Batman and Superman have regained some of their blocked memories from their first ever encounter, which Superman refers to as happening “maybe five years ago”—not quite, more like six. Batman and Superman have also recently learned the horrible fate of their counterparts from Earth-2. Sensing that some of the blocked memories have been unleashed, Kaiyo appears and sends Batman and Superman back in time and through the Bleed to the middle of Darkseid’s invasion of Earth-2. There, Batman and Superman secretly bear witness as brutal events unfold. Kaiyo dares the heroes to intervene and alter the course of history, but Batman and Superman maintain their composure and allow events to unfold, rather than mess with the timeline. Sure enough, the Earth-2 versions of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Lois Lane, and Alfred Pennyworth all die while Helena Wayne and Kara Zor-El are blasted to DC’s primary Earth. Their sacrifices all serve to repel Darkseid’s invasion, saving Earth-2. A pissed-off Kaiyo then brings Batman and Superman back to the present on their home Earth but erases their memories completely! Kaiyo is then snatched up by the angry King of Hell, Lord Satanus. Kaiyo, to save his own skin, offers the mind-wiped Batman and Superman to Satanus. In Gotham, a naked and confused Superman helps Catwoman fend off killer robots controlled by an escaped Ralph Mangubat. Meanwhile, an equally confused Batman, despite having no idea who he is, still defeats an escaped Scarecrow. The Batmobile then takes Batman home on autopilot where Alfred quickly rushes the mindless Bruce upstairs for a high society benefit gala being held at Wayne Manor. When Lois Lane comes to Gotham to catch the story on Mangubat, the villain’s robots take her hostage, prompting Superman and Catwoman to come to her rescue. Bruce ditches the gala early and takes mayor Hady’s wife wingsuit flying downtown. The cocky Bruce then suits-up as Batman and joins the fracas involving a mind-wiped Superman, Catwoman, and Lois. Catwoman and Superman take-off while Batman saves an importunate Lois, who learns that he has lost his memories. Scarecrow briefly appears and sets off an explosion, not only interrupting their conversation, but killing several people. Back in the Batcave, a solemn Bruce asks a teary Alfred how he came to be and what he must do to get his head straight. Meanwhile, after chatting with Toymaster and upon Catwoman’s urging, a confused and still-shirtless Superman decides he should become Gotham’s ultimate fascist protector. The Man of Steel (with Catwoman) crashes into City Hall and declares martial law. Batman then takes a spare Batgirl costume and, while flirting, delivers it to Lois Lane, who suits-up and joins him on patrol! Batman and Batgirl Lois come across Superman, Catwoman, and the GCPD Swat Team, which is in the process of tearing-up Mangubat and his robot drones. Batman fights the overly violent Superman, but Superman wraps him up in a rebar cage. Lois then kisses Batman (!) which causes him to regain an relive all of his memories in mere seconds. The real Batman is back. He calls tyrant Superman by his real name, which causes Superman to get his memories back as well. Batman quickly departs to bust Scarecrow before returning home to the Batcave. A dejected Superman returns Lois home to Metropolis. Way out in dark realms unknown, Lord Satanus laughs at Kaiyo’s failure and decides to keep the trickster New God of Apokolips as his permanent slave.
–REFERENCE: In Batman and… #29 (“Batman & Aquaman”). Batman orders Alfred to begin a search for Two-Face, since he’s been dead quiet since “The Big Burn.” Meanwhile, Batman begins a comprehensive search for Ra’s Al Ghul’s cloaked island hideout.
–Secret Origins Vol. 3 #2
The entirety of this issue is a bunch of flashbacks detailing the history of Batman’s origin—except for the final splash page, which shows Batman dramatically leaping down from his perch high atop a Gotham building. (The narration seems to place this image a few years earlier, but if we go by the dates given, it should probably go here. Honestly, this image could go just about anywhere and it wouldn’t make a difference.)
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 #35. Batman, having been after it for nearly two years, finally obtains Hephaestus’ Bind of Veils from the magickal black market. This relic of the gods, once used by Odysseus to fool the Cyclops, can be used to cast illusions (misdirection spells) that cause the affected person to live out a scenario that isn’t actually happening in real life. Batman adds this item to his anti-Justice League contingency plan, specifically to combat a rogue Wonder Woman. With this final item obtained, Batman adds it to his monster anti-Justice League war-bot (to use against the heroes should they ever go rogue or get mind-controlled).
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #33 and Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #35. Batman upgrades his anti-Apokolips Hellbat-suit with some new tech, including photonic invisibility. He also moves the Hellbat-suit into safe storage in the Justice League satellite.
THE HUNT FOR ROBIN
————————–Batman and… #29 (“Batman & Aquaman”)
————————–Batman and… #30 (“Batman & Wonder Woman”)
————————–Batman and… #31 (“Batman & Frankenstein”)
————————–Batman and… #32 (“Batman & Ra’s Al Ghul”)
Batman locates Ra’s Al Ghul’s cloaked island hideout and travels there (with Titus) aboard a giant Bat-sub that is shaped like a stingray. Aquaman joins the Dark Knight and together they storm the island, fighting dozens of ninjas and ninja man-bats. Fearing the intervention of more Justice Leaguers, Ra’s decides to destroy everything on the island and bail. Batman and Aquaman discover a bevy of bloody torn-apart sperm whales that clearly have just given birth to brand new metahuman “Heretics.” Inside Ra’s Al Ghul’s HQ, which is falling to pieces, Batman learns a few important facts from a sputtering computer. First, that Lord Death Man’s harvested “Lazarus Blood” has been corrupted and made useless. Second, that Ra’s has been trying to resurrect his deceased daughter and grandson, but has been unsuccessful. And third, that there is a supposed Lazarus Pit on Paradise Island. As Ra’s taunts Batman over an intercom, the freshly birthed “Sons of Batman,” grotesque mindless semi-aborted monster clones of Damian, attack. Aquaman controls the half-aquatic Damian beasts and shuttles them away to Atlantis for permanent safekeeping. Ra’s and his assistant Algon, with the corpses of Talia and Damian in their cargo hold, fly away toward Paradise Island after shaking a persistent Batman-off of their jet. Later, Batman visits Diana in London and