YEAR NINETEEN (Part 3)

2007 (September to December)

 

–Robin Vol. 2 #128, Part 2
September 1-10. Bruce is still blind thanks to Scarab’s assault from ten days ago. When he finally recovers on Stephanie’s 71st day as Robin (September 10), Bruce is even angrier than usual.  He meets with Stephanie and fires her for disobeying him!  Stephanie Brown’s 71 day tenure as the fourth Robin comes to its sad end.  Steph’s termination as Robin is also shown in a single-panel flashback from Bruce Wayne: The Road Home – Batgirl #1.

–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #201-203 (“COLD CASE”)
It’s been five years since we’ve seen Preston Payne (Clayface III).  He’s been locked up in Arkham for the entire time.  Payne, desperate to see his wife and child, attempts an escape, but Batman is on hand to make sure he fails.  The irony here is that Preston doesn’t know that his son is also incarcerated at Arkham in a separate wing.  Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred tells Bruce that journalist Mark Prather has written a book that accuses Bruce’s father, Thomas Wayne, of being the Robinson Park Ripper, a serial killer active forty-five years ago.  While Bruce doesn’t seem that concerned, Alfred is worried that people will start digging up dirt on Thomas, specifically, his penchant for “role-playing and dress-up.”  Hmmm.  Anyway,  Batman begins looking into the forty-five-year-old cold case and learns that a detective that worked on the case now works security for the Penguin.  Batman shakes down Penguin and the ex-detective and learns that the Ripper was actually harvesting his victims’ organs.  Shortly after Bruce visits Prather, the latter is murdered by the returning Ripper, who dons a robotic armored super-suit.  Batman battles the mysterious foe until the armored villain demolishes Prather’s home and escapes.  When the GCPD brands Bruce as a suspect in the killing, Selina visits Wayne Manor to act as a distraction/alibi for the police. Meanwhile, Batman continues his investigation.  After meeting with Leslie, Batman tracks down a bunch of possible Ripper suspects, but as he reaches each one, he finds them murdered.  Before long, the armored Ripper attacks Leslie and reveals himself to be Mr. Freeze!  Victor Fries, before even becoming a super-villain oh so long ago, was killing women and stealing their organs in attempt to save his dying wife, Nora.  Nora, an accomplice to the crimes, had broken down and confessed to both Leslie and Thomas, linking the latter to the murders just enough for Prather to have believed Thomas was the Ripper.  After this startling reveal, we return to our present narrative just in time to witness Batman save Leslie and put Freeze behind bars, thus clearing his father’s name. NOTE: This story reveals that Mr. Freeze must be around at least 75 or 80-years-old at this point since he was the Ripper 45 years ago.  His condition must make him look considerably younger.

–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #180-181 (“SECRET CITY”)
When a computer hacker winds up dead, Batman and Oracle investigate his past and learn he has been embezzling from Lew Moxon.  Batman questions Moxon, but Moxon knows nothing.  Meanwhile, Oracle learns that the late hacker was a part of a secret online virtual reality network known as “Nirvana.”  When more hackers start getting offed while logged into “Nirvana,” Oracle creates her own “Batgirl” avatar and logs on as well.  IRL, Batman discovers that Mallory Moxon had hired the original hacker to check the Moxon computer systems for security weaknesses.  Mallory points Batman in the only possible direction left, towards her 13-year-old computer genius cousin.  Yes, yet another DCU evil boy-genius is responsible for cyber-crimes and serial murders.

–REFERENCE: In Batman 80-Page Giant 2011 #1, Part 2. An unnamed government organization (most likely on behalf of the US Armed Forces) wants to evaluate new high-tech hand-to-hand combat equipment against the best possible test subject in the world: Batman. Mission number one occurs now as a random soldier is tasked to fight the Dark Knight. Batman easily defeats him.

–NOTE: In Superman Secret Files & Origins 2004. US President Pete Ross resigns from office. Jonathan Horne becomes the new POTUS.

–NOTE: In a flashback from Batman: Gotham Knights #68. Hush meets the new Clayface VIII, Johnny Williams. Williams has murdered a prostitute and Hush, aware of this, begins blackmailing him. Hush won’t actually use Williams for any crimes for several months, so Batman won’t meet him for about six months from now.

–NOTE: In Nightwing Vol. 2 #93. Late September. Batman isn’t in this issue, but it is another important one. Nightwing has recently begun a pretty messy quasi-romantic relationship with Tarantula and together they have been taking down Blüdhaven crime in record numbers. When Roland Desmond (Blockbuster) finds out Dick’s secret identity, he begins killing Dick’s friends. Nightwing and Tarantula then corner Blockbuster, and a vengeful Tarantula makes it very clear to Dick that she wants to execute Blockbuster. Dick doesn’t assist her in the execution, but stands idly by while Tarantula fatally shoots Blockbuster in the head!

–JLA Classified #16, Part 1
Early October. When the JLA brings down the evil regime of Middle Eastern dictator General Dvory Tuzik, Tuzik reveals that his ambassador has brokered a deal with the UN that grants him protected exile in China.  The JLA reluctantly allows Tuzik to go free.  Tuzik secretly becomes the new leader of a cadre of the world’s worst dictators.

WAR GAMES ACT 1
——————–Batman: The 12 Cent Adventure #1
——————–Detective Comics #797
——————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #182
——————–Nightwing Vol. 2 #95 Epilogue
——————–Nightwing Vol. 2 #96
——————–Batman: Gotham Knights #56
——————–Robin Vol. 2 #129
——————–Batgirl #55
——————–Catwoman Vol. 3 #34
——————–Batman #631
Early October—any references to hot weather must mean that it is unseasonably hot, not summertime.  Here we go!  While Batman takes on the Kobra Cult, Spoiler and Catwoman witness the largest meeting of Gotham’s criminal underworld to date.  The following are all in attendance: Pasquale Galante (current head of the Italian Mafia families) with Philo Zeiss, Orpheus with Onyx (representing the Hill Gang), Penguin with Deadshot, Lew Moxon with Hellhound, The Ventriloquist and Scarface with Mr. Fun, Kwan Lin (current leader of the Triads) with Silver Monkey, Victor Kosov (head of the Odessa Mob) with NKVDemon, representatives from the Latino Mob, representatives from the Yakuza, representatives from the Burnley Town Massive syndicate, and representatives from the Colombian cartel.  This meeting ends in a bloody massacre which results in 14 deaths, including the deaths of Moxon, Hellhound, NKVDemon, Silver Monkey, Galante, Lin, and Kosov.  Spoiler and Catwoman are shocked and both take off running.  At one point, Oracle mentions that Two-Face is in jail and Lex Luthor is active as a criminal.  I just wanted to clarify that Two-Face is indeed still in jail, but he’s been 100% rehabilitated thanks to his recent facial reconstructive surgery.  And Luthor would still be considered either dead or missing since losing the presidency.  However, it is safe for a paranoid Oracle to assume that Dent or Luthor could strike at any moment, no matter what their statuses may ostensibly be at the time.  Moving on: With the heads of the Gotham mobs all dead, a huge mob-war erupts across the city.  Batman, Batgirl, Oracle, Orpheus, and Onyx are left to contend with the omnishambles.  Batman orders Orpheus to attack and take control of the Yakuza.  The latter complies and becomes the leader of both the Hill Gang and the Yakuza.  Nightwing and Tarantula also come to Gotham to assist with the fight.  Tarantula quickly assumes control of the Latino gangs.  By the end of the first night of “War Games,” Hush and Prometheus decide to enter into the fold as well.  (Hush is still hellbent on locating the Riddler since the events of “Pushback”).  Meanwhile, Penguin holds a “super-villain auction,” pimping villains to the highest mob bidders.  His auction includes Killer Croc (who still has his lightened skin and hair plugs!), Lynx, Electrocutioner, Suicide King, Firefly, Pistolera (formerly Bunnyhawk), Vicious, and Trickster.  Concurrently, Alexandra Kosov (new leader of the Odessa Mob) merges the Russians with Scarface’s gang.  Their newly merged gang begins killing off family members related to anyone in the Italian Mafia. Tim’s close friend Darla Aquista (daughter of mobster Henry Aquista) is shot and killed at Tim’s high school, and without his Robin alter-ego there is little Tim can do about it. NOTE: Oracle makes a gaffe claiming that Stephanie was fired as Robin days ago. It’s been weeks. Moving on, Tim and hundreds of other kids are held hostage at the school. The Bat-Family converges on the school to offer a swift rescue.  Meanwhile, Selina takes down a scary Mr. Freeze and then meets up with a teary-eyed Stephanie. Steph confesses her responsibility for initiating the Gotham mob-war. But how? Steph, during her tenure as Robin, had stolen a contingency plan (on computer file) to unite all of the criminal families and gangs under Batman’s control.  Desperately yearning to regain Batman’s confidence, Steph followed the plan to a tee and delivered letters to all the gang leaders, getting them to show up for the big meeting.  However, the “main guy,” Batman’s secret insider, who was supposed to take control of the new criminal empire never showed up.  In one of Ed Brubaker’s finest moments, Selina asks, “Who’s this guy who never showed up?” to which Steph sobbingly replies, “Some guy I’ve never even heard of before . . . Matches Malone.”  Selina is floored.  Amazing stuff.  Back at Tim’s school, the Bat-Family infiltrates the building, takes down the gangsters one-by-one, and evacuates the students.  Batman, Nightwing, and Batgirl purposefully make their presence known to the media, which is a rare occurrence.  Also of some importance to future events, famous TV journalist Arturo Rodriguez, a long time exponent of Batman, turns against the Dark Knight publicly.  The first 36 hours of “War Games” come to a fulfilling, nail-biting conclusion.

