WELCOME to the Dick Grayson Batman Chronology! This section of the website picks up starting chronologically from right after Batman: The Return #1 (with Batman #704 in Mid February). At this point Dick has been Batman for nearly eight months (ever since the events of Batman: Battle for the Cowl). To see a detailed chronology of events involving Dick’s first eight months as the Dark Knight, please refer back to “The Real Batman Chronology Project“ starting with the Battle for the Cowl story-arc. For all of you nitpickers out there, note that this chronology does not cover Dick’s first run as Batman from the “Prodigal” story-arc. But, hey, if you are truly interested, that history is covered on Bruce’s chronology too!
–Batman #704-707 (“EYE OF THE BEHOLDER”)
Dick and Damian are able to take down the Reaper despite interference from Catgirl. Bruce shows up and chastises the Dynamic Duo for allowing the young Kitrina Falcone to operate as Catgirl. Dick tries to blame Selina for training her in the first place, but Bruce won’t hear it and tells Dick to make sure Catgirl is never seen on the streets again. Later, the mysterious businesswoman Sasha Lo meets with Dick and Lucius Fox at Wayne Tower with a proposal to purchase and gentrify Crime Alley. After tabling negotiations, Dick heads to a charity ball where he warns Selina to take Catgirl off the streets. Selina refers to Bruce as a “hypocrite” and tells Dick to piss off. Selina mentions that she has a plane to catch—not sure where she’s going, but oh well. Later that night Dick learns that Sasha Lo is a costumed vigilante known as Peacock. Peacock and the Caped Crusader get in a fight with oddly dressed ninjas led by Sensei (Ra’s Al Ghul’s father). Sensei is able to kidnap Peacock’s telepathic brother Luki Lo. Dick and Peacock escape from the “Demon Horde” on horseback (!) and are joined by I-Ching, who explains that Sensei is searching for a powerful magical artifact known as the Mask of the Beholder, hidden somewhere in Gotham. When several Wayne Enterprises higher-ups are murdered, Dick rushes off to make sure Lucius Fox is okay. At Fox’s apartment Dick is blindsided by Riddler and his debuting daughter Enigma! Robin arrives just in time to save the day and chase off the villains. Sensei has kidnapped Lucius and his daughter Tam in order to obtain information that will lead him to the Beholder. Turns out the Fox Family has long been burdened with secret knowledge of the hidden artifact, having been involved in a secret society known as the Jade Compass for generations. Dick then borrows Catgirl from Selina for a quick recon assist and then converges upon Sensei’s location only to get ambushed yet again. Batman, Lucius, Tam, and Luki are left to drown in the sewers. However, with a little help from I-Ching, no lives are lost. Meanwhile, Sensei retrieves the Mask of the Beholder but is unable to harness its power. Peacock and Batman are able to defeat the madman and destroy the mask. As the Lo Family leaves Gotham, Luki sees a telepathic vision of the future, which tells him that Dick and Sasha will become romantically involved! Across town, Riddler and Enigma deliver a list of all the secret Gotham socialites who are members of the Jade Compass Society to their mysterious benefactor: A ruby-lipped femme-fatale wearing a pearl bracelet and, most curiously, flipping Two-Face’s scarred coin! SPOILER: (Although I guessed this one easily, so it’s not much of a spoiler). It’s Harvey Dent’s ex-wife, Gilda Dent.
–REFERENCE: Dick helps out long-time crook Kevin McNulty by hooking him up with a counseling gig at a rehab center (as referenced in a flashback from Batman #713).
–second feature from Batman Annual #28
Batman, with help from Millicent Mayne and Leslie Thompkins, is able to stop a drugged-up dude from robbing a convenience store.
–Azrael Vol. 2 #14-16 (“THREE MYSTERIES”)
Bruce orders Dick to recruit Azrael into the Batman Inc umbrella, as long as Az is of sound mind and not using lethal force. Unfortunately, the Suit of Sorrows has begun to take its toll on the fragile constitution of Michael Lane. Not to mention, Ra’s Al Ghul is secretly behind the mysterious Order of Purity (!) that contributes to Lane’s mental deterioration. Dick goes to meet with Azrael only to discover that the latter is indeed using lethal force on criminals. A crazed Azrael stabs Dick in the chest with the Sword of Sin and leaves him unconscious before fleeing the scene. (This mystical stabbing is also shown through flashback in Batman #708 where we learn that Dick has a deep bruise on his chest where the Sword of Sin penetrated him. Dick will also begin suffering random blackouts and bizarre repressed memory nightmares due to the mystical wound as well). The next morning, Dick wakes up at Wayne Manor with an angry Bruce chomping at the bit to know what happened. Bruce reveals that Lane has been found dead by suicide, apparently somehow having been able to crucify himself with nails on a cross. After an interrogation of Lane’s acquaintances, Dick learns that Lane committed suicide by stabbing himself. Lane’s best friend, Officer Pete Farelli, then nailed him to the cross posthumously in accordance with his final request. Dick then questions Lane’s former sister-in-law and current girlfriend, Jennifer, who hints that Lane’s suicide is all a part of some higher-power’s plan. Back at GCPD Dick is startled when an eerie voice begins emanating from within the Suit of Sorrows. White Ghost and his henchmen are then able to steal not only the Suit of Sorrows, but Lane’s corpse as well. At the Bat Bunker, Bruce reveals that the Suit has been treated with chemicals from a Lazarus Pit. Because Bruce has worn the Suit before, he is able to psychically track the armor to Ra’s Al Ghul’s hideout. Dick surveys the hideout from a distance for nearly three days until Bruce shows up and decides to pay Ra’s Al Ghul a personal face-to-face visit. Ra’s Al Ghul expects Bruce’s interference and allows him to be present, explaining that Lane is about to be resurrected. Upon resurrection, Lane will have exorcised the demons linked to the Suit, thus enabling him to wear the armor trouble-free. Ra’s Al Ghul then calmly leaves after Lane re-enters the land of the living. Surprised at Ra’s Al Ghul’s nonchalance, Bruce speaks with Lane and learns that Azrael has two possible destinies: to either become an ultimately pure evil OR a contributing force for good which will one day save the world. Ra’s Al Ghul obviously believes the former, while Bruce hopes for the latter. Azrael won’t be joining Batman Inc, but he will remain an ally. (For now).