asks her to escort him to Paradise Island. Wonder Woman takes Batman to Paradise Island, where he is confronted and accosted by a group of man-hating Amazons led by Aleka. Eventually, they let him pass. Wonder Woman then visits her frozen mother Hippolyta (who was turned into a statue by a jealous Hera). Wonder Woman tells Batman, for the first time, that she is the daughter of Zeus, to which Batman feigns surprise. After learning of the hidden location of the Cavern of Neekta from the Oracle of Delphi (Pythia), Batman and Wonder Woman converge on the site. There, they find Ra’s Al Ghul and his small army about to dip Damian into the black Neekta pool. Ra’s mentions that he believes the Neekta pool to be one of two mind-erasing Lazarus pits that exist at mystical nexuses. But Ra’s is wrong. Once his men dip a supposed magickal activating crystal—the very crystal power source that was used to rapidly age Damian when he was born—into the pool, the Neekta comes alive in the form of a homicidal monster that hungers for light. After much bloodshed, Wonder Woman calms the Neekta with her lasso. During the craziness, Ra’s and his man-bats fly off with Damian and Talia’s corpses. Batman and Wonder Woman accompany the now serene Neekta to the shores of Paradise Island where the sunrise disintegrates it. Less than 48 hours after his last confrontation with Ra’s Al Ghul on Paradise Island, Batman tracks Ra’s to North China and then to Tibet. Batman and Titus trek to Nanda Parbat only to find that it has vanished! Frankenstein angrily ambushes Batman, but the Dark Knight quells his rage by apologizing for their last encounter. Frankenstein explains that, as a member of the Justice League Dark, he fought with them against Felix Faust and Necro in Nanda Parbat (during Forever Evil). The fight so angered the demigods and spirits of the city that they moved Nanda Parbat to another dimension. Frankenstein agrees to help stop Ra’s from resurrecting Damian and Talia. Frankenstein, Batman, and Titus march into the Himalayan heights only to be attacked by weird yeti monsters. Batman is able to reason with the monsters, who guide them to Ra’s mountain lair in Nishapur, the evil underground city that was once the dark half of Nanda Parbat. Frankenstein, Batman, and Titus arrive. But they are too late—Talia’s sarcophagus has already been dipped into the Lazarus Pit, which has been re-activated using the magickal crystal. Ra’s Al Ghul taunts Batman and explains that this Lazarus Pit is powerful enough to raise anyone from the dead, provided they are immersed completely for 24 hours—although it will erase all their memories and could make them insane. With Talia’s sarcophagus filled with the Lazarus fluid, Ra’s attempts to lower his grandson’s coffin into the goop as well. Thus ensues a melee pitting League of Assassins ninjas versus Batman, Frankenstein, and yetis. Batman grabs Damian’s sarcophagus and runs out into the cold. Ra’s follows him and they slug it out in a violent boxing match. All of a sudden, a Boom Tube opens and Glorious Godfrey emerges with an envoy of Parademons and Justifiers!
————————–Robin Rises: Omega #1
————————–Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #33-34
Glorious Godfrey and his Apokolptian troops have come for Ra’s Al Ghul’s magickal activating crystal, which Godfrey reveals is a sliver of the Chaos Shard! Batman and Frankenstein are forced to join forces with the League of Assassins and an all out war begins as Godfrey attempts to reclaim the Chaos Shard sliver, which is hidden Damian’s casket. During the fight, Batman discreetly tags Ra’s Al Ghul’s bloodstream with a radioactive tracking marker (as mentioned in Batman Eternal #46). Ra’s Al Ghul falls, along with Talia’s corpse, into a deep ravine. Damian’s casket opens, spilling out the Chaos Shard sliver, which Batman clutches onto. While holding it, Batman remembers even more of his partially memory-blocked initial Batman/Superman adventure with the Man of Steel on Earth-2 from years ago. (Not long ago, Batman recalled other parts of that very adventure when he met Huntress and Power Girl as well.) The sliver also gives Batman a vision that a resurrected Damian will “save them all.” Godfrey blasts Batman and takes the Chaos Shard sliver. He then orders his men to take Damian’s casket as well, citing that there is a residual trace of the sliver on his body. Just then, the JL—sans Superman—shows up (having responded to an alert signal sent out by Batman) and begins cleaning house. Godfrey and his remaining troops open up a Boom Tube and leap through back to Apokolips. Batman attempts to follow, but Shazam prevents him from doing so. A pissed-off Batman then punches the crap out of both Shazam and Lex Luthor and declares that he will go to Apokolips to get his damn son at all costs! Batman quarrels with the JL, who claim that a trip to Apokolips is too dangerous, before teleporting back to satellite HQ. There, the Dark Knight tries to access his anti-Apokolips Hellbat-suit, but the JL shows up again to stop him. After a brief struggle, Batman backs down and goes home. Meanwhile, on Apokolips, Glorious Godfrey delivers the Chaos Shard sliver and Damian’s corpse to Darkseid’s son, Kalibak, who plans on using both to build a “Chaos Cannon.” Back on Earth, a pissed-off Bruce demolishes Damian’s tombstone. Superman checks-up on him and, after being satisfied that Bruce has given up on his dangerous quest, departs. Bruce trudges underground to the Batcave where the Bat-Family—Alfred, Red Hood, Batgirl, Red Robin, and Titus—are suited-up and ready for orders. Batman mentions that this is the first time since “Death of the Family” that all six of them have all been gathered in the Batcave at the same time. Batman unmasks and then apologizes for having been an asshole to each of them ever since “Death of the Family.” Bruce then shows his Bat-Family a corpse of a Parademon and a Mother Box, explaining that he now knows how to activate a Boom Tube and that he is basically going on a suicide mission to retrieve and revive Damian. Bruce also tells his Fam to continue crime-fighting should he fail to return. After they leave, Dick swings down from the shadows of the stalactites. Batman implies that Dick should return to the mantle of the Bat if he doesn’t survive his mission. Batman then has Dick pull some Spyral strings, luring the JL to different corners of the globe with Spyral tech holograms of super-villains. While the JL is distracted, Batman boards the JL satellite, easily defeats Captain Cold, and puts on the Hellbat-suit. Surprisingly, Lex Luthor helps Batman, increasing his suit’s strength and getting rid of Cyborg’s embedded tracking device. Batman then booms to Apokolips.