–NOTE: In Gotham Central #23-24 (“CORRIGAN”). Batman doesn’t appear in “Corrigan,” but this relevant story, which overlaps with the end of “War Games Act 1,” is worth a synopsis. Corrupt Gotham cop Jim Corrigan (no relation to the former cop and Spectre host of the same name) has a reputation for stealing evidence and selling it on eBay.  This does not bode well for Crispus Allen, who has just shot and killed Black Spider aka Johnny LaMonica in self-defense.  During a firefight, a Burnley Town Massive gang member is clipped with one of Allen’s bullets.  The gang member claims brutality and says that Allen shot him at point blank range, after he was already cuffed.  This outrageous lie could easily be refuted, but the exonerating bullet has already been sold online.  After Renee Montoya beats the crap out of Corrigan, she takes a trip out to the burbs with Inspector Manuel Esperanza to visit the auction winner. And this is why Rucka rules.  The auction winner is a little old lady that just so happens to collect crime memorabilia. She’s got scalpels that Zsasz has used to murder people, old Riddler hats, old Mad Hatter hats, domino masks, Croc teeth, you name it. She also mentions how the current gang war (i.e. “War Games”) has been a great producer for her collection! Renee and Manuel get the needed evidence back from the lady and Allen is off the hook. NOTE: Don’t forget that the original Black Spider, Eric Needham, is still operating as the Black Spider, primarily in Star City.

WAR GAMES ACT 2
——————–Detective Comics #798
——————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #183
——————–Nightwing Vol. 2 #97
——————–Batman: Gotham Knights #57
——————–Robin Vol. 2 #130
——————–Batgirl #56
——————–Catwoman Vol. 3 #35
——————–Batman #632
Before “Act 2” commences, writer Andersen Gabrych tells us that the Batman’s appearance in front of Gotham media at the conclusion of “Act 1” was the first ever video footage of Batman.  This, obviously, is completely ludicrous and must be totally ignored.  Everyone knows Batman exists and he’s been photographed and filmed on many occasions.  As the gang war escalates, Batman meets with Commissioner Akins and asks the commish to turn over leadership of the GCPD to him!  An angry Akins denies Batman and storms off.  Meanwhile, Tim decides to become Robin again!  Jim Gordon then has a friendly chat with Akins and then has a not-so-friendly chat with Batman regarding the Bat-Family’s methods.  Concurrently, Selina tells Leslie Thompkins that Stephanie was responsible for starting the mob-war.  Behind the scenes, a mysterious super-villain slowly begins taking control of each gang, easily taking out Alexandra Kosov, the Ventriloquist, and Mr. Fun.  He also tortures the leader of the Colombian cartel to death.  But who is the new player in town?  We’ll find out soon enough.  When Penguin cuts the city’s power supply, Batman has a startling epiphany.  Since the gang-war began he’s known everything that would happen before it happened.  Batman realizes the recent events in Gotham have all been based upon his own “War Games” design.  After a quick review of the Batcave computer system, Batman learns that Steph started the debacle.  The Caped Crusader assembles the troops and tells them that his plan, which was never actually meant to be implemented, revolves around Orpheus.  The final result of his “War Games” plan was meant to end with Orpheus as head of one giant unified Gotham crime syndicate, which was to have been secretly controlled by the Bat-Family.  While Batman rushes to meet Orpheus, Spoiler is already there.  But just as Steph begins to tell him about the plan, our mystery super-villain from earlier finally steps out of the shadows and slits Orpheus’ throat.  Orpheus is murdered (!) by Black Mask, who was presumed dead after a recent encounter with Catwoman, but is back and hungry for blood and power.  He pummels Steph badly and then sadistically tortures her with a power drill, scalpel, and hacksaw.  A bloody and beaten Steph spills the beans about Batman’s “War Games” plan.  Meanwhile, Tim tells his dad that he is Robin once again.  In a successful defense of Leslie’s clinic, Batgirl defeats the entire Triad gang by herself, while Leslie becomes more and more reproachful in regard to the Bat-Family’s tactics.  Hush interrupts Steph’s torture session and tells Black Mask the location of the Batcave. (Hush actually tells him the location of Oracle’s apartment headquarters, which he mistakenly thinks is the Batcave).  Downtown, Batman unveils a technology that not only overrides the GCPD’s computer system, but Oracle’s computer system as well!  Batman makes a citywide public announcement that he has taken control of the police. The Dark Knight then begins positioning his new troops on the battlefield.  Gordon, Akins, and Oracle are shocked and disturbed when the majority of the Gotham Police Force willingly accepts the Caped Crusader as their new leader.  Batman then heads towards Orpheus’ location, not knowing that Orpheus is dead. After quickly defeating Zeiss, Batman meets with whom he assumes to be Orpheus, but it is really Black Mask wearing Orpheus’ costume, pretending to be him.  The Dark Knight delivers detailed plans which will end the “War Games,” ordering “Orpheus” to set the wheels in motion.  Batman doesn’t realize it, but he’s just handed Black Mask the keys to the castle.

WAR GAMES ACT 3
——————–Detective Comics #799
——————–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #184
——————–Nightwing Vol. 2 #98
——————–Robin Vol. 2 #131 
——————–Batman: Gotham Knights #58
——————–Batgirl #57
——————–Catwoman Vol. 3 #36
——————–Batman #633
——————–flashbacks from Batman #634
——————–Gotham Central #25
In only a few days, over 200 people are dead in Gotham and the city has suffered millions of dollars worth of damage.  Batman has instructed Orpheus to assemble all of Gotham’s criminal underworld at the Robinson Park Amphitheater, just like in the movie Warriors.  The Dark Knight plans to use Orpheus to take control of all of Gotham’s organized crime and then plans to use his army of police officers to arrest the majority of them when they leave the building.  Little does Batman know that Orpheus is actually Black Mask in disguise.  As “Orpheus” begins to address the crowd of hundreds, Batman realizes something is wrong.  Onyx discovers Orpheus’ corpse and frantically radios the Dark Knight.  Batman swings down from the rafters and “Orpheus” orders the violent crowd of gang members and metahuman villains to attack.  Meanwhile, a large group of villains pours out of the amphitheater and begins battling the GCPD.  As Batman shoots a signal flare into the night sky, Akins curses Batman’s fouled-up plan, grumbling, “Too little, too late you pompous piece of [shit].”  Great line that highlights Batman’s rare screw-up here with this whole situation. Akins is finished with Batman’s leadership. The commish regains control of the GCPD and brands the Bat-Family as a bunch of outlaws. Inside the amphitheater, Batman unmasks “Orpheus” to reveal Black Mask, who immediately flees the scene.  With the situation contained for the moment, a furious Batman declares war on Black Mask and prepares his team—Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl, and Onyx—for battle. NOTE: Croc is drawn incorrectly in LOTDK #184. He should have white skin and hair plugs.  Continuing with our narrative, Nightwing takes down Firefly, but gets shot up (in the leg) by the cops in the process. Robin apprehends Pistolera, Vicious, the Trickster, and Mr. Fun in time to meet up with his dad. Jack tells his son that he still doesn’t approve of Robin, but he is proud that Tim is a superhero.  Catwoman apprehends Zeiss. Back at Orpheus’ old office, Black Mask returns to finish torturing Stephanie, but Steph begins fighting back.  Sadly, Steph takes a bullet to the chest before Black Mask flees yet another scene.  Batman arrives to find Steph barely alive.  Bruce cradles Steph in his arms as she mumbles, “I just wanted to help,” before passing out.  Bruce then rushes her into the care of Leslie.  With public pressure for Commissioner Akins to make significant arrests and end the mob-war, the GCPD makes an example of Tarantula, sending in the heavy artillery against her.  Batman, thankfully, is able to prevent her arrest.  Meanwhile, Black Mask goes on live television, declares himself the new sole crime lord of all the Gotham gangs, condemns Batman as a super-villain disguised as a hero, and leads reporters and camera-operators toward the secret location of the Batcave (actually the location of Oracle’s HQ, which was mistakenly told to him by Hush earlier).  Black Mask, now partnered with Scarecrow, leads the live television crew not toward Wayne Manor, but toward Oracle’s apartment!  Black Mask and an army of criminals are able to break into Oracle’s headquarters after Black Mask throws Scarecrow into a laser security grid.  Black Mask then holds Babs hostage on live television.  Batman assembles Robin, Tarantula, Batgirl, Onyx, and Catwoman to attempt a rescue operation. Using the direct approach, Batman busts-in and starts wailing on Black Mask. Meanwhile, badly burned from the laser grid, Scarecrow hulks-up and turns into the Scarebeast! The Bat-Family restrains Scarebeast while Babs initiates the self-destruct sequence on her entire apartment building. The place comes down and Black Mask is nowhere to be found amongst the rubble. (A flashback from Birds of Prey #75 and a flashback from Birds of Prey #111 both depict this “War Games” finale.) Leslie, in a panic, calls Batman into the clinic. Batman arrives just in time to show his love to Steph before she dies.  SPOILER: Get it? Spoiler about Spoiler? Ugh. Steph doesn’t really die. This is actually an elaborate ruse played by Leslie to teach Bruce a lesson about using children in his war on crime. However, Batman will go on believing Steph is dead for quite some time, until she makes her surprising return.  Back to our little tale, two days after the war ends, Black Mask emerges again and officially has complete control of all the organized crime in Gotham.  Almost 250 people are dead, including 28 cops.  Batman and his “gang” are officially branded as wanted criminals by Commissioner Akins, who has the Batsignal torn down.  Batman meets with Akins secretly in the parking lot of the GCPD headquarters and tells the commish he’s making a big mistake.  Akins says that he will end Batman’s reckless vigilantism and bring him to justice.  A powerful end to an emotionally-charged and dynamic story-arc. While the narrative gets a bit muddled at times and there are plenty of criticisms to be had, overall, “War Games” is a must read for true Batman fans.