ALL THE RAGE
—————— –Detective Comics Annual #12
——————–Batman Annual #28
———————third feature from Batman Annual #28, Part 1
Bruce Wayne, as a representative of Batman Inc, meets with French head of police Henri Lafayette to discuss recent riots associated with various assassinations in Paris. After Oracle deduces that the next assassination attempt will be against a Saudi ambassador, Bruce sends Dick to save the intended target. Dick is not only successful but learns that the assassins have been psychically brainwashed. Bruce then meets with the President of France and earns the right to officially work the case. The Batmen (Bruce and Dick) take to the streets and bust some heads which leads the duo to investigate a terrorist cult known as the Golden Portal. Bruce contacts the Question, who immediately flies to Paris. Montoya then goes undercover inside the Golden Portal and meets its leader, the female metahuman known as Korrigan. Meanwhile, Dick learns that Korrigan’s next target is rapper/political activist Leni Urbana. Three days later, the Batmen meet the French rookie superhero Nightrunner (Bilal Asselah), but mistake him for the assassin. When Korrigan sends a group of brainwashed cultists to kill Urbana, the Batmen realize their error and help Nightrunner protect Urbana. The next day, after a meeting with Lafayette, Bruce joins forces with Dick, Nightrunner, and the Question to defeat Korrigan and her thugs. Korrigan is taken to France’s version of Arkham, known as The Black Garden. After seeing off Montoya at the airport, Bruce visits Nightrunner and offers him a position as Batman Inc’s French representative. Nightrunner accepts the offer and with it, a brand new high-tech HQ and new costume. Bruce then meets with Lafayette one more time. The latter confirms that the President has approved a Batman Inc franchise in France! A few days later Bruce helps Nightrunner move into his new HQ. Bruce mentions that his next stop on the Batman Inc recruitment tour is Tokyo. (Bruce won’t leave for Tokyo for at least another week-and-a-half). Dick (as Batman) immediately begins what will be a three week-long training course with Nightrunner.
—third feature from Batman Annual #28, Part 2
Dick (as Batman) trains Nightrunner in Paris over the course of three weeks. (The next bunch of stories overlap with the training sessions, so Dick will be commuting back and forth from France a lot).
–REFERENCE: Dick still has a horrible bruise on his chest from when he was stabbed with the mystical Sword of Sin by Azrael weeks ago. Dick, while on patrol, feels an intense pain emanating from the bruise. Dick then suffers a blackout and has a nightmare about a repressed memory of his childhood in the circus (as referenced in Batman #708).
–NOTE: Azrael meets Fireball in Afghanistan and learns that the powerful metahuman works for Ra’s Al Ghul (as seen in Azrael Vol. 2 #18). Az also learns that Ra’s Al Ghul runs the Order of Purity. After witnessing the awful slaughter of an entire village by US Armed Forces Blackhawk helicopters, Az’s mentality regarding good and evil is flipped completely upside down. Az no longer sees the Afghanistanis as terrorists, but now sees the US soldiers as terrorists instead. David Hine sure isn’t masking his anti-war commentary in this one. Anyway, Az and Fireball return back to the States with Ra’s Al Ghul. Together, they plan on creating a New World Order by “purging” the world of evil, beginning with Gotham. Turns out, Ra’s was right all along; Az is no longer on the Bat-Family’s side anymore. Az will remain incommunicado with the Bat-Family until he attacks Gotham, but we’ll get to that when we get to it.
–Batman & Robin #17-19 (“SUM OF HER PARTS”)
Dick and Damian are called to the cemetery by Commissioner Gordon to examine the unearthed grave of Bruce’s former girlfriend, Una Nemo. (I should note that we are told that Bruce dated Una several months ago. The earliest he could have done so would have been about 11 months ago, right before entering into a serious relationship with Jezebel Jet). Soon after the grave robbery, Una’s “corpse” is delivered to Police HQ where our heroes learn that the body actually belongs to a Jane Doe fished out of Gotham Harbor shortly after the time of Una’s supposed death. While examining the Jane Doe, the body bursts into flames as a result of explosive materials hidden underneath the fingernails. The mystery unravels when Dick and Damian are then invited to a Gothic wedding ceremony where they meet Una, now the super-villain known as The Absence. The Absence, due to a bizarre medical condition, has a giant hole in the middle of her forehead (where she was shot by would-be robbers six weeks ago). The Absence captures Dick and Damian and explains that she wants revenge on Bruce for dumping her so callously. After detonating a bomb inside the church where the wedding ceremony is being held, the Absence departs. Dick then places a phone call to Toyko and explains the situation to Bruce. The Absence then decides to attack one of Bruce’s other ex-girlfriends, Vicki Vale. Dick and Damian rush to Vicki’s apartment only to realize they have wandered into another trap. Once again, the Absence easily captures the Dynamic Duo! After a lengthy monologue, the Absence lets Dick and Damian go, revealing that she doesn’t give a damn about Bruce. All of these games have been a clever distraction while her operatives infiltrated various prisons and executed the robbers responsible for attacking her six weeks ago. The villainess makes a reference to the Sherlock Holmes fiction story The Red-Headed League, which has a similar premise. Again, and this has occurred before, Holmes should never be referred to as a fictional character in the DCU. Holmes actually existed in the DCU! (Although, I guess one could argue that there are many fiction stories written about him in the DCU). Anyway, after making complete fools of Dick and Damian, the Absence escapes unscathed. I would also like to note how, in the last two stories, Dick has been completely caught off guard and nearly killed by Sensei, Riddler, and the Absence (twice!). C’mon Dick, you’re better than that!
