(January 2017 to June 2017)
–Super Sons #1-2 (“WHEN I GROW UP…”)
Bruce gives Damian a hard time about doing too much Teen Titan work instead of schoolwork. Angry pop makes Damian promise that he will take his studies seriously, but a bored and insolent Damian ditches-out on Alfred’s home-schooling and heads to snowy Hamilton County instead. Damian disguises himself as Jonathan Kent’s school bus driver and third period substitute science teacher simply to “see how the other half lives.” By the time Damian returns home, Alfred has already ratted on Damian’s truancy. Batman reproaches Damian and issues punishment by grounding him from patrol, going off without the Boy Wonder. Later, with Batman and Superman on unspecified Justice League business, the impertinent Damian sneaks-out and visits Jonathan in Hamilton County yet again. Robin tells Jonathan that they need to investigate recent break-ins and hacking attempts at LexCorp in Metropolis. So it’s 300 miles to Metropolis in the dead of night to LexCorp Tower for Robin and Superboy. Once they get there, they immediately run into Lex Luthor. While Robin breaks into LexCorp and downloads the security logs onto an iPad, Luthor fights Superboy. Robin and Superboy escape from Luthor and hide in an alley to view the security logs, which reveals Kid Amazo as the person that broke into LexCorp Tower. (Kid Amazo is homicidal fourteen-year-old Reggie Meyer, one of the victims of the Amazo Virus that retained metapowers.) After some quick research, the boys head to the Meyer household in Providence, RI only to find the entire family murdered, except for little sis Sarah Meyer. Superboy finds a shaken Sarah outside, just as Batman arrives. Meanwhile, Superman sneaks up behind Robin. Two days later, Robin and Superboy are in the jungle fighting a bunch of robot versions of themselves, but more on that soon.
–REFERENCE: In the second feature to All-Star Batman #7. Batman adds a sonic noise weapon to his glove.
–REFERENCE: In Justice League/Power Rangers #3. Cyborg re-initiates the old Grid database, basically a network of what he calls “Justice League reserves.” Batman and the team, presumably, approve the list.
–FLASHBACK: From Justice League/Power Rangers #1-3. Welcome to an alternate Earth of the BOOM Multiverse, home to the superhero team known as the Power Rangers (Green Ranger, Red Ranger, Black Ranger, Yellow Ranger, Blue Ranger, and Pink Ranger). After a teleporter malfunction during a fight pitting the Black Ranger versus the evil Lord Zedd and his minion Putty warriors, the Black Ranger winds up blasted to Earth-0 of the DC Multiverse, specifically Gotham City. There, the confused Black Ranger begins fighting the first person he sees: Batman. When the Rangers’ AI mentor Zordon sends the rest of the color-coded superheroes to Earth-0, Batman calls the Justice League for backup. Flash arrives in a flash to help, but the Pink Ranger activates her giant pink pterodactyl “Dinozord” mech-plane and snatches up the entire Batmobile with Batman inside. After the Power Rangers all activate their “zord” mechs to do battle against the JL and John Stewart, all parties involved soon realize they are on the same side. Athwart the universe, Lord Zedd randomly winds up in the clutches of Brainiac, who quickly befriends him. Brainiac and Lord Zedd send giant squid monsters to attack several cities on Earth. Cyborg hand-selects some JL reservists to help all around the globe. In Melbourne, Batgirl, a resurrected Hawkgirl, Kid Flash, Green Lantern Jessica Cruz, Supergirl, Beast Boy, Batman, and the Black Ranger fight a monster. In Tokyo, Wonder Woman and the Pink Ranger do battle with a monster. In Buenos Aires, John Stewart, Nightwing, Black Canary, Green Arrow, and the Green Ranger attack. In Seattle, it’s Cyborg, Shazam, Starfire, and the Blue Ranger. Dublin sees Flash, Aquaman, Mera, and the Yellow Ranger. Cairo gets Superman and the Red Ranger. Brainiac drones then fall out of the sky, take over the Rangers’ Dinozords and combine them into a Brainiac Megazord. Brainiac, Lord Zedd, the drones, the monsters, and the Megazord then teleport to the BOOM Universe. Back at the Watchtower, Billy (the Blue Ranger) suggests that they can use a large hadron collider to travel back to their home universe, so it’s off to the CERN Facility in Switzerland.