ROBIN RISES Continued…
————————–Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #35-37
————————–Robin Rises: Alpha #1
On Apokolips, Batman starts kicking major Parademon and Justifier ass. Back home, Alfred feeds Alfred the cat, Titus, and Bat-Cow in the Batcave. Red Robin, Red Hood, and Batgirl return with a plan to use Cyborg to jump to Apokolips to help Batman. But before they put the plan into action, the trio meets-up with Batwoman, who is just finishing-off a monstrous gun-wielding spider creature downtown. They tell Batwoman that while they are gone, she must be the main protector of the city. Cyborg is then lured into the Batcave under false pretenses. There, the young heroes knock-out Cyborg and plug him into an Internet 3.0 simulation. Alfred then gives Red Robin, Red Hood, and Batgirl prototype anti-Apokolips armored costumes that were intended for Robin. Using the sleeping Cyborg’s circuitry to open a Boom Tube, the trio leaps through the portal. Cyborg wakes up just in time to follow them (with Titus leaping through as well). Rather than stay pissed-off, Cyborg decides to assist the heroes in their quest. Meanwhile, Batman brutally injures Glorious Godfrey. Kalibak activates his “Chaos Cannon,” demonstrating its vast Death Star-esque power by obliterating one of Apokolips’ many moons. The Chaos Cannon steals the life-force of whatever it destroys. Batgirl, Red Robin, Red Hood, Titus, and Cyborg fight their way through Apokoliptian hordes consisting of bizarre warriors, rabid serfs, and Hellhounds. Meanwhile, an injured Batman battles through the main brigade of Darkseid’s Parademon Army. Eventually, all the heroes join together and take down Kalibak at the site of the Chaos Cannon, damaging the weapon in the process. But Darkseid has seen enough and finally intervenes. Darkseid smashes Batman’s Mother Box, prompting a slug-fest between the two while Batgirl tries to get a damaged Cyborg’s systems online to boom out of there. Batman begins to succumb to Chaos Shard radiation poisoning, but uses the Shard to block and absorb Darkseid’s Omega Beams. The entire Bat Family (with Damian’s sarcophagus) booms back to the Batcave where Batman uses the Omega-charged Shard to heal himself and bring Damian back to life! Father and son embrace before Batman passes out. Batman immediately wakes up in time to help his family fight Kalibak, who bursts through the still open interdimensional portal. Kalibak wails on the Bat Family until Damian shows-off his new super-speed and super-strength powers to easily defeat him. Batman forces Kalibak through the portal and Cyborg closes it. Damian is warmly greeted by the entire Bat Family, including Alfred the Cat, Titus, and Bat-Cow. Meanwhile, in Nanda Parbat, Talia (minus her memories) emerges alive and well! Later, Alfred, Bruce, and Damian chat in a snowy Wayne Cemetery plot. The Bat Signal lights up the night sky and the Dynamic Duo is back in action!
–Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #38-40
An excited Robin wakes up his dad for patrol and it’s not long before the super-powered Boy Wonder is repelling bullets off of his chest and swinging around crooks like ragdolls. A pissed-off Batman scolds Robin and grounds him (i.e. takes him off of patrol duty for a week). The next morning, Bruce spikes Damian’s breakfast with a homing tracer. That night, Batman goes on patrol alone. Damian has a nightmare and accidentally smashes through the ceiling into Alfred’s room. Damian then suits-up, visits his mom’s empty grave, and flies across the globe to his her former island HQ. Alfred convinces Batman to give his son some privacy and not chase him. After smashing all of the cloning equipment in Talia’s old lab, Damian shoots deep into the ocean and darts into Atlantis to confront Aquaman. The Boy Wonder demands the return of his deformed clone brothers (the so-called “Sons of Batman”). Aquaman obliges and delivers the creature-Damians. Feeling a natural kindred spirit with his monster brothers, Robin lets them live happily on Talia’s former island. Later, Robin snatches up Penguin, Killer Croc, Bat Head, Bootface, Smush, and Scallop, ties them all up in a neat ball, and threatens them with his new powers until Batman arrives to put a stop to the macho display. The next day, Bruce takes Damian fishing and they talk about his return from the afterlife and his new powers. Then it’s down to the Batcave for more tests on Damian. (Bruce has been testing Damian’s powers non-stop ever since his return.) Several nights later, Robin smashes up a stolen tank and apprehends three crooks, prompting another concerned-dad discussion from Batman. Batman and the Justice League then set a plan into motion that will hopefully drain Robin’s powers, into motion. Cyborg remote controls a giant cybernetic kaiju called Mister Roboto outside of Hashima Island, Japan, steering it toward helpless cargo ships, actually junkers loaned by Lucius Fox. Batman then invites Robin to help fight the beast, encouraging him to use the full force of his power, hoping that they will dissipate. Robin easily demolishes Roboto before departing. A pumped-up Damian completes the long-unfinished Wayne Family portrait before stuffing his face and passing out due to sheer exhaustion. Sure enough, in the morning, his powers are gone. After a loving father-son talk, the Dynamic Duo hits the streets, ready for action.
–DC Sneak Peek: Bat-Mite
Batman fights two-thirds of the “Percentages Trio” while the third member tries to blow him up with a rocket launcher. Thankfully, the 5th Dimensional magickal imp Bat-Mite appears and takes out the bad guys, but not before causing a lot of collateral damage. Bat-Mite introduces himself and asks to be Batman’s full-time partner, to which Batman tells him to piss off. Bat-Mite realizes that his hero Batman doesn’t need any help and poofs away, deciding to offer his services to the rest of the DCU instead.
Bat-Mite is arrested and put before a 5th Dimensional tribunal of imp judges (secretly the Justice Mites of America) for wantonly and openly messing with human affairs (i.e. for trying to help Batman). His sentence is to be banished to Earth-0. There, with nothing better to do, Bat-Mite falls into old habits, stealing the Batmobile in an attempt to corral the doctor-themed henchmen of super-villain Dr. Trauma. After wrecking the Batmobile, Batman arrives and busts the baddies before departing with a shell-shocked kidnapping victim. Bat-Mite is then knocked-out by Dr. Trauma’s third hired-hood—a sexy nurse named Agnes who looks 22 but is actually 97 thanks to extreme plastic surgery. After meeting Dr. Trauma, Bat-Mite is thrown into a dungeon with other prisoners including a captive Hawkman! Dr. Trauma plans on switching her own brain with Hawkman’s in a bizarre surgical procedure.
–REFERENCE: In Bat-Mite #3. Batman tells Robin about Bat-Mite and then sends the Boy Wonder to blow up the wrecked Batmobile so that no one will steal its tech secrets or weaponry.
–NOTE: In Robin: Son of Batman #1. Robin places old League of Assassins acquaintance Ravi as caretaker of Talia’s island (aka Al Ghul Island). Ravi lives on the island with the “Sons of Batman” and a giant bat-dragon creature called Goliath, which was once Damian’s pet when he lived with mom.
–Batman & Robin Vol. 2 Annual #3
A new Justice League teleporter is delivered to the Batcave. Batman decides to disable it for safety purposes, but not before zipping up to the JL satellite for monitor duty. Mere hours later, Robin and Titus fix the teleporter and make an uninvited visit to dad aboard the satellite. When scanners pick up light coming from within the original 1969 lunar rover on the moon, Batman and Robin don spacesuits and investigate. The Dynamic Duo is stunned when they peer inside to see deformed alien versions of astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins—creatures that have slowly formed themselves out of tiny bits of skin and hair DNA left inside the Apollo 11 capsule back in 1969. After following the aliens to the dark side of the moon, the Dynamic Duo finds a giant spaceship cobbled together from bits of old Apollo capsules and various space junk. After infiltrating the ship, our heroes learn that the aliens want to take over Earth. Robin gets ejected while Batman fights the aliens and re-routes the ship to crash into a Hawaiian volcano. Robin then pilots a JL ship and catches Batman, who ditches the plummeting ship in a scene right out of Star Trek Into Darkness or Gravity. Batman, Robin, and Titus land in Hawaii and enjoy their victory.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Vol. 2 Annual #4. Powers Industrial is taken over by Geri Powers, the daughter of its former CEOs, the evil Joseph and Maria Powers. Unlike her parents, Geri is a good soul. Bruce meets with Geri several times. Bruce will also continue meeting with Geri in a business capacity for the next year or so. These meetings will have to be imagined, moving forward, on our chronology.