–Teen Titans Vol 2. #89
Dick uses his alumni pull and officially inserts Damian into the Teen Titans lineup. Funny how most of the Teen Titans are not even teens anymore (with the exception of Ravager), and now they are adding a ten-year-old. Anyway, the Titans don’t get along with Damian because he’s a little asshole who talks shit on all of them. After Dick departs, the Titans battle an out-of-control super-powered telekinetic teen named Barney.
–Power Girl Vol. 2 #19
Power Girl calls an emergency meeting of the JSA All-Stars—the JSA’s splinter youth team—to try to convince them that Max Lord has cast a global deception across the Earth that is blocking his existence from everyone’s memories. Batman (Dick) attends the meeting to confirm Power Girl’s claim. The JSA All-Stars immediately begin to scramble into action stations and the Caped Crusader orders them to contact the JLI and JLA at once. However, in an instant, Lord’s massive misdirection kicks in and causes everyone in the room to forget what they were doing. Power Girl has been foiled again.
–Teen Titans Vol. 2 #92, Epilogue
Damian reunites with Dick in Gotham after completing his Teen Titan adventures, which included a few super-villain scuffles and a footrace between Superboy and Kid Flash (which was won by late-entry Krypto the Superdog). While the villains (including Calculator) were soundly defeated and much fun was had at the race, it was obvious that Damian just didn’t fit in with the team. Thus, Damian’s short stint with the Titans comes to an end. Dick says he is proud of Damian and hopes he learned something from the experience.
–Power Girl Vol. 2 #21
Power Girl once again tries in vain to convince Dick that Max Lord killed Ted Kord and has erased everyone’s memories of himself. Dick, still affected by the global mind-wipe, refuses to see the truth. Power Girl even convinces Dick to exhume Ted’s body, but upon examination of the corpse, still nothing. Dick is ready to bounce until Bruce shows up. Bruce sets Dick straight, forcing him to remember the truth. Dick then contacts Oracle and the JLA in an attempt to make everyone else remember too. Meanwhile, Bruce joins forces with the JLI to go after Max. (Dick isn’t present, but the JLI, along with Bruce and Wonder Woman, will be able to force Max to reverse his global mind-wipe).
–Gotham City Sirens #16
Dick and Damian leave Gotham on unspecified business. They are shown driving the Batmobile in what appears to be a desert, so who knows? In their absence, a large magickal disturbance registers in Robinson Park. Unknown to the Dynamic Duo, the disturbance has been caused by Talia Al Ghul, who has set into motion a complex ruse that functions as an attempt to mind-wipe Catwoman’s memories of Bruce’s identity as Batman. Why does Talia want to do this? She’s jealous of Selina and Bruce’s love. Thankfully, the attempt will fail, as we will see in our next note, which immediately follows.
–FLASHBACK: Dick contacts Zatanna and asks her to investigate the magickal disturbance occurring in Robinson Park (as seen through flashback in Gotham City Sirens #18). Zatanna, along with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, is nearly tricked into mind-wiping Selina Kyle by the conniving Talia Al Ghul. Thankfully, Zatanna is able to see through the trickery and take Talia down.
–REFERENCE: Mid March. Dick completes Nightrunner’s three week training course in France (as referenced in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #55).
–FLASHBACK: Supergirl visits Dick and Damian and asks Dick to fly with her into the asteroid field where New Krypton once existed (as seen through flashback in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #55). Supergirl wants to clean up the mess in outer space and also get rid of any Kryptonite that might be free-floating in the area. Dick and Kara head out to space, which leads directly into “Reign of Doomsday.”
REIGN OF DOOMSDAY
——————–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #55
——————–Superman/Batman Annual #5
Eclipso is back (in his old Bruce Gordon host body) and has assembled a possessed team of shadow-powered international metahumans (and one Lovecraftian Elder God), which includes Shade, Nightshade, Acrata, Shadow Thief, Bete-Noire, Danny Raven (and his spirit familiar Dark-Crow), and Syththunu (as seen in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #54). Team Eclipso now wants to add more members to their ranks, but they are going to have to go through Donna Troy, Jesse Quick, and Jade to do it. Unfortunately, Team Eclipso is pretty strong and easily takes over Alan Scott’s lunar Emerald City. Meanwhile, in the asteroid field which was once the location of New Krypton, Dick (in a Bat-ship and spacesuit), Supergirl, and Alpha Green Lantern Boodikka examine all that remains of a former civilization. However, their lament is interrupted by an attack from the returning Doomsday! (Doomsday has already captured Steel and Eradicator and now he’s after Cyborg Superman, whose essence is hidden within Boodikka). Starman and Blue Lantern Saint Walker quickly join the heroes against Doomsday, but the powerful monster chases them all the way back to the Watchtower, where Cyborg Superman makes his startling return as well. Cyborg Superman not only takes control of the Watchtower, but begins smashing and bashing with Doomsday. While Dick battles dozens of hard-light villains in The Arena (basically a version of the X-Men’s Danger Room, which has previously been referred to as “The Kitchen”), Supergirl gets a pep talk from computerized versions of Dr. Mid-Nite and Dr. Fate and is able to expel the evil Stearheart energy from herself. “Dark Supergirl” is no more and Kara returns to her old self and her old costume. Meanwhile, Cyborg Superman thinks he has killed Doomsday, but Doomsday assimilates some of Cyborg Superman’s nanotechnology and survives to become an even stronger Cyborg Doomsday! Cyborg Doomsday easily defeats both Supergirl and Cyborg Superman and drags their unconscious bodies to his hidden satellite in deep space. (Superman will eventually discover that Lex Luthor was behind Doomsday’s attack and save his friends. Unfortunately, Superman will also discover that there are now multiple Cyborg Doomsdays).