–All-Star Batman #5 Epilogue
Early February. Two months, two weeks, and two days have passed since the end of the main action of All-Star Batman #5. Batman tracks down and defeats the Beast, taking his mask as a prize. Batman then tracks down a hiding Penguin, Great White Shark, and Black Mask. Having a bit of fun, Batman wears the Beast’s mask and rings their doorbell, sending the terrified villains running. Batman busts them with ease.
–Nightwing Vol. 4 #15
Early February. Dick has been living in Blüdhaven for about two-and-a-half months now and has been dating Shawn Tsang (the former super-villain known as Defacer) for exactly 67 days. Nightwing travels to Gotham to assist Batgirl take down corrupt Councilman Abel, who is linked to The Church of Blood and the Madmen. Batgirl fills-in Batman on all the details of the case. Three days later, Dick has dinner with Bruce at Wayne Manor. He tells Bruce that he is dating Shawn and that he is in love with her. Meanwhile, Deathwing attacks Shawn in her Blüdhaven home and kidnaps her. (SPOILER: Deathwing is an evil Dollotron version of Nightwing sent to kidnap Shawn by Professor Pyg.)
–All-Star Batman #6-8 (“ENDS OF THE EARTH”)
Early February to Early March. Mr. Freeze steals a bunch of cryogenically frozen people, moves them to an Alaskan research facility he has taken over, and publicly threatens to release bacterial ricin spores that will bring a new ice age to the entire globe. Batman tells the military to hold off an aerial strike to give him time to bring Mr. Freeze down on his own. After constructing a new super-heated arm gauntlet suit and forging heated-copper Batarangs in the Batcave, the Dark Knight injects a disease into his own body, which will raise his body heat to an extreme temperature. (A reference in the second feature to All-Star Batman #7 tells us that Lark helps Batman out with these prep tasks prior to his fight with Mr. Freeze.) Batman then flies to and trudges through the snowy Alaskan tundra where he does battle with an army of warriors seemingly made out of frozen diamond dust. (These henchmen are the folks that were brought out of cryogenic sleep, turned into mindless zombies by Mr. Freeze.) Batman fends-off Mr. Freeze’s soldiers, but his arm gauntlets overheat, burning his arms badly and ruining the new costume. Subdued by the cryo-zombies and shivering in his bare feet, Batman is forced to listen to a typical prattling Scott Snyder-penned villain monologue. Batman tries to reason-with and calm the voluble Mr. Freeze, interrupting Freeze to mention the villain’s wife Nora and the loving relationship they shared together. (These lines of dialogue by Batman seem to directly contradict Scott Snyder’s own origin story for Mr. Freeze from Batman Vol. 2 Annual #1, in which it was revealed that Nora was never Mr. Freeze’s actual wife and their relationship was a false reality that only existed in his mind. There are three possibilities regarding what is going on here. One, Snyder is committing a huge continuity error. Two, this is a retcon. Or three, Batman is fucking with Mr. Freeze and playing along with his twisted dark fantasy in order to reason with him and gain the upper hand. I’m going with the latter, because the first two options are messy as hell.) Mr. Freeze then inserts himself into a cryogenic chamber to wait for the new ice age utopia. Of course, the disease within Batman’s system cranks-up, heating up him enough to take action. Seeing that Batman can now ruin his plans, Mr. Freeze exits his pod only to get pummeled and thrown into another pod by the imperturbable Caped Crusader. A bloody, overheated, and disease-ridden Batman climbs inside with Mr. Freeze and watches with a shit-eating grin as the military planes swoop in and obliterate the part of the