–FLASHBACK: From Detective Comics #800. After a conversation with Batman, Barbara Gordon leaves town (but will still operate independently as Oracle from a grounded airplane headquarters at JFK International Airport in New York). Batman also meets with Jim Gordon, who also decides to leave town.

–Superman/Batman #14-18 (“ABSOLUTE POWER”)
Three villains from the 31st century, Lightning Lord, Cosmic King, and Saturn Queen, have traveled to the past and altered the current timeline.  Their meddling results in the creation of an alternate world where Despot-Batman and Despot-Superman are ruthless, murderous dictators. An alternate Wonder Woman and various alternate superheroes attempt to bring down Despot-Superman and Despot-Batman, but during the battle, they literally rip a hole in the timestream causing multiple realities to begin collapsing into each other. The real Batman (from Earth-0) realizes that both he and the real Superman are trapped in a “time bubble” when characters from both DCU’s Wild West, distant future, and many alternate realities begin showing up. Not to mention Batman’s memories of his own past becomes a jumbled nonsensical mess. An alternate version of Darkseid, and old gray-haired Superman (seen in Superman/Batman #1), and Metron show up and tell Batman and Superman that they must travel back in time to the defining moments of their superhero origins and ensure that they occur exactly as they once did in order to fix the timestream.  Therefore, our heroes go back and witness the crash-landing of the Kryptonian spaceship and the Kents’ discovery of baby Clark inside.  Our heroes then travel to Crime Alley to witness the murder of the Waynes.  But Batman can’t resist intervening.  He saves his parents and blows Joe Chill’s brains out with a gun!  Instantly, Batman disappears and Superman is thrust into another crazy alternate Earth where Batman never existed, the JLA are all dead, and Ra’s al Ghul rules the planet.  Clark meets with Bruce, who is nothing more than a spoiled billionaire playboy.  Clark takes Bruce to Crime Alley, and Bruce begins to remember what the real world is supposed to be like.  Bruce suits up as Batman and teams with Supes to defeat the alternate Ra’s al Ghul, Lightning Lord, Cosmic King, and Saturn Queen.  The Legion of Superheroes (adult versions of the original Legion) then transports Batman, Superman, and the three villains back to the point just before the three villains screwed with the timestream in the first place (in the 31st Century).  The Legion corrects the timestream and Bruce wakes up in the Batcave as if nothing had ever taken place.  Both he and Superman have vivid memories of their epic time-displaced/reality-displaced adventure, but in actuality ONLY 2 HOURS HAVE PASSED!  Superman and Batman visit their friends, who are weirded out by their behavior, to tell them how much they love them.  Batman is so shaken by these events, he will visit his parents’ graves every night for the next whole month—which we can imagine occurring on our timeline below.

–Superman/Batman #19 (Supergirl Vol. 5 #0)
Immediately following “Absolute Power,” Batman and Superman monitor Supergirl and note how she has made remarkable progress with her training ever since arriving on Earth.  Unbeknown to our heroes, the Calculator has also been monitoring Kara’s progress on behalf of a mystery villain.  When Kara goes on a patrolling mission in Gotham, she teams-up with the original Barbara Gordon Batgirl and defeats Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.  The original Barbara Gordon Batgirl then turns into his true form, Clayface (Basil Karlo), and then Supergirl takes him down too.  Clark tells Kara that someone set-up her fight against Quinn, Ivy, and Clayface to test her powers.  But who?  Clark and Bruce don’t know it yet, but ousted President Lex Luthor has returned behind the scenes and he is interested in this new Supergirl big-time.

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #634. Batman meets with Onyx, who is leading the Hill Gang now. Onyx tells him that Black Mask has been trying to take over her territory ever since the end of “War Games.” They also discuss Stephanie’s death.

–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #190-191 (“COLD SNAP”)
Mr. Freeze has been more vile and scary than ever recently, but he’s finally crashed.  Sinking into a deep depression, Freeze goes on a two-day stealing spree, collecting all of his “favorite things.”  After a few murders at the ice-hockey arena, Freeze surrounds himself with the stolen items and prepares to commit suicide, but Batman swoops in to prevent the suicide at the last moment. Freeze dukes it out with Batman, which results in an explosion that destroys the building. Afterward, Freeze goes missing. Bruce then tells Alfred the details regarding the case.

–REFERENCE: In Identity Crisis #1 and JLA Classified #26. Hawkman officially joins the JLA as a part-time reservist, while remaining full-time on the JSA (as referenced in Identity Crisis #1). Likewise, Aquaman officially rejoins the JLA as a part-time reservist (as referenced in JLA Classified #26).

–Birds of Prey #79
Batman only makes a brief cameo in this issue.  Black Canary tries to convince him to apologize to Oracle and Huntress (who is now working with Oracle) for everything that went down during “War Games.”  Batman acts as if he doesn’t care that Oracle has left Gotham, but says he will consider it.  Meanwhile, the Birds of Prey deal with the criminal organization known as The 100 in Metropolis.