–Justice League of America Vol. 2 #56-59 (“RISE OF ECLIPSO”)
Eclipso and his newly formed team have just taken over the Moon. While Superman and Supergirl are off fighting Cyborg Doomsdays, Donna Troy fights Eclipso’s team (now joined by a possessed Jade) at the lunar Emerald City. The rest of the JLA shows up to help, along with some added firepower in the form of Wildcat, Bulleteer, Dr. Light, Animal Man, Red Tornado, and Zauriel. (Congorilla informs us that these are the new JLA reserves). Despite the reinforcements, by the time Batman shows up just about everyone on the moon has been possessed by Eclipso. Obsidian rushes in and rescues the few remaining untainted heroes, moving them to a location protected by a temporarily re-powered Alan Scott. Obsidian, due to his metahuman link to shadow energy, is able to ascertain Eclipso’s true plans and reveals that the villain has come to the moon to use the power of the Starheart in an attempt to murder God! First step, summon and confront God’s Wrath: The Spectre. Unbelievably, Eclipso is able to defeat the Spectre, kill him (!), steal his powers, and split the moon in half. Of course, the fissured Moon throws Earth into a cataclysmic state. Meteor showers, tsunamis, and destruction rain across the planet almost immediately. On the lunar battlefield, Batman leads the remaining heroes: Alan Scott, Starman, Congorilla, Donna Troy, Saint Walker, Obsidian, and Jesse Quick. Things aren’t going well, so Batman hatches a plan. He calls up the Atom, who arrives immediately. The Atom and Starman, according to Batman’s plan, shrink down, enter the Shade’s brain, and shut down Eclipso’s hold over him. This action exorcises Eclipso’s control over everyone in his army because the Shade is the one possessed soldier who still retains free will. While Atom and Starman go to work and free everyone’s minds via Shade’s brain, Saint Walker uses his Blue Lantern powers to make Eclipso think that he’s already won the battle. The heroes easily defeat a detached Eclipso. Alan Scott, Jade, Saint Walker, and Supergirl (having just returned from her Doomsday adventure with the Superman-Family) combine their powers and fix the moon. NOTE: I should mention that the Doomsday drama is still going on down on Earth. Supergirl shows up at the end of Justice League of America Vol. 2 #59 to help out. During the beginning of Justice League of America Vol. 2 #59, Kara is absent because she is fighting Cyborg Doomsdays, as seen in the first two pages of Action Comics #903 (aka Action Comics #903, Part 1). Immediately following the Eclipso crisis on the moon, Supergirl will return to Earth with a bunch of heroes in tow, thus rejoining the conclusion of Action Comics #903 (aka Action Comics #903, Part 3). Basically, Action Comics #903 overlaps with Justice League of America Vol. 2 #59 in a strange way, with Supergirl essentially fighting both Eclipso and the Doomsdays on multiple fronts by bouncing back and forth.
–Action Comics #903, Part 3
The Doomslayer, basically an ultimate version of Doomsday, has arrived to destroy all Doomsdays. Sounds good right? It would be if the Doomslayer didn’t plan on destroying the entire planet in order to do so. Supergirl has just literally minutes ago helped Dick and the JLA save the Earth from destruction at the hands of Eclipso and now must rejoin the fight against the Cyborg Doomsdays. But she’s not coming alone. Batman (Bruce), Batman (Dick), Red Robin, Hawk, Dove, Dr. Fate, Zatanna, the JLA, the JLI, the Teen Titans and Eradicator (whose consciousness now resides within Doomsday’s original body) all show up ready for action. Meanwhile, Superman confronts the Doomslayer on his deep space satellite.
–Action Comics #904
The final issue of Action Comics Vol. 1. Superman defeats the Doomslayer with help from Eradicator (who controls Doomsday’s body and sacrifices his own life). Batman, Batman, and the rest of Earth’s superheroes defeat multiple Doomsdays all across the planet. Go heroes!
–FLASHBACK: The Construct takes control of every single robot on Earth (as seen in Justice League of America Vol. 2 #60) causing the JLA to have their hands full against Robo-Octo-Ape, Red Tornado, Red Torpedo, Red Inferno, Red Volcano, an army of multicolored Tornadoes, Bozo the Ironman, Gonzo the Mechanical Bastard, the Metal Men, the original GI Robots, Robotman’s brainless original body, Robotman, the Robot Renegades, Amazo, Kelex, an army of Superman Robots, and many, many more obscure DCU robots. With the Earth moments away from destruction, the JLA saves the day!
–Doom Patrol Vol. 5 #20
The Doom Patrol has been down on its luck lately and wants to move its HQ from Oolong Island to just about anywhere else. Problem is, nobody wants them around. Negative Man (Larry Trainor) visits briefly with Batman, not realizing that he is actually speaking with Dick and not Bruce. Dick tells him to get lost. Afterward, Trainor muses about how Batman “looks less like Clint Eastwood these days and more like Justin Bieber.” Ouch!