facility containing the ice spores. In this moment, Batman realizes that the military planes actually belong to special strike force that has followed him to Alaska in an attempt to bring him down along with Mr. Freeze. (SPOILER: This strike force is none other than the Blackhawks.) After bringing in Mr. Freeze, Batman does a little digging and realizes that the Blackhawks have been tracking him ever since his last encounter with Two-Face. A couple days later, Batman thinks the threat of bacterial infection is over, but his old friend Lilith Seguro contracts the “magnaporthe grisea” virus from some of Freeze’s spores in Washington State. Soon after, the virus begins to spread like wildfire. With plans to go to Poison Ivy for help, Batman tailors a special anti-spore costume that also doubles as an anti-Poison Ivy costume as well—complete with wax lips. (A reference in the second feature to All-Star Batman #7 tells us that Lark helps Batman out with these prep tasks prior to tracking down Poison Ivy.) Batman tracks Poison Ivy—wearing an awesome new outfit—to Death Valley where she is conducting radical botany experiments in the desert. Realizing that the Blackhawks aren’t far behind and are targeting both he and the plant-themed villainess, Batman warns Poison Ivy and asks for her help to stop the virus from spreading. She reluctantly agrees and kisses him, thinking that she has taken control of his mind in the process. Batman plays along and pretends he is under her spell and together they fight a squadron of Blackhawk soldiers. During the fight, Batman becomes disturbed at the Blackhawks’ use of a very familiar stealth body armor technology. Surprised and exasperated, Batman demands to know how they got it and who sent them. Giving no answers, the soldiers get punched-out. With her experiments destroyed in the melee, a sad Poison Ivy creates a special flower from which Batman can synthesize an anti-spore that can stop the spread of the virus in Washington. Before Batman leaves, Poison Ivy makes Batman promise to not let any health agency name the virus after patient zero, little Lilith. Batman rushes to Washington, synthesizes an anti-spore, cures all, and complies with Poison Ivy’s wishes. The Dark Knight and Lark also use the same anti-spore to stop the spread of vegetative death that has travelled in a 500-mile-wide wave across the Pacific Northwest. Batman then does some more digging on the Blackhawks, learning that the group has been defunct for years, meaning this is a new version of the organization. Nearly a month later, Batman and Lark make sure the anti-spore cure is holding steady. When Batman traces the Blackhawk tech to a mansion owned by the Mad Hatter in the Mississippi Delta, he goes there immediately. Lark goes missing shortly thereafter. At the Mad Hatter’s place, Batman fights and defeats several Blackhawk soldiers disguised as Batwoman, Red Hood, and Nightwing. Batman then plants explosives all around the house before entering to confront Mad Hatter. A hallucinatory chemical fills the air, strong enough to work on Batman despite having blockers in his system. As the chemicals take hold, Batman remembers meeting Jervis Tetch for the first time. The Dark Knight becomes convinced that that his entire life as a costumed crimefighter has been a mind-controlled VR fabrication, courtesy of Mad Hatter. Batman has a vivid hallucination that he is fighting his greatest rivals—he is actually fighting more disguised Blackhawk soldiers, who take him down and strap him to a chair. Despite being confused and seeing wild images all around him, Batman manages to detonate the explosives by remote. The Dark Knight snaps out of his funk, kicks Blackhawk ass, and then trashes Mad Hatter, who reveals the name of the real Big Bad.