–REFERENCE: In Batman Beyond Vol. 7 #6. Bruce purchases an abandoned former Court of Owls mansion to use as a safe-house. He secretly installs a teleporter that has access to the Justice League satellite headquarters. The Justice League isn’t told about this, but the Bat Family is made aware.
–REFERENCE: In We are Robin #1. Batman begins using remote operated surveillance drones that are disguised as bats.
–FLASHBACK: From Gotham Academy #18—and referenced in Gotham Academy #9. June. Batman apprehends teenager Tristan Grey, who is afflicted with an uncontrollable Langstrom man-bat virus. Batman has Tristan enrolled into the upcoming school year at Gotham Academy to be monitored under the watchful eye of the institution’s Headmaster Collingwood Vaughn Hammer. Within the span of a month, however, Hammer will put Tristan under the care of comparative geneticist and science teacher Dr. Achilles Milo, who also works at Arkham Asylum. Tristan will be under Milo’s evil watch until the professor is fired from Gotham Academy in September.
–REFERENCE: In Gotham Academy #1, Gotham Academy #11, and Gotham Academy: Second Semester #7. Bruce personally awards the prestigious Wayne Foundation Scholarship, which will pay for room and board at Gotham Academy, to sophomore-age Olive Silverlock, daughter of jailed super-villain Calamity (Sybil Silverlock). Olive immediately moves from an orphanage to the fancy private campus, where she will live in preparation for the start of school in September. While talented and smart, Olive is really getting the scholarship for two reasons: first, to keep her in the dark about her mother, whom she has no idea is a villainous metahuman (thanks to a traumatic repressed memory block) and, second, to monitor her for any possible uncontrollable pyrokinetic ability that may have been genetically inherited. (Batman has pulled the same act with Tristan Grey.) Genetics are not on Olive’s side. Literally everyone on the Silverlock family tree has been a schizophrenic pyromaniac. Because of this, Batman will quietly and secretly monitor Olive moving forward. The Dark Knight gives Olive’s details to Headmaster Hammer and teacher Isla MacPherson, who will both monitor the girl closely as well.
–Batman Eternal #1-4
The biggest asshole on the Force, Jack Forbes, has just been promoted from lieutenant to major, which brings super-cop Jason Bard from Detroit to Gotham to fill the vacant GCPD spot. Lieutenant Bard is anxious to meet his hero Jim Gordon, but Gordon is busy fighting Professor Pyg across town. Batman escapes from a Pyg death trap and switches to his robot mech-suit to help Gordon rescue some kids from being turned into Dollotrons. While Batman corrals Pyg, Gordon chases Pyg’s accomplice, Derek Grady, into the subway. There, Gordon sees a false image of a gun in the perp’s hand, which he shoots at. (This false image has been projected by hired Brazilian metahuman Dr. Falsario.) The bullet flies through the false image and hits a station power box. The power box, clearly rigged to explode, blows up and causes a massive derailment that results in the deaths of 162 train riders. Despite the obvious setup, Major Forbes, as Gordon’s biggest rival, accuses him acting negligently while in pursuit of a criminal. Forbes orders Lieutenant Bard to arrest Gordon and Bard reluctantly complies. In the shadows, a mystery man notes to himself that his evil plan is under way—all part of a larger scheme to hurt not Batman but specifically Bruce Wayne. As Gotham Gazette editor-in-chief Mario Ito and his top reporters, Warren Spacey and Vicki Vale, drop the news of the Commissioner’s arrest to the public, Batman visits Gordon in jail to show his support. Meanwhile, the Spectre (!) checks things out at the crime scene. At Arkham, a crazed Dr. Phosphorus is haunted by the ghost of Deacon Joseph Blackfire! At the Gotham MTA HQ, Batman and tag-along Catwoman view some security footage and ID Grady, realizing that Carmine Falcone is back in town and has set-up Gordon. Across town, Falcone reunites with Mayor Hady, having returned to Gotham for the first time in five years (continuity error—should read six years). In the suburbs outside of Gotham, teenager Stephanie Brown accidentally walks in on a super-villain meeting being held in her own home, overhearing a plot to destroy Gotham. Unknown to Stephanie, her dad is super-villain Cluemaster (Arthur Brown). Also present at the meeting are Firefly (Ted Carson), Lock-Up (Lyle Bolton), Signalman, and a shadowy fifth man, who tells Cluemaster to kill his own daughter. SPOILER ALERT: The shadowy mystery fifth man is Lincoln March. (I won’t spoil the identity of the secret Big Bad.) Cluemaster complies with the request to execute his daughter, but Stephanie manages to escape. Meanwhile, Batman roughs-up Penguin and informs him that Falcone is back in town. Falcone begins an all-out war against Penguin, torching all of his safe-houses and weapons caches across town. Batman takes down some of Falcone’s men as Penguin gears up for a reprisal. The GCPD begins to mount up for an intervention, but they are stopped by Mayor Hady, who appoints Forbes as the new interim commissioner! Commissioner Forbes puts Batman at the top of the Most Wanted List. Gordon then has a hearing and is sentenced to remain in Blackgate, without bail, until his trial for manslaughter. Later, an angry Batgirl wails on Pyg’s henchmen (including Mr. Toad!) before being stopped by Batman for using excessive violence. Meanwhile, a panicked Stephanie calls her mom, Crystal Brown, asking for help. Crystal reveals her allegiance to her ex-husband and immediately reports Stephanie’s location to Cluemaster. (Stephanie will later narrowly avoid being killed in a drive-by shooting, as seen via flashback in Batman Eternal #8.) The next day, Batman crashes into Falcone’s penthouse and confronts him face-to-face. Falcone claims that he only wants a “peaceful, orderly, and efficient” Gotham and a little revenge against Catwoman. Batman walks, leaving only an injunction for the notorious crime boss. Back at the Batcave, Batgirl reveals, after having watched the security tapes, that Brazilian drug lord cum actor Gonzolo Dominguez is the top suspect involved with her dad’s frame-up. Batman seems doubtful, so Batgirl goes off alone. Meanwhile, Blackgate’s Warden Agatha Zorbatos, whom Gordon has run afoul of in the past, sticks it to the ex-commish and places him in the same dangerous prison wing with Ignatius Ogilvy, The Wrath, and Amygdala. Although, curiously, Gordon gets a cellmate in Leo, one of the only decent men in Blackgate. (This “Leo” is none other than Rex “The Lion” Calabrese, Gotham’s top crime boss prior to Falcone.)