–Superman/Batman #20-25 (“WITH A VENGEANCE”) 
Jeph Loeb loves playing with the multiverse.  Here, he depicts an alternate universe which parodies Marvel’s Ultimate Universe.  Instead of The Ultimates, this alternate Earth’s primary super-team is known as The Maximums.  Our story begins with Batman and Superman boom-tubing onto this alternate Earth and killing one of the Maximums, claiming that he murdered Lois Lane.  Supes and Bats boom away, and the Maximums vow revenge. (SPOILER: This is actually Despot-Superman and Despot-Batman, pretending to be their Earth-0 counterparts.) Back on Earth-0 in Tokyo, Captain Atom, who was thought dead, returns from his exile in the Wildstorm Universe! (This return scene is also shown in Captain Atom: Armageddon #1.) In Gotham, Lex Luthor hires Atomic Skull to steal a case that contains a sentient Kryptonite vapor-energy being known as the Kryptonite Man.  During Skull’s battle with Batman and Superman, the Maximums boom to Earth-0 ready for a fight.  The Maximums kill Atomic Skull, nab the Kryptonite Man, capture Superman and Batman, and return to their own Earth.  Concurrently, Bizarro Number One and Batzarro travel to Earth-0 from Bizarro World to assist Superman and Batman. The backwards-heroes attempt to follow Batman and Superman, but each wind up on different Earths. Bizarro winds up fighting the Soviet Superman on Earth-30! Batzarro winds up fighting Batman (“Batman Beyond” Terry McGinnis) on Earth-12!  On the Maximums’ Earth, our heroes escape and Superman fights Viking (fake Thor).  Meanwhile, Batman is taken captive by Wolfen (fake Beast/Wolverine), Bowman (fake Hawkeye), and Hornet (fake Wasp).  We then learn that Lex Luthor has been working with the Maximums since the beginning.  Luthor orders Bowman to release the Kryptonite vapor-being on Batman and the Dark Knight is taken over by the sentient energy.  Bowman then sics a crazed glowing-green “Kryptonite Batman” upon Superman.  Eventually, Superman is able to separate the Kryptonite Man from Batman, but the Maximums surround them.  Luckily, Bizarro booms onto the Maximums’ Earth and saves the day.  However, Bizarro then mistakenly booms Batman to an Earth where everyone’s genders are reversed.  Batman winds up meeting Superwoman, Batwoman, Superlad, and others.  Meanwhile, Superman booms to Apokolips where Metron awaits him.  Metron explains that Darkseid played a pivotal role in helping fix the damaged timestream (back in Superman/Batman #14-18).  Metron further explains that even though the Darkseid from that encounter was an alternate version of Darkseid, he was mentally linked to the actual Darkseid, who remains imprisoned within the Source Wall (courtesy of Superman).  Metron tells Superman that Darkseid should be freed for his good behavior.  Superman thinks that some greater power must be pulling the strings on this whole chaotic affair, and he’s right.  Turns out Mr. Mxyzptlk is playing yet another cosmic game with his buddy Joker, a game that has the possibility to end in reality-altering catastrophe.  Didn’t Mxy learn anything after “Emperor Joker?”  Anyway, Superman flies to the Source Wall and releases Darkseid, but it’s a trick!  As soon as he’s free, Darkseid traps Superman in the Source Wall.  Back on the Maximums’ Earth, Bowman reveals himself to really be Mxyzptlk in disguise!  Mxy and Joker address the Maximums and further reveal that they (Mxy and Joker) created the entire Maximums’ Universe and all of its inhabitants as a part of their game!  The Maximums’ Universe is actually Joker’s Universe!  Everyone also learns that the Superman and Batman from the beginning of the story were actually the evil dictator versions of Superman and Batman from Superman/Batman #14 (Despot-Batman and Despot-Superman).  Batman booms into the Joker Universe with his team from the gender-reversed Earth and they start a fight against the Maximums, during which Joker kills Batzarro!  Then Superman (who has been rescued from the Source Wall by Kara) booms into the Joker Universe with his team of Supergirls from alternate Earths.  Then, Luthor, Darkseid, the monstrous new independent Kryptonite Man, and evil versions of both Supergirl and Superboy boom into the Joker Universe.  Bizarro shows up with an army of alternate Superman and Batmen from different times and alternate realities.  Everyone begins a gigantic battle royale.  Bored, Joker merges Batman and Superman into a Composite Superman-Batman.  The cosmically-powered villain then merges all of the Maximums into a Composite Maximum Maximum.  Things get even wilder until Bat-Mite (!) takes control of Joker and, with Mxy’s assistance, restores order to all of the multiverse.  Mxy explains to the heroes that the events which have just transpired have indeed legitimately occurred, but they were merely a test.  Mxy goes on to say vaguely that a “Red Hood” will soon enter Batman’s life and that a “Crisis” will strike the DCU.  Yes, Jason Todd is indeed back, Identity Crisis is up next, and Infinite Crisis just around the corner, and that’s what Mxy is talkin’ bout!  Mr. Loeb redeems himself (from prior poor S/B arcs) with this tantalizing tale. NOTE: Darkseid’s little prison stay within the Source Wall has left him impotent. That is to say, he’s lost his Omega Powers (as we learn via a flashback from Superman/Batman #40)! Darkseid keeps his impotency a secret from his minions and underlings and begins traveling the cosmos on the floating dwarf planet/interstellar battleship known as Tartaros to search for recourse.

IDENTITY CRISIS
——————–Identity Crisis #1-4
——————–Flash Vol. 2 #215
——————–Identity Crisis #5
——————–Firestorm Vol. 2 #6
——————–Identity Crisis #6-7
Sue Dibny, wife of Elongated Man, is murdered. Batman and many other superheroes examine the crime scene, but can find no evidence. A funeral is held two days later. (This funeral scene is also shown through flashback from DC Universe Legacies #10.) Zatanna, Black Canary, Hawkman, Green Arrow (Ollie), the Atom, and Elongated Man spill the beans to Kyle Rayner and Wally West about the third part of the “mind-wipe scandal,” which occurred years ago on the old JLA satellite. Kyle and Wally are shocked to learn that, way back in Bat Year 10, Sue was raped by Dr. Light. The evil Doctor then threatened to rape all the other heroes’ wives and hurt their families. The JLA (minus the Big Three of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) voted to mind-wipe him.  Zatanna used her magick to erase Light’s memories and permanently scramble his brain, turning him from a vile rapist into a goofy, harmless super-villain. After telling the sordid nine-year-old tale, the heroes go to apprehend Dr. Light, who they believe is responsible for Sue’s murder. However, this isn’t an easy task since Light has hired Deathstroke (!) as his protector. Deathstroke fights solo against seven superheroes, including one current JLAer, one former JLAer, and five reservists. These are top DCU heroes and Deathstroke kicks their asses masterfully—for a while anyway. Eventually, they all cheat and dog-pile him to get to Dr. Light. But an autopsy reveals that Light couldn’t have been the culprit. After the Atom’s ex-wife, Jean Loring, is attacked and Lois Lane is threatened, the DCU’s heroes begin a massive beat-down of the DCU super-villain community. During this massive beat-down, Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond) is killed by Shadow Thief, and his nuclear powers are endowed upon teenager Jason Rusch, who becomes the third and newest Firestorm! We also learn of an abandoned cloaked satellite in Earth’s orbit that is being used as a sort of clubhouse for super-villains, such as Black Spider (Eric Needham) and Dr. Moon! NOTE: Jack Drake says Tim is 16-years-old, but he should be 17-years-old. Maybe he forgot since Tim’s birthday was recent. Speaking of Jack Drake, our mystery killer strikes again and sets-up a break-in at the Drake apartment that results in the death of both Captain Boomerang and Mr. Drake. Jack is dead, and poor Tim holds his bloody father in his arms as Batman holds Tim in his. The FBI allows Batman full reign over the crime scene, which shows that the federal government is ignoring Commissioner Akins’ “shoot to kill” order set against the Bat-Family. A government agent then turns away Boomerang’s son, Owen Mercer, and tells him that it is now common practice that dead super-villains’ corpses become government property after their deaths, so that they can’t be resurrected as they usually often are! A small funeral is held for Jack.  Batman continues his investigations. A day later, Ollie confesses the rest of the nine-year-old “mind-wipe scandal” to Wally. Batman had walked in on Light’s brain-scrambling and flipped-out. The team had no choice but to restrain him and erase his memories as well! Back to our story at present, Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific discover that Sue’s cause of death was from a blood-clot in her brain, specifically from someone shrinking down to a tiny size and walking inside her skull.  Meanwhile, after being temporarily duped by the Calculator, Bruce discovers the cause of death as well. Who can shrink down to tiny size? The Atom can. But the Atom isn’t the murderer. The killer faked her own attack. The killer is the Atom’s ex-wife Jean Loring, who committed the crimes and covered her tracks in a crazed attempt to drive her former husband back into her life. Jean quickly winds up with a permanent residency at Arkham Asylum. The superhero community is shaken to its roots. The Atom disappears. Hoping to distract himself from the horror that has befallen his friends, Batman visits his parents’ gravesite and takes down Clayface (Basil Karlo). Things seem to return to normal. But after this myriad of tragedies, things will never be the same.

–Robin Vol. 2 #132, Part 1
Tim, Bruce, and Cassie attend Stephanie’s funeral, which had been delayed for unknown reasons.  Tim tells Bruce that he will continue on as Robin, but not in Gotham.  He’s moving to Blüdhaven with his step-mom, who will be seeing a grief counselor there to deal with the death of Tim’s father.  Poor Tim.  In a short span, he’s lost his girlfriend (Steph), a close friend (Darla), and his father (Jack).

–FLASHBACK: From Batman #634. After Stephanie’s funeral, Bruce privately visits Steph’s grave and is confronted by her mother Crystal Brown, who wants to know his connection to her daughter. Bruce tells Steph’s mom that he simply wants to honor a fallen hero, who was so heavily influenced by positivity and by Batman. Crystal responds by telling him that Batman is no hero, and it’s Batman’s fault that both her husband (Cluemaster) and Steph are gone.

–Batman #634
Bruce has a bourbon drink and reflects on all the recent losses (Babs leaving the Bat-Family and the deaths of Stephanie Brown, Jack Drake, Orpheus, and Sue Dibny). Dick, still injured from “War Games,” notes how he can “count on one hand” how many times he’s seen Bruce partake in alcohol. They also discuss Onyx’s defense of her Hill territory against Black Mask. Alfred asks Bruce how he is going to deal with Commissioner Akin’s labeling Batman as a criminal, now that the commish has ordered his officers to “shoot to kill” members of the Bat-Family.  Bruce says the family will endure.

–NOTE: In Flash Vol. 2 #220-225. Flash’s rogues (The Rogues) attack Keystone City as revenge for the death of Captain Boomerang. A time-traveling Barry Allen and a time-traveling Eobard Thawne (both from some point in the Year One Era) show up in this arc for a short while before returning back to whence they came. In the end, Zoom (aka Reverse-Flash II aka Hunter Zolomon), while trying to make Wally West re-live the death of his unborn children, inadvertently alters the main DCU timestream and causes Linda to not only to become pregnant again, but also to give birth to the twins (Iris West and Jai West)! Wally then defeats his rogues and decides not to fix the timestream. Hell, he’s got kids now and he’s keeping the little rugrats!