–REFERENCE: Dick still has a horrible bruise on his chest from when he was stabbed with the mystical Sword of Sin by Azrael weeks ago. Dick, while on patrol, feels an intense pain emanating from the bruise. Dick then suffers another blackout and has yet another nightmare about a repressed memory of his childhood in the circus (as referenced in Batman #708). This is the second time this has happened, but Dick hasn’t told anyone. Worried, Dick gives himself an X-ray but nothing physically seems amiss.
—third feature from Batman Annual #28, Part 3
Dick (as Batman) returns to Paris and introduces Nightrunner (and reveals Nightrunner’s secret identity) to Henri Lafayette. Batman stays with Nightrunner for several days before returning to Gotham. Nightrunner publicly debuts as the French representative of Batman Inc. It has been two-and-a-half weeks since his training finished.
–Detective Comics #871-873 (“THE BLACK MIRROR”)
March—this story is said to take place seven weeks since the public unveiling of Batman Inc, which places us in the third week of March 2011. Alfred mentions that it’s “been over a year” since Dick moved into the Penthouse and started using the Bat Bunker. If we are going by the true numbers, it hasn’t been quite that long—only about eight-and-a-half-months. But, as always, I digress. Moving on, Dick meets with Commissioner Gordon at the new Wayne-funded state-of-the-art GCPD crime lab where he learns that a ton of old Bat-rogue paraphernalia has disappeared from the evidence room. The missing goods just happen to coincide with a recent tragedy which befell a 12-year-old boy who was transformed into a mini Killer Croc courtesy of a vial of liberated Croc Serum. (I should mention that there isn’t a bunch of Croc Serum out there. We’ve never seen other Crocs. This is the original and only vial of Croc Serum that was used to turn a young Waylon Jones into Killer Croc oh so long ago). Moving on with the investigation, Batman questions the boy’s butler, who is gunned down by the boy’s mom during the interrogation. Subsequently, mom commits suicide. The Dark Knight quickly discovers an old Mad Hatter implant as the cause of both deaths. Batman then questions two crooked ex-cops responsible for the evidence thefts, who both meet with similar fates, this time delivered from Poison Ivy’s arsenal. Before the murders, Batman is able to learn that someone called The Dealer has been auctioning off the Bat-villain goods at an underground event known as Mirror House. After meeting with Babs, Harvey Bullock, and Tim, an undercover Dick (using new Lucius Fox-developed Human Target-esque mask-making technology) attends the Mirror House meeting. The Dealer begins the auction with the crowbar that killed Jason Todd. Dick is almost immediately outed as Batman and is knocked unconscious after inhaling Fear Gas. James Gordon Junior (!) has not only learned Batman’s secret identity, he is present at the auction to stalk Batman and actually winds up saving Dick’s life (as seen through flashback in Detective Comics #881). Of course, Dick doesn’t know this and we’ll get to the curious reemergence of James Junior soon enough, dear readers. After a nine-hour power nap and some nursing by Babs at Kord Tower, Batman dons one of the Iron Man Bat-suits (from Batman: The Return #1) and chases the Dealer, who attempts to leave town in a private cargo jet. In a frenzy, as different Bat-villain costumes rain from the sky, the Dealer injects himself with Venom and Man-Bat Serum, transforming himself into a giant musclebound bat monster. Eventually the plane explodes with Dick parachuting to safety, the final fate of the Dealer unknown. I should also mention that issue #872 contains a second feature called “Skeleton Cases,” which takes place while Dick is battling the Dealer. As we briefly mentioned above, James Gordon Junior has returned to Gotham for the first time since he was just a child and we learn a few details of this never before written about adult character; he’s been in hiding for nearly his entire life and he supposedly killed one of Babs’ friends when he was just a boy! Very intriguing. I’ve always begged the question: What ever happened to James Junior!? Now, we’ll soon finally find out.
–FLASHBACK: The flashback from Detective Comics #874, Part 1 continues the “Skeleton Cases” story-arc and runs simultaneously with Detective Comics #874, Part 2, which is our next tale. Commissioner Gordon meets with his long lost son, James Gordon, Jr. and we learn a little bit about his tragic history. The details are still vague, but James Junior apparently is a psychopath who began a string of murders at a very young age starting with the death of Babs’ friend Bess. We can assume James Junior was institutionalized at this young age and then became a drifter as an adult, committing more murders. Now, James Junior has finally returned to Gotham, claiming that his wicked ways are behind him. A nervous Commish is having trouble believing his troubled son.
—Detective Comics #874, Part 2
The action in this tale picks up right where ‘tec #873 ends. Dick, still reeling from the effects of being drugged by the Dealer, meets up with Red Robin to tackle a new case. Animal poachers are attempting to smuggle rare and endangered species out of Gotham. Batman and Red Robin are able to stop them, but Dick has a bizarre hallucination and fears that whoever leads the poachers is a brand new threat our heroes have never met before. This new threat is Tiger Shark, but Dick won’t meet him for a few weeks.