–Detective Comics Vol. 2 #30-32 (“ICARUS” Part 1)
Batman saves some kidnapped kids that are being forced by small-timer Jonny Lo to act as drug runners for the drug Icarus. Before the Caped Crusader can bust Jonny, who stole the Icarus in Detective Comics Vol. 2 Annual #3, the crook is rescued by Holter, leader of the Kings of the Sun. The Kings of the Sun return to Jonny to his brother, the Squid. Later, as owner of the slummy East End Waterfront, Bruce meets with a new potential business partner, Elena Aguila, who wants his help in reconstructing the property purely as a positive social act despite the fact that it would be a financial disaster for Wayne Enterprises. Bruce meets with Elena at her daughter Annie’s pro motocross event at the Gotham Arena. At this unorthodox meeting, Elena appeals to Bruce’s philanthropic side and he agrees to work with her “Healthy Families Initiative.” In doing so, Bruce shuns corrupt Congressman Sam Young, who had proposed a reconstruction plan that would have been less socially progressive but brought more revenue to the city and the parties involved. (Congressman Young is in Carmine Falcone’s pocket as well.) Later in the Batcave, Bruce works on Damian’s old motorbike, in an attempt to fulfill a promise he made to do so when the boy was still alive. Alarms ring and Bruce rushes upstairs to find a human-torched Elena dead on his doorstep, a victim of an Icarus overdose. Harvey Bullock, having dealt with Icarus before, is on the scene to accuse Bruce of being culpable for Elena’s death. After a cursory investigation of the outer Wayne Manor grounds, Batman quickly deduces that Elena was murdered. Going undercover as a narco with an EMP mask disguise, Bruce uses himself as bait to put a tracking device on a car linked to the Icarus trade. The plan works, although Bruce gets shot at point blank range, taking a painful wallop into his kevlar vest that gives him fractured ribs and a bruised lung. Later, Bruce attends Elena’s funeral and is threatened by Bullock again. After the funeral, Batman follows the tracer to the waterfront where he finds child slaves packed into shipping containers. Batman frees the kids and then starts beating the crap out of their kidnapper, Sumo. (Batman and Sumo have crossed paths only once before, during the riot scene in Batman #1. This is their first genuine one-on-one fight, which is acknowledged by both parties as they spar.) A battered Sumo tells Batman that the Squid’s crew is the behind Elena’s death. Not far away, Holter and one of his Kings of the Sun henchmen load up a nuclear metahuman in stasis onto a truck and drive off. Batman then leads Bullock in the right direction and meets with the grieving Annie, who has turned to drugs. While Bullock shakes down corrupt Wayne Enterprises VP Jeb Lester, who is linked to Elena’s murder, Batman goes after the Squid at his abandoned aquarium HQ. There, Batman is dropped into a vat containing a giant squid named Gertrude. Batman survives the encounter, but winds up stuck in the middle of a fight between the Squid’s gang and Holter’s Kings of the Sun.
–Detective Comics Vol. 2 #33-34 (“ICARUS” Part 2)
Holter kills the Squid and takes Jonny hostage just as the GCPD arrives in an attempt to arrest everyone, including Batman, who high-tails it out of there. Meanwhile, after brutalizing Jeb Lester and getting a tip from Detective Nancy “Maggie” Yip, Harvey Bullock heads toward the abandoned Kane Power Plant. Likewise, Alfred leads Batman to the Kings of the Sun’s hideout, which leads to Batman learning that they are using the old Kane Power Plant as a secret Icarus-cooking lab and distribution center. Concurrently, Holter visits a strung-out-on-Icarus Annie Aguila. He reveals that he is her biological father and throws a badly beaten Jonny at her feet, telling her to take revenge since he was the one who killed her mom. (Jonny killed Elena, on Holter’s orders, in order to snuff out her waterfront rehab program that would have put the kibosh on Holter’s Icarus lab.) Annie pulls the trigger and executes Jonny. At the Kane Power Plant, Batman confronts Bullock and accuses him of covering up his old partner’s crimes “six years ago” (aka during “Zero Year”). Again, Year Zero was SEVEN YEAR AGO. This is a continuity error. Batman and Bullock begin slugging it out as Holter’s radioactive man explodes with nuclear fury, destroying the East End Waterfront. Batman suits-up in his armored Hazmat costume and high-tails it over to the East End where he fights gas mask-wearing Kings of the Sun members and the glowing pink radioactive man, who is revealed to be the unwilling primary source of the drug Icarus, which is literally sucked out of his body. Batman defeats the Kings of the Sun and the Icarus Man flies away in a frazzled rage. Gertrude, the giant squid, grabs Holter and drags him to his death in Gotham Bay. Bullock tries to arrest Batman, but the Caped Crusader easily escapes him. Later, Bruce chats with Annie about all that has occurred before Annie angrily leaves Gotham for good. In the wreckage of the East End, Bullock and Yip go to retrieve the remaining crate of the Icarus drug only to find it gone. In it’s place a spray-painted anarchy symbol. Anarky is back in Gotham!
–Batman Eternal #5
Three days after the horrible train crash, Alfred visits Red Robin at one of his “Robin’s Nest” HQs. Red Robin explains that Pyg’s involvement on the night of the accident is merely a red herring—Pyg’s victims that night were actually infected by a highly advanced nanotechnology before he got to them. Having traced the nano-virus to the Philip Kane Memorial Projects, home to Harper and Cullen Row, Red Robin goes there to investigate. Batman meets him at the projects and they have a strained conversation about the nano-swarm outbreak, “Death of the Family,” Damian’s death, and Dick’s “death.” In the middle of the one-sided talk, the Dark Knight abruptly and coldly leaves to quell another clash between Falcone’s men and Penguin’s men across town. Also investigating the projects are Vicki Vale and her sidekick Joey Day, following up leads on Falcone’s secret war on Penguin. Vicki questions some seedy gentlemen associated with Falcone, which nearly results in something very bad happening to her until Harper Row saves her and brings both Vicki and Joey into her apartment. The Falcone goons then bust into the apartment with lethal intentions, but Red Robin falls through the ceiling, tangled up with a child victim of the nano-swarm. The microscopic nanites pour out of the kid in the form of bright shining angry tentacles. The nanobot swarm takes down the Falcone goons before Red Robin subdues it. Infected by the swarm as well, Cullen Row drops into unconsciousness. Vicki tortures the information for her story out of one of the baddies, resulting in the Gazette running a front page story about the hidden gang war. Meanwhile, in Tokyo, Batman’s former trainer, Sergei Alexandrov, receives an alert telling him that the nanobots have been activated.