–second feature to All-Star Batman #6-8 (“THE CURSED WHEEL” Part Two)
March. Batman catches wind that Riddler is getting ready to initiate a Year Zero anniversary attack (six months early, so it must be his first attempt at a half-anniversary attack). Before Riddler can initiate another one of his long-ago pre-planned strikes on the city, the Dark Knight goes to question the villain at Arkham. While the Batman interrogates Riddler, Lark takes a stroll and is surprised to find Daryl Gutierrez behind bars. Ever since Mr. Bloom’s attack on Gotham, Daryl has been deformed, mentally scarred, and permanently endowed with the meta-power to alter living tissue. After a brief chat, Daryl seemingly uses his powers to attack Lark while also berating him verbally. Batman intervenes and knocks Daryl backward using a sonic weapon in his glove. Two days later, Batman and Lark are engaged in Riddler’s deadly anniversary game, which has commenced even though he is behind bars. Lark is attached to a winch and is being lowered in front of an apartment building by Batman via a computer tablet, on which he is forced to play a crossword puzzle. The crossword puzzle on his screen coincides with the apartment—each window of the building functions as a box of the puzzle. Terrified tenants, strapped to bombs, hold word cards in front of the windows. The heroes make a mistake and the building explodes. Later, Batman orders a beat-up Lark to rest up. The very next day, Lark goes out solo and interrogates an Arkham nurse named Frank Marin. Batman catches wind of Lark’s actions and also interrogates Marin as well, finding him to have no connections to the Riddler. Later that night, Lark runs a simulation in the Belfry’s Mud Room, practicing against a digital Riddler. Batman talks to a troubled Lark, who worries that he won’t live up to Batman’s expectations or find his way like the other sidekicks have. Later, back at Wayne Manor, a pensive and restless Duke sits with Titus in one of the living rooms, unable to sleep in the dead of night. As the sun rises, Alfred enters Duke’s room to find him gone. When Riddler strikes again with another puzzle-bomb riddle game, Batman takes on the challenge solo, but fails once again. The building explodes, but Batman is able to save several children from the flaming hell. Duke goes to the Lucius Fox Center to meet old pals Julie Madison and Izzy Ortiz. He asks Julie for a job and then chats with his former Robin Gang teammate. Izzy excitedly tells him how jealous she is that he gets to sidekick for Batman. Duke tells her that he isn’t cut out for it, to which Izzy gives him a heartwarming pep-talk. Duke realizes how Riddler is able to direct his puzzle-bomb games from his Arkham cell and rushes back to Wayne Manor. But when he enters, he is surprised to find Daryl and his Jokerized parents! In the heart of Gotham, Riddler’s next deadly puzzle begins as Batman stands before a packed Mercy Hospital, rigged to blow.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #950. Mayor Sebastian Hady has a heart attack, nearly dies, but survives. Bruce hears about Hady on the news.
–Detective Comics #950
March—three months after Batman’s last fight against the Colony (according to Detective Comics #951). Batman stalks a child trafficking ring that has set up shop in Gotham, but is unable to locate their secret HQ. Later, Batwing convinces a reluctant Batman to help him build an sleeker and more-improved form-holding device for Clayface. Batman and Batwing create the new tech. Heading back out on patrol, Batman makes Batwing promise that he (Batman) can deliver the gift to Clayface. A couple days later, a lonely Orphan (Cassandra Cain) visits the Gotham Metropolitan Ballet in the wee hours of the morning to watch the early-bird dancers practice. After accidentally spooking a ballet star, Cassie flees to Harper and Cullen Row’s apartment. Feeling alienated, unable to fully communicate with her friends, and still tortured by the memories of her dark past, Cassie takes off once again only to spot the Batsignal shining in the 5 am sky. Cassie listens in as Batman meets with Commissioner Gordon and Mayor Hady. The corrupt political leader of Gotham tells Batman that his recent heart attack (from a week ago) has made him see the light. Hady tells Batman that he wants to be a good person and do the right thing from now on. Batman then catches up with Orphan as she finishes-up infiltrating and easily demolishing the child trafficking ring that Batman had been unsuccessfully going after for days. Batman tries to debrief with Orphan, but she bails, sensing that her mentor doesn’t fully trust her due to her murderous past. Batman closes out the child trafficking case solo. Meanwhile, in the Belfry, Batwing can’t wait anymore. He delivers the new shape-holding tech to Clayface. Batwing explains that while he will now be able to stay in normal Basil Karlo mode for up to twelve hours, he must limit his time not spent as his usual amorphous blob-monster self or possibly lose all of his Basil Karlo DNA permanently. A depressed Cassie returns to the Belfry, but it just further fuels her doleful state of mind. She stops by the ballet before going back home to Harper’s pad. From a rooftop, blocks away, Lady Shiva spies on Cassie. Back at the Belfry, Batwing and Azrael spar against giant Bat-robots in the most difficult Mud Room simulation, beating it thanks to an alteration of the background setting. Afterward, Jean-Paul talks about theology and his strange history to an incredulous Luke. Jean-Paul then shows Luke an AI android project he has been working on. Luke is dumbfounded to view the seemingly impossible tech specs of the Suit of Sorrows, which Jean-Paul has linked to a dormant robotic shell. After Jean-Paul and Luke depart, the android receives an energy signal that brings it to life. Ascalon is born.