–DCU Halloween Special 2010 #1, Part 1
Halloween—this story goes here because it can’t go next year when Bruce will be on sabbatical. And it can’t go the following Halloween—Scarecrow will be in the middle of his anti-Fear Gas phase. So here we are–Halloween 2007! Bruce is nervous about his rogues gallery acting up as they so often do on holidays. While patrolling in the suburbs, the Dark Knight thinks trouble is afoot, but it turns out some kids have actually nabbed Scarecrow and dosed him with his own Fear Gas.  The cowering Dr. Crane thinks the children are intimidating Batmen. The grinning real Batman joins in on the fun for a bit and gives the kids some candy before hauling Crane off to jail.

–FLASHBACK: From DCU Halloween Special ’09 #1. November 1. Bruce takes Tim on a trip to Mexico to attend the Day of the Dead festivities.  They bond and talk about the recent deaths which have affected Tim so hard.

–Catwoman Vol. 3 #37
It’s been nearly a month since “War Games” ended. Holly Robinson, Karon (Holly’s girlfriend), Leslie Thompkins, Ted Grant, and Slam Bradley all throw Selina a surprise birthday party! Batman makes a secret visit to the party to wish Selina well and to give her a gift: A donation of ten thousand dollars to a psychiatric clinic in honor of both she and her sister Maggie.

–NOTE: In Batman Annual #25 and Infinite Crisis #4. Alexander Luthor, Jr. (of former Earth-3) and Superboy-Prime (of former Earth-Prime) break out of their pocket universe/prison heaven dimension, which they have been living in ever since the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. Superboy-Prime literally punches his way out, destroying the very fabric of the timestream.  Reality is altered in countless ways, but most importantly (to Batman anyway), Jason Todd’s death is reversed! The villainous Alexander and Superboy-Prime begin sewing the seeds of chaos that will ultimately bring about the catastrophic event known as Infinite Crisis.

–FLASHBACK: From Batgirl #58. Batman asks Batgirl to move to Blüdhaven not only to keep watch over Robin, but to become one of Blüdhaven’s permanent protectors.

–Superman/Batman #18 Epilogue
Batman has taken time out of his busy schedule to visit his parents’ graves once every night for the past month (ever since the conclusion of Superman/Batman #18, Part 1).  On the final night of this monthlong ritual, Superman joins Bruce at the Wayne Family plot.

FRESH BLOOD
——————–Robin Vol. 2 #132, Part 2
——————–Batgirl #58
——————–Robin Vol. 2#133
——————–Batgirl #59
Early November. Two weeks have passed since Steph’s funeral.  Alfred helps Robin set-up headquarters in Blüdhaven and reports back to Bruce in Gotham.  He tells Bruce that Tim has gotten darker and grimmer since the deaths of his loved ones.  Batgirl and Robin learn that Penguin has also moved to Blüdhaven and has become the main criminal player in town.  Blüdhaven’s hot new Dynamic Duo is able to make a loud introductory statement by defeating Penguin’s henchmen: the Trigger Twins (!), Brutale, and Gas Bag.  Also, Tim sharing a small apartment with Cassie in a new town = awkward sexual tension!

–Robin Vol. 2 #134
November 8. Bruce visits Tim in Blüdhaven and tells him that he wants to legally adopt him (much the same way he did with an adult Dick years ago, allowing him to legally be a part of his will).  Tim is thrilled and accepts!  Tim begins attending a new school mid-semester, once again delaying his graduation date to god knows when. Bruce, Tim, and Alfred then meet with the Drake family lawyer for Jack Drake’s will reading.  Tim learns that his only living relative is his long lost uncle, Edward Drake.  We’ll learn a bit later that “Uncle Eddie” is actually an actor hired by none other than Tim himself.

–Robin Vol. 2 #136, Part 1
November 9. While Batman fights the usual baddies in Gotham, Robin fights Penguin’s new hired Blüdhaven guns, Rising Sun Archer and the new Dark Rider (unrelated to the original Russian Dark Rider).

–Detective Comics #800
Batman reflects upon the aftermath of the double-whammy that was “War Games” and “Identity Crisis.”  Commissioner Akins has his GCPD officers gunning after Batman big-time.  It’s been a while since Batman had to run from cops and he’s not used to it.  The Dark Knight then saves a young boy from Mad Hatter, Killer Croc, and Alexandra Kosov.  He then watches a video message from Black Mask, thanking him for serving up the city on a silver platter.  Afterward, Batman meets with Catwoman to discuss all that has happened recently.  Just as they are about to kiss, Batman pulls away.  Selina slaps him, sick of his robotic, distant personality.  She demands that he show some emotion for once in his life.  Bruce grabs her, says, “I feel everything” and passionately kisses her in the rain. Great issue.

[1][2]

–NOTE: In a reference in JLA Classified #2. November 15. The JLA, sans Batman, encounters the super-villain known as Black Death. They wind up chasing him to a JLA remote satellite laboratory outside of Pluto, where the villain accidentally enters the “Infant Universe of Qwewq,” a mysterious alternate universe housed within a tiny cube. The cube had been stored for further study on the Plutonian satellite. The JLA enters the alternate universe and becomes trapped there.

–Robin Vol. 2 #136, Part 2
November 16. Eleven days have supposedly passed since the first part of Robin Vol. 2 #136.  However, if we are being specific, seven days would probably be more appropriate. Tim’s long, lost Uncle Eddie (Edward Drake) flies in to meet Tim, Bruce, and Alfred.  He’s uncouth, crude, and not at all what everyone was hoping for.

–Robin Vol. 2 #137
November 16-18. Uncle Eddie becomes the 17-year-old Tim’s legal guardian, pulling Tim out of public school immediately because he “doesn’t trust them.” Anything to delay his high school graduation even more. Sigh. Robin then interrogates and threatens Rising Sun Archer (while being coached via earphone by Batman). Robin is intimidating enough to convince the villainess to leave Blüdhaven for good. Meanwhile, Henry Aquista brings the corpse of his dead daughter to Johnny Warlock in Istanbul. Warlock uses his magick to bring Darla back from the dead (in exchange for the life of Henry). However, Darla is revived as an evil magickal super-villain.

–JLA Classified #1-3
November 18. Remember the floating city of Superbia, the independent nation comprised of superheroes?  Since its creation three years ago (in Bat Year 16), no one has dared write about it, until Grant Morrison, right now.  The global peace-keeping force known as the International Ultramarine Corps has been protecting Superbia for the past three years, without much action to speak of, besides fighting in Middle Eastern wars.  When Nebula Man, Gorilla Grodd, and an army of Ape-Men attack the Congo, the IUC is ready for action.  But by the time the Ultramarines realize that they have been lured into a set-up, Superbia is destroyed and crashes into Kinshasa.  Knight’s teenage sidekick Squire (Beryl Hutchison) escapes the chaos and is able to phone Batman for help.  Bruce unveils a secret garage within the Batcave which he dubs the “Sci-fi Closet.”  Inside, Batman has a collection of various alien technologies he’s gathered over the years!  Batman slides-on a Boom-Tube Gauntlet and hops in an experimental flying saucer (!) that rockets him to Africa where he meets up with Beryl.  Outrunning the Ape-Men, Batman and Beryl boom to the JLA remote satellite outside of Pluto.  Batman shows Beryl a small starlit cube (the infant universe known as Qwewq) and explains that the rest of his JLA team was trapped inside the cube three days ago.  While Beryl tries to free the League, Batman dresses up a bunch of Superman-Robots (leftover from the Dominus affair) as the missing JLA members and booms back to Africa in a giant WWII-style flying fortress.  Grodd has Superbia floating once again (now rechristened as Gorillatropolis), has killed or eaten most of the populace, and has brainwashed its superhero protectors into his slaves.  Nebula Man, partnered with Grodd, easily destroys the Robot-JLA.  Batman appears to be royally screwed until Beryl successfully releases the real JLA from Qwewq.  The JLA booms into Africa, where Nebula Man reveals that Qwewq is more than just an alternate universe.  Qwewq is Nebula Man’s larval form.  The current form of Nebula Man fighting the JLA is actually from the future.  Therefore, Nebula Man is a sentient time-traveling alternate universe.  Crazy concept.  Anyway, Batman and the JLA defeat the villains and restore order.  Superbia is no more.  The International Ultramarine Corps decides to enter the infant Qwewq to become its peacekeepers, hopefully ensuring that the universe doesn’t grow up to become the evil Nebula Man.

–Robin Vol. 2 #138-140
Bruce discovers that “Uncle Eddie” is simply an actor hired to play the role of Tim’s relative.  After a visit with Uncle Eddie, Bruce demands a visit with Tim.  At the Batcave, the truth comes out.  Tim was the one who hired Uncle Eddie and forged his own father’s will and set-up a supposedly untraceable background for the actor!  Instead of being angry, Bruce says he’s never been prouder!  Tim’s elaborate ruse was ingenious and worthy of independence. In Blüdhaven, an army-themed superhero team led by The Veteran recruits Robin!  Batman isn’t very happy that Tim has chosen to team-up with this strange bunch, and begins investigating them. Then, the resurrected-but-now-evil Darla Aquista shows up in Blüdhaven, professing her love for Tim, much to his shock.