–Batman Eternal #6-9
Batman and Batwing tag trucks with tracking tracers in a lot belonging to Carmine Falcone. While they do so, Gentleman Ghost attacks only to be quickly exorcised with a sliver of Nth metal. Later, Jim Corrigan visits Bruce at Wayne Manor and warns him of a supernatural activity related to a “summoning” that will soon occur in the vicinity of Arkham Asylum. Batman is too busy with the Falcone-Penguin war to check it out, but he sends Batwing to accompany Corrigan. As Batwing and Corrigan prepare to enter Arkham, something sinister has already been going on in the maze-like catacombs that run beneath the structure. Joker’s Daughter has begun an occult rite that involves hacking off the limbs of inmates and sending them into the maze. Notably, an armless Maxie Zeus, victim of Joker’s Daughter’s twisted game, is present to watch the ritual continue. Meanwhile, across town, Batman deals with an explosion at a cafe—collateral damage in the Falcone-Penguin war. Batman then tails one of the tagged trucks only to watch it get blown up by a freed Dr. Phosphorus, working on behalf of Penguin. Another explosion rocks Gotham. This time, Professor Pyg’s laboratory gets burnt to the ground, courtesy of Pyg’s associate Bixby “Roadrunner” Rhodes (Tiger Shark’s partner), who has betrayed Pyg to work for Falcone. Batman responds to the conflagration only to get into a fight with Pyg and dozens of Dollotrons. Meanwhile, at the Iceberg Casino, Catwoman makes fools of Lark and Fishnet Face (Otto Kruft) and then pushes around Penguin, accusing him of pushing around the Gotham Undergrounders. Tiger Shark, hired by Falcone, blows up the entire casino, sinking it and millions of dollars in cash into Gotham Bay. Batman wraps-up Pyg in a nice little package for the GCPD, but Commissioner Forbes lets the super-villain go free! Batman then joins Catwoman to help in the relief effort at the site of the former Iceberg Casino. Pyg then gets revenge for the destruction of his lab by blowing-up Rhodes’ car dealership. (Rhodes miraculously survives without a scratch somehow.) Batman then spends the entire night shutting down Falcone operations all over the city, but all of his busts walk free thanks to Forbes’ new rule. Later, Lieutenant Bard and Vicki Vale investigate the scene of a brutal homicide, which had nearly also resulted in the death of Stephanie Brown two days earlier. When night falls, Forbes invites Batman atop police HQ for a face-to-face meeting, during which he plans to arrest the Dark Knight. Bard winds up “accidentally” saving Batman and helping him evade capture. Afterward, Forbes smashes the Bat Signal with a sledgehammer. Batman then departs for Hong Kong—the place that Falcone fled to when he was ousted from Gotham—to dig up dirt on the crime boss. British Special Reconnaissance Regiment agent Julia Pennyworth, already in Hong Kong, watches with keen interest as the Batplane flies into the city. Batman fights off some Ghost Dragons before meeting with Batman Japan (Jiro Osamu), who has flown in from his native country. Jiro explains that Shen Fang, leader of the Ghost Dragons, recently won a five-yearlong gang war for control of Hong Kong’s underworld against Falcone, the supposed reason Falcone has gone back to Gotham. At the Wayne Industries penthouse, which is both a secret bunker HQ for Casey Washington’s ongoing Batman Incorporated efforts and Jiro’s Hong Kong “Batcave,” Jiro, Kanaria (formerly “Lolita Canary”), and Master Hong brief Batman about Falcone’s war against Fang. Batman has Batman goes to Fang’s HQ to confront him only to run into Julia. Although Batman has no idea who she is, Julia explains that she has been working to bring down Fang for years and doesn’t want Batman to stand in her way. Fang enters and stabs Julia. Batman quickly takes down the gangster and learns that Fang didn’t actually win the gang war—Falcone simply bought him out. Batman does a background check on the unconscious and injured Julia and is shocked to discover that she is Alfred’s daughter. He flies her back to Gotham to recuperate at Wayne Manor. In Gotham, Catwoman is captured by Falcone. NOTE: From this point forward, Batman (as a superhero and as Bruce Wayne) severs all ties to Batman Incorporated. No more funding, no more interaction. It’s finally dead in the water.
–Batman Eternal #10
Two days have now passed since Rhodes’ car dealership was blown up. Falcone abuses a restrained Catwoman, but while doing so accidentally spills the beans that he is working on behalf of someone else. Professor Pyg and his animal-human hybrid monsters known as “Farm Hands” then attack Carmine Falcone head on. At Wayne Manor, Bruce summons Jason Todd and tasks him with a mission to follow Batgirl to South America in order to watch over her and keep her out of trouble. Meanwhile, Stephanie Brown has been secretly living in the Gotham Public Library and writing blogs exposing her father as the villainous Cluemaster, much to the chagrin of dear ol’ dad. Stephanie also blogs about his notorious plans she overheard. As the media and police surround Falcone’s HQ, Batman swoops in via Batplane, takes down Pyg and his Farm Hands, and rescues Catwoman. Catwoman tells Batman that Falcone is merely a pawn in a bigger game.
- COLLIN COLSHER: Lex Luthor is featured in the first Unchained arc. He’s still in prison, which places this arc before Forever Evil. However, the scarred version of his face is not shown, which has to simply be an artist mistake.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: The ENTIRE Harley Quinn Vol. 2 series and all of its spin-off one-shots—including the Valentine’s Day Special and Road Trip Special—seem to be mostly told from Harley Quinn’s point of view, making every single panel apocryphal, possibly half-made-up, and only semi-canonical. Canon or not, this is a Valentine’s Day story so it has to go here on the calendar. It also features Bruce Wayne, who is still wealthy and in charge of Wayne Enterprises. This means this is a pre-Batman Eternal story, hence placement here as well.