–Birds of Prey Vol. 2 #10
This issue takes place right after the conclusion of Detective Comics #874). The Birds of Prey begin attacking Calculator and his henchmen at his HQ. Oracle joins the battle from a military-grade helicopter only to get blown to smithereens by Current. Is Oracle really dead!? Nope, of course not. It is all a ruse to fool the entire world into thinking she is. (Oracle is tired of the dangerous burden associated with so many heroes constantly coming to her for help lately). Hawk was actually flying the chopper and he is more then capable of surviving a little explosion. After the Birds (with Bruce’s help) defeat Calculator and company, the news of Oracle’s “death” spreads like wildfire. From this point on, Oracle can still act as Big Sister overseeing all of the DCU, but now, only several people know that she isn’t dead and therefore, can seek her assistance: Batman (Bruce), Batman (Dick), Red Robin, Batgirl, Misfit, Huntress, Hawk, Dove, Lady Blackhawk, and Black Canary. It is likely that Damian, Alfred, Proxy, and Savant know that Oracle is still alive too. Oh, Catwoman knows too cause she isn’t fooled so easily. Oracle personally meets with Bruce, Dick, Tim, Stephanie, and Charlie (Misfit) to fill them in on the details.
JUDGMENT ON GOTHAM
——————–Red Robin #22
——————–Gotham City Sirens #22
March 31-April 1. Dick still has a horrible bruise on his chest from when he was stabbed with the mystical Sword of Sin by Azrael over a month ago. Dick, while apprehending small-fry Eddie Sims feels an intense pain emanating from the bruise. Dick then suffers another blackout and has another nightmare about a repressed memory of his childhood in the circus (as he has had twice before). This time the nightmare is more vivid and is about a tragedy that happened to a fellow child acrobat called The Prodigy when Dick was very young. When Dick gets home he is startled to discover that the bruise on his chest has formed the shape of a Bat-symbol! When The Crusader (basically an even crazier and more powerful version of Azrael who works for the Order of Purity) begins destroying whole city blocks in downtown Gotham, the combined force of Batman, Red Robin, and Catwoman intervene. The Crusader goes nuts until Azrael appears and calms him. The Crusader claims to have been sent by God (in this case Ra’s Al Ghul) to be Azrael’s personal disciple. Azrael warns Dick that he has 24 hours before the “purge” of the entire planet will commence. Az and the Crusader explode into the night sky and disappear without a trace. Dick is disheartened that Az is no longer working on the side of good. Catwoman begs Dick to call Bruce for help, but Dick says that Az is his own responsibility. Meanwhile, across town the Order of Purity’s top scientist turns Fireball into a living nuclear suicide bomber. Ra’s has successfully assembled his “Angels of Death”: Azrael, the Crusader, and Fireball. Things are looking scary. A full day passes and the “judgment” begins. Az kidnaps Mayor Hady while the Crusader begins destroying the city. I should mention that the Crusader’s powers include telekinesis, telepathy, pyrokinesis, flight ability, near invulnerability, super strength, and the power to make locusts and snakes appear at will. Moving on, Red Robin saves a bunch of lives downtown and from a burning cathedral before trying to get Jennifer Lane to reason with her lover via phone. After Red Robin saves Hady from Az, the latter does the flaming sword trick on the superhero and sure enough, whitebread Tim has a pure soul. Az is ready to stop the assault on Gotham based upon the successful passage of the purity test, but the Crusader enters with the claim that Red Robin doesn’t believe in (i.e. worship) the Christian god! Az questions Red Robin, and whitebread Tim can’t tell a lie. He doesn’t. After Tim’s failure to stop the carnage, Dick sends in Catwoman. Az and the Crusader are ready to test her faith by introducing a wild card into the mix: Maggie Kyle! Maggie has been a whacko ever since watching Black Mask I butcher her husband. The bad guys tell Selina that they will end their wrath if she sacrifices her sister to God. Selina refuses. Bruce calls Dick while on unspecified business in Hong Kong (which undoubtedly must have something to do with Cassie Cain) and asks if Dick needs help in Gotham. Dick says he can handle it and greets the “Angels of Death” in Devil’s Square. Dick finally remembers the former child trapeze artist known as the Prodigy from his days at Haley’s Circus long ago after being confronted with the now adult Prodigy. Turns out when Dick was just a little tyke he could have prevented the Prodigy from getting nearly beaten to death by rednecks, but instead took no action. Az judges Dick accordingly and is about to detonate Fireball, but Red Robin and Catwoman show up with Jenny Lane and her kids. Az is taken aback when he sees them and Jenny convinces him to use his fiery blades on himself. As the magickal swords enter his body Az sees the truth: Ra’s Al Ghul has been using him as a pawn. In a last ditch effort to end the “judgment of Gotham” Az takes the entire brunt of the Fireball detonation by smothering the metahuman. Fireball dies and Gotham is saved. A distraught Az leaves with the Crusader faithfully following.
–Detective Comics #875
Early April. This continues the “Skeleton Cases” story-arc. Gordon re-opens a “fifteen-year-old” cold case and busts Roy Blount, better known as the Peter Pan Killer. Way back in Bat Year 7, Barbara’s friend Bess was supposedly murdered by a young James Junior. However, Jim now thinks that Blount may have been the actual killer. Before he can get a straight answer from Blount, Batman swings into action and apprehends the villain. James Junior is back in Gotham for good, but is he a psychopath and did he really commit multiple murders? Only time will tell. Okay, there are a ton of errors in this story, which is a clusterfuck that either deliberately ignores continuity or tries to rewrite Jim Gordon’s past entirely. Where do I even begin? Number one, we don’t have to necessarily ignore the snow, but it isn’t winter. It is early April. Number two, in the flashbacks to fifteen years ago Gordon is a young lieutenant with red hair. However, Gordon was promoted to captain at the end of Bat Year 1 and by Bat Year 7 would have been a gray-haired commish. Number three, in the flashbacks Gordon is already divorced and married to Sarah Essen. Gordon’s marriage to Sarah doesn’t take place until Bat Year 13! I don’t think there is any way to reconcile this. In fact, Sarah shouldn’t even be in this story. However, we needn’t ignore her presence. Instead, we must simply ignore any references to their marriage and instead retcon the story so that Sarah and Jim have briefly reconnected and are trying to date again. Number four, in the flashbacks Gordon is partnered with Commissioner McKeever. Who the hell is Commissioner McKeever? We must assume he is an assistant commissioner, deputy commissioner, or a commissioner from another police force helping out on the case. Number five, in the flashbacks Babs is drawn a bit too young-looking.