–REFERENCE: In Detective Comics #951. Batman begins regular meetings with the reformed Mayor Sebastian Hady, who spills the beans on every corrupt official in Gotham. Overnight, crime drops to its lowest level in years.
–Detective Comics #951-953 (“LEAGUE OF SHADOWS”)
Batman programs a new simulation—involving an army of kung fu Penguins—into the Mud Room computers. The next day, while the Bat-squad trains using it, Batwoman chats with Batman via radio. Batman tells Batwoman that he’d lose in a fight to Orphan if they every really went no holds barred. Batman suggests they take Orphan to the ballet in a week’s time. Then, on a tip from Mayor Hady, Batman swings into a penthouse apartment looking for dirt on corrupt judges. Inside, Batman finds a bloody Mayor Hady, crucified to the wall with thirteen bat-handled blades. (This is the handiwork of Lady Shiva.) Before Hady dies, he tells Batman that it was the League of Shadows that tortured him. The setup begins as cops enter and blame Batman for the mayor’s assassination. Batman flees, takes a bullet in the arm, and hightails it back to the Belfry. There, Batman and Batwoman talk to Jake Kane about the League of Shadows. Jake tells them that Gotham is in for chaos if the League of Shadows is in town. Jake also defends his actions while in charge of the Colony, saying that his murdering a few hundred people would have prevented the thousands of deaths that the League of Shadows will likely now be responsible for. When two TV news reporters drop dead of Joker Gas and reports come in of Joker Gas-induced rioting in Adams Square Park, the Bat-squad is on the case. As soon as the Bat-squad descends down into the rioting crowd, they all stop and turn towards the heroes. The crowd—all with dead black eyes—is under the League of Shadows’ control. While the Bat-squad fights in the park, Cassie peels-off and confronts Shiva atop a roof. Shiva easily defeats her and reveals to her that she is her mother. Shiva then kicks Batman’s ass, tells him the city will die, and then takes-off with her men and a kidnapped Batwing and Azrael. When more Joker Gas attacks hit, a panic washes over the city. Huge fires errupt in all corners of Gotham. Commissioner Gordon is put into protective custody in Blüdhaven. The Dark Knight is made public enemy number one with GCPD ordered to shoot to kill. Jeez, haven’t Gothamites learned anything over the years? Batman asks Lark to cross-reference the Colony’s drone targets from their initial strike with names from the Bat-computers database, which he does before rendezvousing with Batgirl on the other side of the city. Batwoman talks to her dad, who warns her that Shiva is pure evil and way too dangerous to mess with. Cassie, listening-in on the conversation, is brokenhearted that she has come from such vile stock. In tears, she runs into Batman’s arms. The Dark Knight can only hug the poor girl in silence. Later, Renee Montoya brings Commissioner Gordon back to Gotham to meet with Batman and Batwoman. After a heartfelt talk with Clayface, Cassie heads out into the night only to run into Batman. She angrily fights him, but he refuses to counter attack, getting beaten-up pretty roughly. The League of Shadows infiltrates the Belfry, takes down Clayface, and stabs Batwoman in front of her dad’s cell. Cassie meets her mom in the very public Times Square of Gotham, where they fight. Cassie refuses to counter attack her mom and gets thrashed. After getting a panicked call from Alfred, Batman rushes to the Batcave to find Ra’s Al Ghul and a loyal Ubu soldier waiting for him.
–Batwoman: Rebirth #1
Batman learns that Monster Venom has arrived on the overseas Black Market. He summons Batwoman to meet him in Monster Town. There, Batman gives Batwoman a special mission to travel overseas and prevent Monster Venom from being distributed.