Also note that, in Harley Quinn Vol. 2 and its special issues, Harley does not seem to be a member of the Suicide Squad and lives freely in Brooklyn, ostensibly contradicting what occurs in the simultaneous Suicide Squad series, which shows us that Harley is a member of the team. (Likewise, Suicide Squad makes no mention of Harley’s jovial Brooklyn life.) If Harley Quinn Vol. 2 is meant to be canon we must assume that Harley is living a dual life, mostly free of the Suicide Squad, but still beholden to them for missions every once and a while in order to maintain her ostensible semblance of autonomy. Again, feel free to regard all of Harley Quinn Vol. 2 and its special issues as non-canon, since they likely might be. It’s up to you.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: In Forever Evil: ARGUS #5, Lion-Mane mentions that ARGUS shut down his diamond mine prior to this, meaning that Lion-Mane was involved with illegal diamond mining well before his current cooperation with the Marabunta diamond mine.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Why would a convicted murderer and Man-Bat Serum addict like Kirk Langstrom get released from Arkham? Well, as we learn in the pages of Red Hood & The Outlaws #35, Kirk is granted a legal release by SHADE in order to become their personal Head of Security in man-bat form.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Couldn’t ignore it, eh? Here’s the scoop on why Superboy seemingly can’t be dead yet but somehow still is indeed already dead (in the form of a timeline showing exactly how and why and when Kon-El dies and is resurrected). First of all, the “Krypton Returns” crossover arc (starting with Action Comics Annual #2) features Superman, Supergirl, and Superboy (Kon-El), each time-displaced by the cosmic-powered “Oracle of the Timeless” and brought to an era prior to the explosion of Krypton. Action Comics Annual #2 occurs immediately after Superman #24, Supergirl #24, and Teen Titans Annual #2. HOWEVER, Superman #24 and Supergirl #24 are definitively pre-Forever Evil stories (happening both very recently and simultaneously on our timeline) whereas Teen Titans Annual #2 takes place shortly after Forever Evil #2! In other words, the Superman and Supergirl that appear in “Krypton Returns” have yet to experience Forever Evil whereas the Superboy that appears in “Krypton Returns” has already experienced Forever Evil!!! HELLO CONTRADICTIONS, right?
The only way this shit can go down properly in a chronal sense is if the Oracle of the Timeless collects the the trio from different points on our timeline, allowing them to complete the “Krypton Returns” adventure in the past before bringing them back to where they are supposed to be (except for Superboy, of course, because he dies). Confusing, yes, but I think it actually works that way.
Basically, here’s what goes down from Kon-El’s perspective. In Forever Evil #2, Johnny Quick sends the Teen Titans into the future of an alternate universe. In this alternate universe’s future, Kon-El eventually fights Jon Lane Kent (in Teen Titans Annual #2). Kon-El gets teleported away from his fight against Jon by the Oracle, who sends him back in time to old Krypton, as seen in the “Krypton Returns” crossover. (Oracle has also sent Superman and Supergirl back to old Krypton as well, although he sent them back from a starting point from BEFORE Forever Evil rather than AFTER it as he strangely did with Kon-El.) Meanwhile in post-Forever Evil time, as also seen in Teen Titans Annual #2, the Teen Titans begin their journey home, taking Jon back with them, mistakenly believing him to be Kon-El. At the end of “Krypton Returns” (in the time of old Krypton), Kon-El is killed. Superman and Supergirl mourn his passing and return to their correct time, which is just prior to Batman/Superman Annual #1 aka here and now. Presumably, had Kon-El survived, the Oracle would have sent him back to HIS correct present, which would have been right after Forever Evil. And that’s it, kids! Oh, what happens next, you ask? Eventually Kon-El is reincarnated as the cosmic Herald of the Oracle. This won’t last long and Kon-El will return as Superboy to quickly reclaim his spot with the Titans, replacing the impostor Jon. But this ain’t no Superboy Chronology. Back to Batman!↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Six months ago, Jason Todd had a huge falling out with Batman (in Batman and… #20) AND THEN temporarily lost his memories for a bit (from Red Hood & The Outlaws #19-26) AND THEN returned to help Batman on Warworld (from Batman/Superman Annual #1). This marks Jason’s first return to the Batcave since all that shit went down. Batman Eternal #10, which shows Jason’s next chronological visit to Wayne Manor, tells us that he previously broke into Wayne Manor on his last visit, damaging windows and the security system in order to do so. Therefore, Jason’s infiltration spoken of in Batman Eternal #10 precedes and is attached to his appearance in the Batcave here. Of course, Jason’s break-in was probably unnecessary since he and Bruce have been on decent terms since Batman/Superman Annual #1. Jason’s break-in probably also accidentally aids Alfred-3 in entering the Batcave as well (not that Alfred-3 really needs help in that area either).↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / BATFAN REBORN: “Trinity War” starts now and will lead directly into Forever Evil and the immediate Batman vs. Bane conclusion. The entire “Trinity War”/Forever Evil saga lasts about nine days, with Forever Evil taking up less than a week of that time. Nearly every related mini-series and tie-in seems redolent of this time-frame. However, three specific titles curiously (and incorrectly) state that Forever Evil lasts for “weeks.” The most significant of these is Phantom Stranger #15, which has Ultraman talking about “these past weeks.” This is re-iterated by Zatanna in Justice League Dark #29 with her “after weeks of being held prisoner” comment. And finally, Batman vs. Bane makes reference to “weeks” as well, which would mean that the Dark Knight would have spent weeks hanging out with Catwoman, Lex Luthor, and crew during Forever Evil. Simply not possible and also contradictory with a ton of other books, including Forever Evil itself.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: I originally had “Trinity War” and Forever Evil taking place in 2013, which seemed to be what DC editorial was insinuating with references in Justice League, “Hunt for Robin/Robin Rises,” and “Trinity War” itself. However, by the time Gotham Academy, Detective Comics, Batman, and other related issues came off the presses in early 2015, those issues were caught up with real time 2015—decidedly quite far off from 2013. It’s quite unfortunate, but DC really overused the “five years ago” reference. It was rammed down writers’ throats by editorial, who wanted everything to be crammed into a tight five year span. And then, at some point in late 2014, probably in conjunction with the idea that “story should trump continuity,” DC editorial must have decided to slide things into real time. With “Trinity War” and Forever Evil already set squarely in 2013, this meant that continuity errors would arise in order to bring it closer to 2015 and to account for the entirety of 2014. Not ideal, but that’s just what happened. I think a lot of folks still have their own personal timelines with everything packed into 2013, and that is totally fine. But for me, it just doesn’t work. (The same thing basically happened with Batman Eternal, which was initially written like a solid 2013 story, but quickly switched gears to catch up to current real time.)
If you still aren’t comfortable with “Trinity War” and Forever Evil being in 2014, think of the following and your mind should be changed. To get from “Court of Owls” to “Endgame,” we have to fit in the all of Batman’s appearances in other books (of which there are many, and in which there are many references to time passing). This includes every Bat-related title, “Death of the Family,” Batman Incorporated Vol. 2, Superman Unchained, “Throne of Atlantis,” “Gothtopia,” “Trinity War,” Forever Evil, “Injustice League,” “Amazo Virus,” Batman Eternal, Arkham Manor, even MORE Batman Eternal, and “The Hunt for Robin/Robin Rises”—which itself doesn’t even seem to fit anywhere properly!