–Nightwing Vol. 2 #99-100
Nightwing fully recovers from the gunshot leg-wound he suffered during “War Games” about a month ago. Batman confronts Tarantula and tells her that her methods are unsound and he won’t have her using lethal force in his city.  Dick, filled with guilt over his involvement in the death of Blockbuster, follows Tarantula back to Blüdhaven, confronts her, fights her, and brings her into custody for the crime.  Dick also turns himself in (as Dick Grayson), but a friend in his precinct falsifies paperwork that makes it appear as though Dick was on an undercover assignment during the incident.  Thus, Dick cannot be charged as an accomplice and serves no time.

–JSA #54
Thanksgiving. The 2nd Annual JLA/JSA Thanksgiving Dinner is held at the JSA Brownstone in New York City. Kulak the Sorcerer and The Warlock of Ys attack and get their asses handed to them by the combined might of both teams. Afterward, Batman and Mr. Terrific order pizza.

–NOTE: In JSA #56. Black Adam and his metahuman militia oust the dictatorial leaders of the Middle Eastern nation of Kahndaq. Adam becomes the country’s new totalitarian ruler.

–Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #210
The evil Greco-Roman demigod Medousa (aka Medusa) is resurrected.  The higher-ups within the Greco-Roman pantheon force Wonder Woman and Medousa to do battle.  The entire world, including Batman and Robin, watch the battle, which is globally broadcast on live television.  Wonder Woman lops off Medousa’s head, killing her, but winds up blinded during the skirmish.

–Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #212
The JLA tests Wonder Woman to see if she can still function on the team without her eyesight.  Everyone holds back, except for Batman who attacks her with his full might.  Wonder Woman thanks Bruce for taking this training session seriously.  Even blind, Wonder Woman is a formidable opponent.

–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #200
After a newspaper slights him, the Joker detonates two bombs in the city, killing dozens and injuring hundreds. A third bomb is set to go off in an unknown location, but only Joker knows where.  When Joker is nearly killed and left unconscious in critical condition, Batman rushes him to the hospital. Once Joker is revived, he dukes it out with Batman and the Dark Knight discovers the final bomb is in the very hospital in which they stand. The building is evacuated, but the bomb goes off. Joker escapes during the chaos. NOTE: Next time Joker is referenced (in Gotham Central #28), he will be incarcerated at Arkham. Therefore, we must assume he is caught shortly after this LOTDK issue.

–Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #204-206 (“THE MADMEN OF GOTHAM”)
Batman encounters a new metahuman villain known as Remorse who has the ability to turn people into mindless slaves with his “healing” touch.  After bringing him to justice, Bruce discovers a secret room hidden behind a bricked-up wall at Wayne Manor.  Inside the room, Bruce listens to a recording of his father, Thomas Wayne.  Thomas explains that over fifty years ago, he was a part of a secret organization known as “The Madmen of Gotham.”  The Madmen were comprised of Gotham’s social, political, and financial leaders and was an elite group designed to ensure the safety and prosperity of the city.  Bruce’s dad describes the Madmen as “a passionate and forward thinking group of men with the desire and resources to replace Metropolis as the city of the future.”  The recordings reveal that the Madmen got into a disagreement shortly before disbanding when medical researcher Ted Galvin proposed adding psychotropic drugs into Gotham’s water supply as a means of pacifying the populace.  After listening to the recording, Bruce attends a fashion show where an insane woman, Vera Klopis, exhibits metahuman abilities with which she can literally turn people into putty.  Batman apprehends her and learns that both Remorse and Klopis were previously treated by the same doctor and given an experimental drug known as Neruotrol.  Batman traces the drug to New Hope Mental Hospital and discovers that Ted Galvin is still alive.  Batman also meets Erik Galvin, crazed son of Ted Galvin.  Erik, having been dosed with Neurotrol by his father since birth, inhibits strong telepathic abilities, which he uses to take over the hospital.  Batman battles a horde of mental patients, while his own mind is raided by Erik.  Erik begins to take control of every citizen in Gotham, but Batman is able to stop him using an anti-Nuerotrol agent synthesized by Alfred (based upon Thomas Wayne’s design).  The Galvins tragically perish when a news helicopter crashes into them.  The biggest impact of this tale is that Bruce and Alfred learn that Ted Galvin had begun lacing the Gotham Reservoir with Neurotrol fifty years ago!  Nuerotrol laced in Gotham’s water supply is an absolute factor in why there are so many crazy super-villains in Gotham today.

–FLASHBACK: From Joker’s Asylum: Poison Ivy #1. Batman apprehends Poison Ivy, but not before she murders the business owners of a large luxury home development company which has not been very kind to nature. Joker narrates this flashback entirely, so it is possible sections of this tale is apocryphal. However, the basic elements of this tale are probably canon.

–Batman: Death and the Maidens #1-9
November 25-28. Bruce honors his mother and father on the anniversary of their deaths, placing two roses on Crime Alley, as he does every year.  Afterward, Bruce meets with a weakened Ra’s al Ghul, who tells Batman that the continued destruction of his Lazarus Pits (thanks primarily to the Bat-Family in recent years) will result in his death, which according to the villain, is tantamount to murder.  Before I continue, writer Greg Rucka tells us that Bruce’s parents were killed 25 years ago.  It has now been 36 years since the death of the Waynes.  Also, Ra’s al Ghul makes it sound as if Talia is still working under President Luthor, which is impossible at this point.  Talia does still hold her position as head of the now Wayne-owned former Lexcorp companies, so maybe that’s what he’s talking about.  Moving on, one of Ra’s al Ghul’s other daughters, Nyssa Raatko aka Nyssa al Ghul, makes her presence known to the world by simply knocking on the door of Wayne Manor and demanding a conversation with Batman.  Nyssa tells Bruce that they should team-up to kill Ra’s once and for all.  Nyssa doesn’t reveal that she is related to Ra’s yet, but Bruce obviously still doesn’t trust her.  While Nyssa is distracting Bruce with conversation, her associate Misha breaks into the Batcave and steals the remains of the Kryptonite bullet (from Superman/Batman #1).  After her chat with Bruce, Nyssa kidnaps Talia, drags her to a Lazarus Pit and sadistically begins murdering and subsequently reviving her over and over.  (Nyssa has created a synthetic Lazarus Pit which can be used multiple times, unlike the normal Pits, which are one-time only.) A crazed Nyssa murders Talia at least a dozen times in a row, before the latter begs for mercy and crumples into the fetal position in her sister’s arms.  Broken, Nyssa has Talia under her full control.  Nyssa explains that she hates their father because he allowed her family to perish during the Holocaust. Nyssa herself was also tortured by the Nazis, while Ra’s stood idly by.  Meanwhile, Bruce takes an alchemical potion concocted by Ra’s al Ghul which supposedly will allow him to speak to his dead parents in the afterworld.  Once the potion hits Bruce’s bloodstream, Bruce goes into a coma and has a long hallucination of his parents.  After waking up and recovering, Batman visits a dying Ra’s, and tells him the secret location of one of the few remaining Lazarus Pits in exchange for info about Nyssa.  Batman then realizes the Kryptonite bullet is missing from the cave.  The Dark Knight calls Superman and informs him that Nyssa is planning on assassinating him.  With the adequate warning, Supes is able to easily stop Misha from using the Kryptonite.  In Saudi Arabia, Nyssa and Talia arrive just in time to witness their father bathe in a Lazarus Pit and become fully healed.  Nyssa then orders her sis to kill dad.  Batman shows up just in time to witness Ra’s run a sword through Talia’s belly.  Ra’s explains that he’s put Nyssa through centuries of torture in order to make her worthy of and ready for being his heir.  Talia has failed him time and time again, but now Ra’s is ready to give all of his love to Nyssa and Nyssa alone.  Unfortunately for Ra’s, Nyssa is less than moved by this fatherly speech and she stabs him in the chest with a knife, killing him!  Further chaos erupts as the League of Assassins attacks Batman.  Nyssa escapes to her base of operations and revives Talia once again in her own Lazarus Pit.  Batman sets Ra’s al Ghul’s body ablaze upon a funeral pyre, heads back home, and discovers the location of Nyssa’s headquarters.  He infiltrates her base only to find Nyssa and Talia are now co-heads of the League of Assassins.  Talia tells Bruce she is no longer in love with him and they must be enemies for life.  Damn.