–Brightest Day #23
The skies turn black as Nekron (who has become the Avatar of the Black Power Battery) is able to literally take control of the ecological functions of the planet by corrupting its Plant Elemental and Earth Elemental protectors known as the Parliament of Trees. Superheroes race across the globe to prevent death and destruction. Notably in Gotham, Batman, Robin, Batwoman, Black Lightning, Cyborg, and the Birds of Prey fight off giant tangled snake-like streams of “living” vegetation and dirt. In the forest outside of Star City several heroes battle against a humongous Black Lantern/Nekron-possessed version of Swamp Thing! Deadman uses his White Lantern power ring on Firestorm and turns him not only into a Fire Elemental, but the Avatar of Fire. Likewise, the other missing resurrected heroes return as Elementals as well. Martian Manhunter is now the Avatar of Earth. Aquaman is now the Avatar of Water. And Hawkman and Hawkwoman are the Avatars of Air. As the new Avatars strike against the evil corrupted Parliament of Trees, it is apparent that their combined force will still not be enough to defend Earth. Not to worry, the White Power Entity still has a trick up its sleeve—Earth’s ultimate savior, the former vessel for the real Swamp Thing, the deceased Alec Holland! Whoa.
–REFERENCE: Brightest Day #24 immediately follows Brightest Day #23 and concludes the series. While not featured in the issue, we must assume that Dick is still fights for his life in Gotham until the crisis ends. Picking up where we left off, in order for Alec Holland to be resurrected so he can save the world, someone has to die. Boston Brand pays the ultimate price and goes back to being plain old sad, invisible Deadman again. Holland is reborn and immediately infused with the Green. The real Swamp Thing returns! Amped up, Swamp Thing grows to enormous heights and kicks the evil Swamp Thing’s ass. Swamp Thing then restores the Earth back to its natural state and declares that he is back to protect the planet full-time. Before leaving for parts unknown, the White Lantern Entity strips J’onn, Aquaman, Hawkman, Hawkwoman, and Firestorm of their Avatar elemental statuses, returning them back to normal. (Well except for Hawkwoman, who dies). Oh, yeah, the last page features a cameo of the returning John Constantine (!) on the trail of Swamp Thing, who has just uncharacteristically murdered some eco-terrorists. Why has Swampy offed the baddies in such brutal fashion? Well, because Alec Holland has split from the green Elemental monster (as we will soon learn in the Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing series. Without his normal human soul vessel, Swamp Thing has no conscience and is violently raging out of control.
–Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing #1-3
Determined to figure out why Swamp Thing is acting so homicidal, John Constantine begins an investigation but is immediately attacked and infected with a virus by plants being controlled from within the Green by Swamp Thing. When Swamp Thing kills a Falcone mobster linked to eco-terrorism in Gotham, Constantine travels to America. In Gotham, Constantine infiltrates the Bat Bunker, takes out Alfred, and sneaks into the Batmobile just to get the attention of Batman. After a strained first meeting between Dick and Constantine, the latter takes the former into the Green but is assaulted by Swamp Thing and knocked unconscious. After awaking in the care of Batman and his ex-girlfriend Zatanna, Constantine explains his theory that Alec Holland (the original deceased human host vessel for Swamp Thing) has split from the Plant Elemental, thus causing the monster to lose any semblance of humanity. Dick then examines Constantine’s plant infection, and unable to help him, sends him to Metropolis to speak with Superman. Supes and Constantine travel to Star City Forest to battle Swamp Thing. Once the duo is able to restrain the monster, they learn that Constantine’s theory about Holland is correct. Constantine then consults with Madame Xanadu and Deadman to ascertain the location of Holland, who is alive and well in Louisiana. In Louisiana, Holland has been held captive in his old laboratory by LexCorp scientists who plan to create their own synthetic Swamp Thing by infusing Holland’s soul into a cyborg version of the Plant Elemental. Constantine arrives with the intention of killing Holland so that his soul will re-renter the real Swamp Thing, but winds up tangling with LexCorp thugs. Both Batman and Superman show up and join in the fight against the cronies and against killer plants being controlled by Swamp Thing from within the Green. After all the villains are combed back, Batman refuses to allow Constantine to murder Holland. Instead, Holland is given the choice: Re-join Swamp Thing and quell the deadly monster’s rage or remain alive as a normal human being. Holland chooses the latter and Constantine walks. Looks like we now have a DCU with Alec Holland, human scientist extraordinaire with a flair for life AND Swamp Thing, Plant Elemental with homicidal tendencies.
–Secret Six #36
The antihero/super-villain team known as the Secret Six has plans to assassinate Red Robin, Batgirl, Catwoman, and Azrael in Gotham. However, a double-crossing Penguin alerts the hero community about the Six’s arrival in town. The Six (Bane, Catman, Deadshot, Jeannette, Ragdoll, and Scandal Savage) along with King Shark and Knockout take a bunch of Venom pills and make their glorious last stand. However, they are easily defeated by what seems to be the largest gathering of collected heroes since Final Crisis. So yeah, it’s eight villains versus Batman, Batman, Robin, Red Robin, Superman, Superboy, Steel, Dr. Light, Obsidian, John Stewart, Red Tornado, the Birds of Prey, the JLA, the JSA, the JLI, and the Teen Titans. Overkill, anyone? Great issue though.