–REFERENCE: In Batwoman Vol. 2 #1. Batman sends Batwoman on her anti-Monster Venom mission overseas and sets her up to team with Julia Pennyworth.
–NOTE: In Action Comics #976. Hoo boy. Thanks to the meddling of Mr. Mxyzptlk and the undefined seemingly-cosmic powers of Superboy, the spirits of New Age Superman and New Age Lois Lane merge with Modern Age Superman and Modern Age Lois Lane. A new merged timeline, which combines both Modern and New Age histories of these characters, is created in an instant. If you thought Convergence was clunky and messy, Action Comics #976 is right in that vein. Obviously, the impact of the cosmic merger that occurs in Action Comics #976 is huge. But the full scope of this change has yet to be determined. Have Mxy and Superboy re-written our timeline? Or do Superman and Lois simply have a new set of memories? A two-page spread that shows the new Superman history seems to imply that the former is the case, but it is quite vague. If the Superman timeline has indeed changed then the entire DCU timeline has effectively changed as well, which would mean full reboot. Yes, I said FULL REBOOT. Let’s use a case study to better explain. You can fully alter Vibe’s history and it wouldn’t effect the entire DCU timeline. No offense to Vibe fans, but he’s simply not that important as a character. A change to Vibe would register as a caveat, a minor retcon. But when you fuck with Superman’s history, you fuck with the entire history of the DCU. Along with Batman, Superman is a continuity linchpin of the DCU. To look at Action Comics #976 specifically, it merges two pairs of radically different characters. New Age Superman was madly in love with and dated Wonder Woman for quite some time. New Age Lois Lane was only ever a friend to Clark. Modern Age Lois and Clark were in love, married, and had a child together—a child that is 12-years-old at this point! I’m not sure how these things can coexist without a total reboot. DC, you’ve got some ‘splaining to do! Kyle Pinion, at The Beat, says it best: “Don’t expect a ton of answers beyond hand-wavery on the specifics of how we got here or how the pieces all fit together. (Really though, there’s no way Superwoman or New Super-Man could still exist as is, given how specifically tied they are to the events of “The Final Days of Superman” just ahead of Rebirth.)” And it’s not just Superwoman and New-Superman. Nor is it just stuff related to recent story arcs. The majority of the New Age timeline couldn’t exist “as is” without the very specific and detailed existence of Nehru-collared New 52 Superman and solo New 52 Lois. James Whitbrook, at Kotaku, writes: “This obviously has ramifications—monumental ones—that stretch far beyond the lives of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. We have yet to see the evidence of it in the wider DC Comics roster, but this is essentially a brand new DC Universe. Moments from before the New 52 reboot in now exist again, alongside the events of the New 52 universe itself. This is so out of nowhere that I feel like I might have gone slightly insane reading this comic book. DC doesn’t just up and create a whole new universe for its comics without a fanfare. But this has to affect more than just Superman and Lois’ lives, right?” Yes, yes it does. More on this story as it develops.
- COLLIN COLSHER: In Super Sons #2, “Amazo Virus” is said to have occurred “last year” according to Damian. However, “Amazo Virus” occurred in May of 2014, meaning it actually happened TWO YEARS and EIGHT MONTHS AGO. Way to be way off, Robin.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Lark mentions that he’s been Batman’s sidekick for nearly a year, which puts us in March. This arc also takes place after “My Own Worst Enemy” and “Ends of the Earth.” HOWEVER, of course there is a continuity error to speak of. This arc supposedly occurs on the anniversary of Riddler’s “Year Zero” attack. But that happened in September. And it ain’t September. Since Riddler enacts one of his patented “Year Zero” anniversary attacks in this story, we must assume that Riddler is doing a special half-anniversary attack six months early for some stupid reason.↩
- COLLIN COLSHER: Note that this item includes Detective Comics #950, Part 1 and Detective Comics #950, Part 2, which go back-to-back. Detective Comics #950, Part 3 is a flashback to months ago.↩