–Year One: Batman – Ra’s al Ghul #1-2
Late November. Batman receives a posthumous letter from the late Ra’s al Ghul (to be sent to the Dark Detective in the event of his demise) offering sage wisdom from the ages of old.  The letter (dated 2001) also congratulates Batman on finally defeating him—(Ra’s al Ghul had always assumed his death would be at the hands of Batman, not his own daughter).  However, just as Bruce gets the letter, immortality seems to fall like rain over Gotham.  No one, even if they have been shot, stabbed, or horribly burned, has died in the past 26 hours.  Zombies walk the streets.  The dead begin to rise from their graves and the oceans begin to boil.  Alfred is able to detect an Arabic coded message hidden within Ra’s al Ghul’s letter, which explains that the continued destruction of the Lazarus Pits have upset the natural balance of the Earth.  Deciphering hints scattered throughout the letter, Batman travels across the globe fighting the remnants of the Ubu clan, which previously served Ra’s al Ghul.  al Ghul’s letter reminds Batman of an old encounter in the Himalayas from years ago where Batman discovered Ra’s with an odd chanting Tibetan monk.  Bruce travels to the exact oasis-like spot in the Himalayas (which was made into a protected Wayne Tech research site years ago).  Bruce easily takes down an Ubu who demands that Batman help him either find or create a new Lazarus Pit.  Bruce realizes that the Tibetan monk is chanting a Buddhist mantra that phonetically converts into the chemical formula for creating a one-time-use Lazarus Pit.  In one of the lowest accessible hidden caverns of the Batcave, Bruce and Alfred create a Lazarus Pit!  The creation of this Pit seems to offer balance back to the earth.  The dead return to their graves and the world is once again at peace.  Meanwhile, Batman has sent the Ubu clan disinformation which has them scouring an unknown barren desert for a supposed hidden Lazarus Pit, which doesn’t actually exist.  This story is huge because not only is there a Lazarus Pit in the Batcave now, Bruce is one of the few (if not only) people on the planet that knows how to make a Lazarus Pit. NOTE: In the flashback to the old Ra’s al Ghul encounter in the Himalayan oasis, Batman is incorrectly wearing the wrong costume. He should be wearing the yellow-insignia costume. Also, there are a few assumptions we must make following this tale. First, the Lazarus Pit in the Batcave can never be initially used because it would result in the “immortality plague” to wreak havoc all over the Earth once again. Therefore, we must assume that Batman and Alfred seal up the Pit permanently. I say “initially” because Lazarus Pits will slowly begin to reform at various locations across the planet following this story, lessening the importance of this Pit. It would also be a safe to assume that Batman destroys the formula needed to create Lazarus Pits, as he would see it as something way too dangerous to exist in the world.

–Solo #6, Part 5
Late November. Jordi Bernet’s short about Poison Ivy (who we must assume has escaped from Arkham immediately following her previous arrest)—Ivy tries to make an example out of a “murderous” gardener, but Batman makes an example out of her instead.

–Aquaman Vol. 6 #21-22 (“WITH THE FISHES”)
Early December. It has been exactly six months since half of San Diego sank into the ocean and became “Sub Diego.” In the past six months Aquaman, now semi-leader of the city, has worked hard (with a stubborn City Hall) to help the gilled-people of his underwater city. When a genetic mutation snafu occurs and underwater mommas start giving birth to air breathers, Aquaman forces the Mayor of San Diego to help his people. When a former low-level Gotham telekinetic turned new super-villain called The Eel begins orchestrating undersea mob actions, Aquaman turns to Batman for assistance. Batman does a little research and meets with Aquaman on the West Coast, delivering to him a Wayne Industries’ telekinesis dampening device. Despite the failure of the dampener, Aquaman defeats the Eel.

–Adventures of Superman #636 [3]
Batman and Superman are made aware of a huge new criminal threat.  Lex Luthor, Talia al Ghul, Deathstroke, Dr. Pyscho, the Calculator, and Black Adam form the new Secret Society of Super-villains.  The actual roster of the Society consists of dozens more.  In order to join the Society, Talia leaves the League of Assassins.  The new super-villain Ruin is advised by Lex Luthor and begins a campaign of terror against Superman. SPOILER: Former President Pete Ross will soon get wrongly accused of being Ruin.  Ruin will later be revealed as former STAR Labs Professor Emil Hamilton, who had framed Ross. NOTE: The Lex Luthor that forms this new SSoSV is actually secretly Alexander Luthor Jr. (of the former Earth-3) in disguise. The former hero has broken out of his pocket universe, which he has lived in ever since the original Crisis, and he has a devious plan up his sleeve. But more on that later.

–NOTE: In Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #217. Wonder Woman is rewarded her eyesight back in exchange for helping Athena take over leadership of the Greco-Roman gods.

–JLA Classified #37-41
Early December. Californian college student Frank Halloran has just found out that all his memories are false implants put there by Professor Ivo.  Frank is actually Kid Amazo.  Half human, half robot, Frank has all the powers of his “father” Amazo.  Part of him is evil, the other part is good.  After watching the JLA battle Amazo, Frank decides to fight his evil half by becoming the superhero known as The Kid.  A few days later, the Kid easily takes down a crime-gang amazingly called The Bin Ladens and then a new Gotham villain called The Glass Key.  Amazo, angry that his “son” has chosen the light side over the dark side, begins fighting him.  The JLA chooses to watch instead of act, to see how things play out.  Amazo backs down and the Kid officially earns his superhero stripes—that is until two days later, when Wonder Woman has a chat with the Kid’s girlfriend and the latter decides she wants nothing to do with a crazy robot vigilante boyfriend.  The Kid blames Wonder Woman for his loss and decides he now wants to be a villain like dear old dad.  For some reason, the JLA meets in the Batcave instead of the Watchtower to discuss the matter, and the Kid, now going by Kid Amazo, spies on the team within.  A day later Kid Amazo busts into the Batcave and fights Batman one-on-one.  The JLA then chases Kid Amazo back to California, where Batman tells everyone that unlike his dad, who can replicate the powers of each JLA member, Kid Amazo can replicate the personalities of each JLA member.  Kid Amazo runs for cover into the waiting arms of Professor Ivo, who reveals that Kid Amazo’s girlfriend is actually who she appears to be.  Kid Amazo’s girlfriend is really Sara Shapiro-Ives, Professor Ivo’s daughter.  But that’s not all.  Sara is also Kid Amazo’s biological mother!  Kid Amazo has been banging his own mom!  Kid Amazo freaks out, goes all Taxi Driver and shaves a mohawk into his head and begins kicking the crap out of the JLA.  At one point Kid Amazo beats up Batman, steals his costume and wears it into battle.  Eventually, having the combative personalities of each JLA member within his brain causes a major malfunction, which in turn causes Kid Amazo to self-destruct.  The JLA is victorious, but they learn that they each harbor vastly deep-rooted distrust and personal insecurity towards each other.

–NOTE: In Superman Vol. 2 #204-206 (“FOR TOMORROW”). Superman deals with the opening act of the “For Tomorrow” story-arc. A mysterious “Vanishing” occurs, where over a million random people, including Lois Lane, simply disappear off the face of the Earth. Superman will investigate the “Vanishing” for the rest of this year (i.e. the rest of December, overlapping with the Gotham Central issues below) and well into January of the next calendar year.[4]

–NOTE: In Gotham Central #26-27. December 10-11. Catwoman is wrongly accused of murder, but is quickly able to clear her name. (Batman is not in these issues.)

–NOTE: In Gotham Central #28. December 23-24—GC #28 specifically occurs a couple weeks after GC #27. After stumbling through one of Dr. Alchemy‘s old hideouts, a GCPD cop, Officer Andrew Kelly, is badly burned all over his body. At the hospital, Officer Kelly comes alive, having mutated into a charred monster man. (Batman isn’t in GC #28.)

–Gotham Central #29-31 (“KEYSTONE KOPS”)
December 24-31. With the badly-burned Officer Andrew Kelly having transform into a monster thanks to chemicals from Dr. Alchemy’s lab, Montoya and Allen plan a trip to Iron Heights Prison in Keystone City to question Alchemy. But before they depart, Batman visits Montoya and tells her that she shouldn’t cut any deals with the racist Hannibal Lecter-esque super-villain. But of course, she and Allen do cut a deal, and they bring Alchemy to Gotham to deal with Kelly. Alchemy breaks free of his restraints and puts the Kelly under his spell, revealing the mutated cop as his very own golem. The golem evades Batman and goes on a wild killing spree, rampaging through Montoya’s neighborhood until Officer Donald Peak shoots it in the face. This unlikely event becomes the catalyst from which Montoya will begin speaking to her estranged homophobic family once again.

 


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  1. [1]COLLIN COLSHER: Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers’ amazing 2005 six-issue miniseries, Batman: Dark Detective, which follows up on “Strange Apparitions” and “Siege” (although it really doesn’t even reference “Siege”), occurs now, but it is unfortunately non-canon.  Englehart, in interviews, refused to specifically place the miniseries, saying that it should have pleased fans of any era by being able to fit into any era.  Oddly enough, the story includes Commissioner Akins and takes place when the GCPD are hunting the Bat-Family, which seemingly specifically places it right after “War Games” in Year Nineteen.  However, Two-Face is featured heavily in Batman: Dark Detective, yet during this time Harvey should be surgically repaired and sort of rehabilitated.  Thus, Dark Detective cannot really be considered canon, which is shame because it’s so great.  In an attempt to make Dark Detective more placeable Englehart doesn’t refer to Commissioner Akins by name.  His officers merely refer to him as “sir.”  Furthermore, Englehart never clearly states what era the story is taking place in and doesn’t tell us why the GCPD is chasing after Batman.  However, all signs, including the publishing date, seem to put this story smack dab right after “War Games,” which (as stated above) makes it impossible to place and therefore non-canon.