–REFERENCE: In Batman & Robin #22. Dick adds a unique feature to the Bat-costume—razor Bat-ears that can be fired off as projectiles.
–NOTE: Aaron “Bat Boy” Langstrom is cured and no longer looks like a freakish character out of the National Enquirer. We can only assume that the scientific genius of his parents was able to concoct a remedy for his permanent bat-like appearance. When we next see Aaron (in Batman & Robin #21) he will appear human.
–Batman & Robin #20-22 (“WHITE KNIGHT VS. DARK KNIGHT”)
April. According to Dick it’s been “a few weeks” since Bruce did a “tango of death with a hot Latin number” i.e. about a week-and-a-half since the events of Batman, Inc. #4. As for the snow on the ground, it must be a late cold wave in Gotham. Our story begins with all the boys (Bruce, Alfred, Dick, Tim, and Damian) joined together at Wayne Manor for smoothies, popcorn, and screening of The Mark of Zorro! Later that night after patrol, Dick attends a fundraiser at the opera, but before the show begins a John Doe dressed as an angel falls 80 stories to his gruesome death. After a quick autopsy and discovery of what appears to be a fake suicide note, Dick and Damian are attacked by an out-of-control Man-Bat who claims his family is in danger. Dick and Damian easily track Kirk Langstrom’s wife Francine (who has had a tracer implanted in her shoulder ever since her days with the Outsiders) and sure enough, Francine, Rebecca, and Aaron are all dressed up as angels and hopped up on drugs. Dick and Damian snap them out of their drug-induced trances and save their lives just in time to witness the debut of The White Knight, a brightly glowing super-villain responsible for the death of the John Doe and the attempted murder of the Langstrom Family. After a quick debriefing with Alfred in the Bat Bunker, our heroes learn that the White Knight’s original victim is Douglas Zsasz, brother of Victor Zsasz. The White Knight is trying to kill relatives of anyone that has ever been incarcerated at Arkham! Across town, the White Knight savagely murders the Mad Hatter’s parents, brother, and sister. Unknown to our heroes, the White Knight has already slaughtered Dr. Phosphorus’s entire family too. A full day later and the White Knight reveals that he has kidnapped dozens of Arkham relatives, drugged them up with Special K, administered hypnotic suicidal suggestions via radio ear bud, dressed them up as angels, and placed them all at the top of Gotham’s tallest midtown buildings. Alfred is able to jam all citywide radio signals using a WayneTech satellite, preventing most victims from leaping to their deaths. Dick and Damian, meanwhile, are able to rescue the majority of the others. Before Batman and Robin can blink their eyes, the White Knight has taken control of Arkham Asylum, which is lit up like a blinding flash of continuous lightning. Inside Arkham we learn the White Knight’s real name, origin, and motivation: As a young boy Louis Bayard’s father was a prison guard who was killed by Doc Phosphorus during one of the asylum’s many riots. Hellbent on revenge, Bayard ingested Arclight Serum, which turned him into a glowing super-powered metahuman. Back to the story at hand, the White Knight tries to drown the Arkham inmates (including Joker, Calendar Man, Phosphorus, Zsasz, Croc, Jane Doe, and Mad Hatter) in illuminated white liquid. Damian is able to save them all, but not before adding a few nasty scars to Zsasz’s flesh. Damian references Zsasz’s child fighting ring from “a few weeks back.” That Zsasz story occurred around Christmas, which would mean it happened about three-and-a-half months ago, not “a few weeks back.” Moving on, atop Arkham’s roof the White Knight tries to fly away from the Dark Knight with mechanical wings. The Dark Knight beats the White Knight silly and causes a hard-light explosion that permanently fuses the metal wings to the White Knight’s back. Afterward, the White Knight is safely incarcerated.
–Batman & Robin #23-25 (“THE STREETS RUN RED”)
For over four months the red-headed stepchild of the Bat-Family, Jason Todd, has been locked away in an Arkham cell. With his identity still a secret from the Arkham staff, the Red Hood doesn’t pose a threat to Batman’s security. When we last saw Jason, he was a wreck, his hair falling out and his body deteriorating due to a dependence upon and withdrawal from Lazarus Pit bathing. However, it looks now as though Jason has overcome his demons; the Red Hood is in the best shape of his career. Batman (Bruce) finally meets with Jason for the first time since returning from his Omega Sanction jaunt through time. But it’s not a personal visit; Bruce has learned that Jason will soon be transferred to a minimum security facility and wants to warn him to be good. In the Bat Bunker, Bruce tells Dick and Damian to prepare for the worst. At Gotham City Corrections, Jason immediately begins killing his fellow inmates without mercy. Jason kills 97 men, most of them poisoned in the cafeteria! When the Dynamic Duo learns of Jason’s murderous rampage, little can be done, and Jason easily escapes custody en route back to Arkham thanks to the assistance of the TMNT-esque South American super-villain team known as The Menagerie. However, Jason starts fighting his rescuers when he learns that they are actually there to kidnap him under orders from their mysterious femme fatale leader. Batman and Robin show up just in time to join the melee. Jason further learns that the new unnamed villain has taken a hostage that she holds at Thomas Wayne Middle School: Jason’s former sidekick Scarlet! Dick and Damian have no choice but to join-up with Jason, who dons a combination of all his previous Red Hood outfits. Dick, Jason, and Damian are able to save Scarlet