Plus, we have even more minor titles and references as well, which all make it so that things have to be rolling along pretty quickly rather than getting bogged down back in 2013. I just don’t see a proper timeline that lags behind by multiple years, and neither, it seems, does a capricious DC management.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Justice League #23 contains a continuity error. It says outright that the initial JL-forming Darkseid invasion happened “five years ago.” Since we are in 2014, it had to have been six years ago.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: The origin of Earth-3’s Owlman, as told in Justice League Vol. 2 #26. Around 1993, Gotham’s richest and most decadent family, the Waynes, were leaving a Zorro movie when elder son Thomas Wayne, Jr., with help from his trusted confidant Alfred Pennyworth, enacted a horrific plan. Thomas murdered his mother, father, and brother Bruce. In a few years Thomas became Owlman, joined the Crime Syndicate, and ruled Gotham with and iron fist and an army of mobsters. Owlman would go on to do business with the criminal circus family, the Graysons, becoming quite fond of Richard Grayson. Seeing him as the brother he never had, Owlman secretly organized the murder of his parents and took in the wayward Richard, who became his sidekick. Eventually, Richard found out that Owlman was responsible for the murder of his family and ended his relationship with the villain.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: There is a flashback splash page in Matt Kindt’s Justice League of America Vol. 3 #14 that depicts an image that never happened during Forever Evil. It shows a ton of heroes and villains engaged in battle, but it is riddled with continuity impossibilities. This scene is probably meant to represent the horrible digital world that ensnared Stargirl and the rest of the heroes stuck inside Firestorm’s matrix during the crisis. If not, then we must simply ignore this splash, or regard it as Stargirl’s imagination of what Forever Evil must have looked like based upon Steve Trevor’s estimated version of events.↩
- BATFAN REBORN: Batman vs. Bane occurs before Nightwing #30, Part 2 because it seems to be the first time Alfred sees Batman since “Trinity War.”↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: The Bleed is the tesseract space that exists in-between and which separates all the universes in the Omniverse. Marvel Comics refers to the Bleed as “The Superflow.” The terminology is quite menstrual, but what cosmic magick isn’t, right?↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Father Time is a microscopic creature that clings onto the brain of its host, which it keeps and controls for a decade before discarding and replacing with a new one.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / TIPTUP JR 94: Here’s the deal with “The Hunt For Robin”/Robin Rises Saga, which starts with Batman and… #29 and runs directly through Batman & Robin Vol. 2 #39. This entire Saga must occur specifically in relationship to the following: before Batman Eternal #46, which specifically references it; before Batgirl switches to her hipster Burnside clothes, placing it prior to Batman Eternal #35; before Bruce moves out of Wayne Manor, also placing it before Batman Eternal #35; before Superman’s departure in Superman: Doomed; “weeks” after Shazam joins the JL in Justice League Vol. 2 #30-34; before Red Hood teams with Batwoman, meaning before Batman Eternal #14-16; before the Iceberg Casino’s destruction in Batman Eternal #6-9; and “less than a year” after Damian’s death, meaning just under one year after Batman Inc Vol. 2 #8. Why is Damian neither mentioned or shown in Batman Eternal (even in spite of the reference to this arc from Batman Eternal #46)? That remains to be seen. Hopefully there is a good reason!↩
- COLLIN COLSHER / TIPTUP JR 94 / NICK SMILES: A ton of stuff to talk about here in regard to the Bat-Mite comedy mini-series. Is it canon? Who knows. Why does it go here? First, Hawkman is featured. Hawkman dies in Justice League United #3, which occurs close after the end of Forever Evil. Thus, Hawkman’s death likely happens immediately after his appearance in Bat-Mite here. Second, Robin is shown without his shiny post-Robin: Son of Batman #1 cape (all black with a yellow lining and yellow strips on his sides), placing Bat-Mite before Robin: Son of Batman #1, which will commence shortly and cause Damian to be out of Gotham for six months. Some other notes: Booster Gold appears in this series, referring to himself as the “leader of the Justice League International.” The JLI has been defunct for a long while, so Booster’s mention is likely just his way of boasting about the best position he’s ever had on a superhero team. He also must be time-traveling from an unknown point on the timeline to appear in this series. Also, be aware that while Bat-Mite #1-5 occurs right now, the final issue (#6) mentions and shows the campaigns of several 2016 presidential candidates, including Donald Trump and Jeb Bush. This places the final issue, at the earliest, in mid-June of 2015. This means there is a huge gap between the penultimate and final issues of the series, which actually makes sense narratively.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Batman Eternal starts here in Year Seven despite its narrative making several incorrect mentions that imply “five years ago” means “Year One,” which would therefore be “six years ago.” Likewise, the overlapping Detective Comics “Icarus” arc places “ZERO YEAR” six years ago, which is also 100% totally incorrect. We must be in Year Seven because Detective Comics #37 tells us we are in 2014.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: It was only less than a month ago that Jim Gordon suffered a partially torn artery in his shoulder (at the end of “The Big Burn”). Yet we see him in Batman Eternal now fully healed. Consider this a miraculous recovery? Oooof.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: This arc occurs after Jim Gordon has been jailed in Batman Eternal and Forbes has been made commissioner. This couple day gap in Eternal right here and now seems to be the best place to put this arc.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: I think it is worth asking the question: What becomes of Batman Incorporated from this point forward? Well, nothing—at least as far as comic book appearances go. Casey Washington is running what is left of Batman Inc out of a Wayne Industries penthouse in Hong Kong and the Securitus Island compound in Gotham Bay, so where do they go from there? It is safe to assume nowhere fast, especially in light of Batman Inc’s already dubious legal status and failure as a venture. I’ve no doubt that the strategist in Batman laments the loss of something he put so much time and energy into, but he surely now sees that operating out in the open, so exposed to global public scrutiny and global villainy, was not a tenable idea—at least not a very Batman idea. There is a reason Batman and his crew have always kept to the shadows. It is how they operate best. Batman is, and always was, a team guy. But he is also a definitive leader, dare-I-say authoritarian, who doesn’t appreciate being told what to do. Various incarnations of the Justice League are essential to Batman’s war on crime, but with the JL he has always had to operate as a part of a committee, which isn’t to his true liking. The Bat-Family was a team that he could control. Batman Incorporated was a vast and bold military-capitalist explosion and expansion of the Bat-Family concept. But, as said above, when that venture failed, Batman reluctantly severed all ties with the brand while stubbornly refusing to let it die completely (out of pure love for the concept—for his baby). So what does the future hold for Batman Inc? I would wager that Casey Washington’s Batman Inc stays functioning for a while longer, months or maybe even a year, but then ultimately goes the way of the dingo, having no legit funding streams and no real legal status. But don’t worry. Batman will basically spend the next two to three years augmenting the Bat-Family to include near Batman Inc levels of membership anyway. See, to the Caped Crusader, Batman Inc is still a solid idea—maybe even the best idea he’s ever had—so he won’t drop it. He will just alter it. That’s what the Dark Knight does best. Adapt. Evolve. Oroboros.↩