    Originally, I simply ignored Commissioner Akins’ one-panel presence in issue #2 and placed Dark Detective in the “Year One Era.”  I did so because Akins only appears that one single time and also because he is never mentioned by name or addressed as “commissioner” at any point.  My argument was that this might not be Akins or that even if this is Akins he might not be Commish yet.  However, upon multiple reads and rereads I’ve come to realize that the high-ranking Black GCPD official is definitely meant to be Commissioner Akins.  This reason, combined with the aforementioned reasons above (2005 publishing date, post “War Games” explanation for the GCPD’s hostility toward Batman, and Two-Face appearance), labels Dark Detective definitively as non-canon.

    For more information regarding the canonicity of Dark Detective, check out about_faces’ Livejournal entry (linked to the awesome We Believe in Harvey Dent Blog) and also a review by the Masked Bookwyrm.

  2. [2]COLLIN COLSHER:  Just for fun, here’s my own synopsis and commentary about the non-canon Dark Detective: This is a wild one by Steve Englehart and a real homage to the Bronze Age of comics. Here’s the back-story. Batman and Robin have apparently recently jailed Rupert Thorne (or part of his old cabal or something). Before I determined that this story was non-canon and when I thought it took place in the “Year One Era,” I tried to imagine that Thorne (or his old cabal) somehow used his influence to sway the city government back into the mindset that Batman was an illegal outlaw in order to explain why the GCPD was after Batman. But anyway, the story goes, Senator Evan Gregory is running for governor and his fiancée is none other than Batman’s ex, Silver St. Cloud. The Joker decides he wants to run for governor too, and that means a lot of people are going to die and Senator Gregory is in for trouble. But first, the trouble comes from a different source. Silver meets up with Bruce and they reveal that they both still have feelings for each other; feelings so strong that they wind up having sex in the Batcave! Poor Gregory. But his troubles aren’t over. Shortly after getting dumped, Joker kidnaps Silver and holds her hostage in his crazy death-trap-filled fun house. Batman and Gregory eventually rescue her, but not before the senator loses an arm and a leg, literally. They get sliced off in one of the Joker’s death traps. Batman realizes that he is a danger to Silver and their brief reunion comes to tearful end. Did I mention that Batman also apprehends both Two-Face and Scarecrow while all of this chaos is going on? His job is never easy. Also, in a panel of sheer brilliance, Englehart and Rogers have Two-Face using an eyedropper to wet his eye on the deformed side of his face. I’ve always hated how NO ONE ever before had the wherewithal to say, “Hey, his eye is exposed 24-7. He needs to use drops or it will dry up!” I love it. Finally, I also wanted to say that, in a bizarre side-plot, Two-Face hires Dr. Double X to use his sci-fi doppelgänger technology to make him a Harvey Dent clone. The clone is a success and looks exactly like Harvey before the accident. Joker winds up killing this clone, much to the dismay of Two-Face. However, Dr. Double X had secretly constructed a second clone, this one completely acid-deformed from head to toe. Batman captures this clone with ease and we never see him again. Odd? I think so. Englehart had originally planned on writing a sequel to his Dark Detective series (making a complet trilogy), but canceled the plans after Marshall Rogers’ death. Maybe this evil Harvey Dent clone would have factored into that story. Kevin Smith, however, took it upon himself to write the third act with Cacophony and Widening Gyre, both of which aren’t canon either.

    While on the subject of Widening Gyre, its lead-in tale Cacophony (also written by Kevin Smith), besides being non-canon due its link to Dark Detective, is non-canon for two others reasons as well. First, there is no time period where Joker can be out-of-action for five months (as he is in Cacophony). Second, Maxie Zeus’s status and characterization in Cacophony don’t seem to jibe with any period on our timeline. If anything, Dark Detective, Cacophony, and Widening Gyre all take place on a Kevin Smith Bat-verse that also includes the time Batman peed himself during Miller’s “Year One.” Maybe we should call it the Urine-verse.

  3. [3]RENAUD BATTAIL: Adventures of Superman #636 must take place before Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #217 because Wonder Woman is still blind in it.
  4. [4]ANTONIO / COLLIN COLSHER: The whole “For Tomorrow” arc was published over the course of a full calendar year, comprising Superman Vol. 2 #204-215. In Superman Vol. 2 #204, the “Vanished,” including Lois Lane, are said to be gone for a full calendar year! Of course, this is impossible on our highly compressed timeline. Writer Brian Azzarello, due to the length of his series, probably was referring to real-time, which is always a big NO NO in comicbookland. The longest period of time that the Vanished folks—including Lois Lane—could possibly be gone for is, at most, maybe a month-and-a-half.

9 Responses to YEAR NINETEEN (Part 3)

  1. dethtoll says:

    Batman makes a brief appearance in Birds of Prey #84, visiting Barbara in the hospital.

  2. Sam Groover says:

    The “Nanopolis” storyline from Superman/Batman needs to go elsewhere. In issue #57 Tim is shown patrolling with Batman — which, it being Alfred’s birthday, might fit okay, except that Bruce says that “Gordon’s men can take it from here” and ol’ Jim would have been far from Gotham at this point.

  3. Jack James says:

    I think you can place Red Hood Lost Days #6 somewhere after Death and the Maidens. As much as I hate the Talia scene from that story, it makes sense of a brainwashed Talia to “encourage” Jason into taking revenge on Bruce, not to mention Ra’s Al Ghul death is also referenced in that story.

    The only problem though, is the Thomas Elliot final scene that doesn’t make any sense seing how Death and the Maidens takes place after Hush. So either:
    1. We assume that Lost Days #6 happened before Hush (which doesn’t make any sense for Talia’s character)
    2. We ignore that Hush scene from Lost Days #6 (I consider this the best option)
    3. We ignore Lost Days #6 from existence.

    • Whoa, you’ve clued me into a HUGE alteration needed here, Jack. Despite the fact that Death and the Maidens (October 2003-August 2004) was published after “Hush” (December 2002 to November 2003), the stories actually overlap in a very interesting way! Death and the Maidens takes place WITHIN “Hush,” basically splitting up “Hush” even further. In Death and the Maidens, Ra’s Al Ghul says straight-up that Talia is still working under President Luthor—running LexCorp as “Talia Head.” This is definitely “Hush” era. This also means that Death and the Maidens occurs in-between Batman #616 and Batman #617, which actually makes sense story-wise because Catwoman gets beaten up badly at the end of #616 and she is perfectly healed up by #617. She heals-up off-panel while Batman deals with Death and the Maidens! Thanks for brining this to my attention. I think you’ve helped solve a mystery/problem that NO ONE ELSE on the internet has gotten correct before now.

      This means the sequence goes like this: Batman fights Ra’s Al Ghul then comes back to Gotham to collect a badly beaten Catwoman (Batman #616). While Catwoman mends, Batman deals with Death and the Maidens where Ra’s Al Ghul dies. Immediately following Ra’s Al Ghul’s death, Talia has her chat/sex scene with Jason (From Lost Days #6). That same scene continues as Jason wakes up in the morning and Talia is gone but has instructed him to meet with Hush, which Jason does that very same night. This sets the immediate stage for his appearance (as per Hush’s plan) in Batman #617. Cool, yes?

      • UGH. WAIT. Death and the Maidens specifically occurs after the opening Superman/Batman “Public Enemies” arc because the the Kryptonite bullet from that story is featured in it. Does Luthor’s presidential end have to be moved earlier too? This is beginning to seem like you were right in just ignoring one part of the Red Hood issue…

        • Ok, so I literally wasted a few hours of my night trying to make the timeline work with Red Hood: Lost Days #6‘s narrative intact. Impossible. Honestly, I would either ignore Talia’s mention of her father’s death (which ruins her motivation) or ignore the Hush scene. Either way it’s terrible and we’d all be better off ignoring it completely.

          • Jack James says:

            Oh, crap. Well, I did the best to help solve that issue. I think the problem is that Winick insisted on making Lost Days take place before Hush which ended up not making a lot of sense story-wise, especially since he sort-of seemed to want to acknowledge Death and the Maidens but it’s obvious he didn’t think it through. I mean, honestly, the Hush storyline worked perfectly fine without that retcon of “Jason coming in before Clayface”, but oh well, they insisted on maintaining that and in the process they made a gigant mess.
            The problem with ignoring the line about Ra’s death(therefore ignoring Talia’s brainwashing) is that it, as you said, ruins the motivation and not only that but it seems really out of character for her, especially when in previous issues of that same story Talia went on about how much she loved Bruce.
            Another option is to ignore the chat/sex scene, but, even then, some of the narrative is affected.

            I suppose you can add a note to the site that explains that “Lost Days” is quasi-canonical and only the most basic elements remain intact in the timeline.

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